By Dennis Bandy
Many people have an urge to by a classic car, one that reminds them of their younger days. When we were a little younger life seemed much simpler. The cars were simple then too! With the Internet shopping for that perfect weekend car seems almost too easy. Go to the right classic car websites and one could browse for hours on end… but perhaps in some instances the chase is better than the catch. The old Ford Bronco in the picture above seems to be very well taken care of on the surface.
Spray insulation foam can used as a backdrop for body filler on fenders, hoods and trunk lids. Without looking too far when inspecting an old clunker, you can many times see how superficial beauty can be. It’s important to inspect a vehicle very thoroughly before purchasing one. It’s a good idea to have the vehicle put up on a lift and inspected by someone knowledgeable in mechanical, body and paint fields. This is true with a late model car or a classic. And most classics that look good at first glance, may have hidden damage or body filler that’s much harder to detect. They say pictures are worth a thousand words and that definitely has a ring of truth to it, but it does matter which view the picture is taken from. It’s always best to inspect a vehicle up close and not rely on pictures.
The backside of fenders should be examined closely
I’m not saying that this damage can’t be fixed, in fact it may be hard to find a classic that doesn’t need some work. It’s just best for the buyer to be aware that if a classic looks good on the surface, it doesn’t mean that it has been TOTALLY restored. Knowing exactly what repairs are needed BEFORE purchasing gives the buyer an idea of how much the vehicle is worth in it’s current condition. When extensive work is found to be needed, many times the purchase price can be negotiated to reflect this expense. The value of a Bronco in that needs body panels replaced is much lower obviously than it may first appear. More considerations to ponder are; How much work will need to be hired out? And are classic car parts available for the model being considered? The more work that can be done at home, the more potential savings. Classic cars that are more rare can be worth more than others when fixed up, but finding the parts needed for the restoration can be harder and much more costly. It’s easy to get an idea of what classic car parts are available for a particular car by doing some quick looking around on the Internet.
In the mid nineties, I restored a classic 1967 Mustang convertible (my biggest ordeal was repairing the leaky cowl). Doing this one repair saved enough money to justify buying a MiG welder. At the time the cowl repair alone would have cost me about $900. I bought the repair panels for around $100 and spent about $400 on the welder. Aftermarket Mustang replacement body panels like hoods, fenders, trunk lids and repair panels were and still are available from multiple on-line sources. The same may not be true for less popular models. I was able to order just about all of the classic Mustang parts on the web that I needed for my project. It seems like UPS was rolling up every week with more replacement parts. In talking with the UPS driver, I found out that he delivered many parts to guys like me doing their own restoration project in their home garage; some were right in my neighborhood!
Check Out Any Car Before Buying Including Parts Availability
Have the car put up on a lift and inspected.
Resist buying a car on-line, pictures can be deceiving.
Consider the final cost of the completed project (then add 20-30% for margin of error).
Make sure parts are available for the specific model being considered.
Restoring to STOCK condition can be much more costly.
So, do you have that urge to by a classic car? Go ahead relive those good old days. Remember to inspect it well from top to bottom. With the exception of some uni-body damage they can all be fixed, but some cost more to restore - you don’t want any surprises!