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Six reasons why classic car renovation projects fail

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August 3, 2020
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Setting out on a classic car renovation project is likely to be a journey into the unknown.

A classic car renovation is a labour of love and no matter which classic you decide to renovate — be it a crumbling but curvy Ford Capri, a rusting but ravishing Rover 12 Sports Saloon, a beautiful barn find Bentley Vanden Plas Tourer, or a scrapheap but sizzling Scimitar GTE —  you’re probably going to endure many sleepless nights.

And, especially if it’s your first serious renovation project, you’re also likely to over commit, overspend and run over time.

The experts at Adrian Flux, who have been providing bespoke classic car insurance for almost half a century,  identify the six factors that threaten the success of your classic car renovation project.

classic car renovation

1 Lack of money

You may think the wreck you’ve bought is an absolute bargain but renovating it will be very expensive, especially if it is an older or more obscure model or an import.

When working out your budget you will have to factor in parts, labour costs, storage space, and fabrication of any panels, parts and effects no longer in production.

Depending on how much work you plan to do, your restoration could cost anything from £5,000 to £100,000, and even more in some more ambitious projects!

2 Loss of interest

Many restoration project cars are bought on a whim. They are cars that evoke fond memories of long since spent youths. 

This week the car restorer in you demands you buy a 1974 Triumph Dolomite Sprint because it was the first car you ever owned. Next week it’ll probably be the 75 Ford Granada, your first family car. 

Only buy a classic car for restoration if you are 100 percent sure. 

3 Your time is too precious

If you plan to restore a classic car in your spare time and fit the project around other commitments such as work and family, you will struggle. 

Even if you are a skilled craftsman, classic car restorations are labour intensive. If this is your first restoration you could find it’s a little like painting the Forth bridge, the project could go on for years and your enthusiasm may dwindle when things don’t progress as quickly as you would like.

There can also be days, weeks, months of inactivity as you source and await delivery of authentic parts in your quest to restore your classic car to its full factory spec.

4 You bit off more than you can chew

The classic car restoration process demands a whole new set of skills you will have to master if you are doing the job yourself. 

There are five stages to the restoration project:

  • Bodywork disassembly and rebuild
  • Suspension, steering and brake disassembly and rebuild
  • Engine and gearbox rebuild
  • Coach trimming
  • Paint refinishing

Generally the more time you spend and the more expertise you have the higher the value of the finished product. But in reality, few people can do everything and some of these tasks will have to be outsourced to experts. That can dent your restoration budget by thousands. 

classic car renovation

5 Replacements are unavailable and you can’t fabricate them

Once you have a plan of what needs to be done on your car you will need to consider the cost of parts and the tools you will need to complete the job successfully. 

Sourcing the right parts and the right tools can be very time consuming and very expensive.

Again, with more obscure and older models parts may no longer be available and that means you will have to make them or adapt more modern examples to make them fit for purpose. The fabrication of parts is a specialist job and if you cannot do it, or find someone else to do it, your classic car restoration project can easily founder. 

6 The job was bigger than you thought

You thought your classic car restoration project simply involved swapping out the gearbox for a new one but when you get it home you discover the chassis is rotten as a pear, the engine has seized and the bodywork has more holes then a kitchen colander… You don’t have the knowledge, the desire of the budget to tackle such a massive job. 

Get an expert to check over your fancied classic car restoration project before you lay down your hard earned cash. 

Keeping your classic car safe

If you have a classic car renovation on the go you will know how much time and cash you have committed to the project. Adrian Flux offers specialist classic car insurance and value for money laid up cover while your classic car renovation project is in progress. 

In most cases the best insurance deals are obtained over the phone — call 0333 271 1562 to find out how much you could save or book a free call back at a time that suits you. 




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