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How Much Does it Cost to Restore A Car?

How Much Does it Cost to Restore A Car?

Posted by Joshlin Grayson on Jun 30th 2020

When you think of the term ‘restoration’ you think of a muscle car from the 60’s, like a Mustang or a Challenger. While the cost of a restoration generally depends on the vehicle and can vary depending on a multitude of factors. Dive in with us as we discover the average cost of a restoration. 

To answer the question, in short, expect to pay between $50,000 and $100,000 on your average restoration for the most common, widely produced vehicles. This figure reflects roughly 600-1000 hours of labor and is dependent on restoring the vehicle to its original condition. Embark on a custom build or discover a rare find, and you’ll quickly discover that a restoration can require upwards of 3000 hours and more than $250,000. Here are some of the following factors of your restoration that will affect the cost and how many overall hours you’ll put into your next restoration: 

  • The rarity of the vehicle 
  • How extensively it needs restoration 
  • How rare parts to your restoration are 
  • Whether you want an OEM restoration or a custom build 
  • Whether the car is a coupe or a convertible--convertibles require more man-hours due to their rag top and often exotic upholstery.
  • The quality of the paint job 

Speaking of the quality of your vehicle’s paint, your painting process often takes a solid chunk out of your budget, if you do it right. As anyone who’s ever been to a car show knows that a top-quality paint job is what sets a vehicle apart from its peers, especially when it's a custom job. A top quality paint job can require around 300 hours of labor and generally involves disassembling the entire vehicle to ensure that there are no unwanted paint lines. When taking into account the cost of sandblasting, applying primer and having the vehicle painted; your whole car being painted can cost upwards of $40k and can require up to $15k just in paint alone. 

How to Determine How Much You’ll Pay 

There are two methods of restoring a classic car; buying the car and having your local specialty shop restore the car for you: 

Having Your Classic Restored at a Shop 

Having your classic car restored at a shop will most likely cost more than if you do it yourself. A standard repair shop usually charged around $85 per hour; multiply that figure by a couple of hundred hours, and you quickly get a steep price tag that makes you second guess “why restore the vehicle in the first place?”. However, restoring your vehicle at a professional shop has its benefits. In addition to knowing that your vehicle is being restored right the first time, you also don’t have to worry about the special skills, tools, and equipment that you’ll need to restore the vehicle.

To figure out a ballpark amount on how much a restore would cost at a restoration shop, check out some classic car forums for your particular vehicle and see what others have said.

Do It Yourself! 

 You can not only more accurately guess how much restoration will cost if you do it yourself, but will also cut down on costs. Work with a shop that specializes in restoration, and you may discover that your bill has been inflated. However, when you do things yourself, you quickly find that over the course of your restoration, you can easily save tens of thousands of dollars. Although a DIY restoration may be on the lower end of our $50,000 - $100,000 spectrum. 

The downside of restoring your vehicle yourself is that it requires a plethora of skill sets. While you can certainly learn everything on the first go-around, you may have a fluke here or there that causes some major problems down the road. In addition, you have to buy all of the necessary tools and equipment in order to do a quality restore. 

Although gauging the price of your restoration is tough, we at Collectors Auto Supply strive to provide all of the classic car parts you need to have a successful restoration. Offering an incredible knowledge base and an extensive inventory, we at Collectors Auto Supply ensure that no matter which car you decide to restore, you have someone in your corner you can call on. Collectors has a large selection of auto restoration supplies so if you’re looking for classic car parts or classic truck parts you’ve come to the right place. Check out our home page to begin your search for classic car restoration parts.