Whether it’s your first set of wheels that’s been sitting in the garage for years because it was your dad’s car, or you’ve always wanted and finally managed to score one, the chance to restore a muscle car is an exciting, yet big endeavor. You want to make sure it’s done the right way. There are so many factors to consider and decisions to make that the idea of restoring a muscle car can be a bit overwhelming, to say the least. To ensure your muscle car restoration project is a success, here are some handy tips to help you get started.

How Do You Restore a Muscle Car?

Assess the Project

When it comes to restoring a muscle car, you will first want to determine the extent of the project. Doing so will allow you to gauge the amount of time and money that will need to be spent restoring the car. Ask yourself the following questions.

  • How much work needs to be done?
  • What can you do to prepare for the work that needs to be carried out?
  • Does the car need a few fixes here and there? Are there some rust spots and dents that need to be fixed? Does the car need a new set of tires?
  • Does the vehicle need more extensive repairs, such as a new chassis, new upholstery, a full paint job, and more?

Once you determine how much work needs to be done, you’ll be able to decide whether you want to restore the muscle car yourself (if you’re able), or if you will need the help of someone with more experience. The complexity of the classic car restoration project will help to give you a rough idea of how long it will take to complete.

Establish a Budget

Before you decide to pull the classic muscle car out of the garage, drive it back to your house, or purchase one, you’re going to want to set a budget. Figure out how much you can comfortably afford to spend and then add approximately 30 percent to that amount.

Restoration projects typically end up needing more work than initially thought. If it turns out that you don’t need the extra money, that’s great, you can put the funds in the bank. However, if your project does end up being more intensive than you initially thought, you’ll be glad you put the money aside.

Consider Your Skills and Abilities

If you plan on doing any of the work yourself, you’re going to want to assess your skills and abilities. Are you mechanically inclined? Have you worked on older cars before? Do you think you will be able to successfully rebuild and install the engine?

Be completely honest with yourself, as you don’t want to end up biting off more than you can chew. If you want to complete the restoration project yourself and you aren’t confident in your abilities, consider taking a few courses or enlisting the help of friends who are more mechanically inclined.

Don’t be Afraid to Ask for Help

Restoring a muscle car completely on your own is certainly a noble quest. Don’t try to be a hero or extend yourself too far and end up not being able to finish the project. Or, even worse, do more harm than good.

Remember, you’re going to be driving the vehicle, so safety needs to be a priority. If you aren’t confident in your abilities, there’s no shame in asking a local mechanic for help. Ask people you know or hire a professional to assist you with the project.

Additional Reading: America’s Muscle Car Romance: Reignited and It Feels So Good – cars.com

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