Unique Hobby: Restoring Classic Cars

Drivers all around the world indulge in the challenging process of restoring classic cars. Classic car enthusiasts are a distinct breed of drivers that love the challenge of converting a broken-down heap of junk to a purring mechanical masterpiece.

What Drives the Passion?

Most people can identify with the satisfaction of creating something from nothing, and that is at the heart of the matter for classic car restorers. Then there is the ‘thrill of the hunt’ involved when seeking out the vehicle, as well as the satisfaction gleaned from the creative problem solving involved.

rolls royce phantomWhile some classic car enthusiasts expect to make money from their efforts by selling the car, most of them prefer to keep the it as a prize. It is incredibly satisfying for them to hear compliments from passers-by, friends, and family. Ultimately, the restored car becomes a trophy, proudly displayed as tangible evidence of accomplishment and mechanical prowess.

Restoring a Car is a Huge Undertaking

First off, finding the make and model desired can be like an international game of hide and seek.  Collectors comb classifieds, junkyards, and used car lots worldwide to find their prize. For rare models, it can take years to score the desired vehicle.

Then the hunt for parts begin. After combing through the vehicle to see what can be salvaged, the restorer usually has a long list of parts to replace. Purists and people who compete at car shows are sticklers, using only original manufacturer parts or precise replications. It can take years to find all the missing pieces.

Repair work is like putting a puzzle together. With classic cars, systems are often antiquated and unfamiliar which means that taking them apart and putting them back together can be difficult. Restorers have to possess a high degree of mechanical acumen, patience, and problem solving skills. When done correctly, the restorer, much like anyone enjoying do it yourself auto repair, can point to the car and proudly say, “I did that!”

Enjoying the Fruits of the Labor

Showing off the finished car at car shows, local rallies, posting pictures online, and bragging about it is the fun part for most restorers.  Some say that they enjoy the mechanical and problem solving aspect more than showing it off.  Usually the restored car is unique, so it draws attention and adoration wherever it is driven. Restorers love to hear that they have a magnificent car.

Lucy Browne is an avid race and hot rod fan who writes about American race car drivers.