Rusty Restorations – 6 Tips for Restoring a Classic Car on a Budget

Sure, new vehicles produced today are pretty fantastic. They have all the bells and whistles and are generally all about comfort and luxury. However, you can’t beat the nostalgia and class of a classic car. The problem is, high-quality, fully restored ones are both expensive and in short supply. 

If you have a car in mind, but it’s going to take some time and money to get back on the road, then read on for some expert advice on restoring a classic car on a budget. 

Make Contacts

Parts for classic cars can be hard to come by, so trips to local car wreckers can be necessary. If wreckers don’t have what you want now, that doesn’t mean they can’t source it in the future. Make as many contacts in the car wrecker world as possible. 


Though it’s important to shop locally, that’s not always possible. You may need to widen your net and make connections globally to find what you need. Fortunately, many secondhand parts can be more affordable than new ones. You may be surprised at how helpful making automotive contacts can be for your project. 

Trade Skills

You can pay as much as $215 per hour for a specialist automotive service. For many, that’s unaffordable. However, if you’ve got a desirable skill, and someone you know has a talent you require, then why not do a swap? 


Your buddy can do some wiring to get your classic car back on the road, and in exchange, you can paint his house or pave his driveway. Bartering is the oldest form of commerce, and it’s still alive and kicking.   

Choose a Sound Car

One of the easiest ways to restore a car on a budget is by buying a vehicle that’s restorable in the first place. It’s easy to bite off more than you can chew when you purchase one that requires a significant amount of work. 

Jaguar Land Rover rusting away in the sales, 2019,

While it’s okay if the car requires engine work, paint, upholstery, and similar, rust and framework issues can be a money pit. If you don’t have the time or skills to handle these on your own, you’re better off spending a little more to be able to spend less down the line. 

Join a Car Club

Let’s say you’ve purchased a Ford Model T and it requires a little work. If you join a Model T club, you have access to parts and information that the general automotive industry typically can’t offer. 

Ferrari Club Chile, Passione Unica Patagonia 2018, the money shot,

You never know, another club member might have the very part you require gathering dust in their garage. Or you might learn the solution to a problem a mechanic would charge you hundreds to diagnose. Car clubs can be a treasure trove for the avid car restorer. 

One Step at a Time

Purchasing a classic car to restore is exciting. It rolls into your garage, and you get stuck in, pulling everything apart in preparation for the restoration. However, once everything is off, you can start to feel overwhelmed, and your entire project can go on hold. The costs add up, and your car is nowhere near completion. 

You can avoid those feelings of overwhelm by focusing on one area of the car at a time whilst restoring a car. By doing so, you also get to spread out the costs into more manageable chunks.   

Restoring a classic car can be a fun pastime for any automotive enthusiast. However, it can also be a costly one. Save money with the help of the tips above. It’ll be road-ready in no time.

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