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What Is The Cheapest Classic Car To Restore

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  • chevrolet, enthusiasts, restoration, models, chassis
  • Posted date:
  • 05-09-2022
What Is The Cheapest Classic Car To Restore

Classic Cars That Are Cheap To Restore

Every gearhead has considered purchasing a classic car as a restoration project at least once in their life. The nostalgia brought by classic cars makes many enthusiasts ecstatic, especially when older models are available for reasonable prices. Though, as with any vehicle, classic cars are prone to age-related damage and even more susceptible to becoming neglected and forgotten when owned for decades. Unfortunately, many of the forgotten classic cars either become famed 'barn-finds' fetching millions at auction or lost relics never to be ridden again.

The variation of classic cars available to buy, and their often poorer condition, signifies the importance of checking old cars before purchase, even for a restoration project. Damages from elements, neglect or time, can heavily impact the over cost of the full restoration. Moreover, factor any potential expensive and hard-to-source repairs or replacements into the initial budget.

There are a few options for the many enthusiasts that decide to restore a classic car after finding their perfect subject. The first choice is to appreciate the beauty of the find and leave it be, owing to great damages or uncertainty about the value. The second choice is to purchase the classic car and haul it to a storage location, either to store away until the funds for restoration are available, to allow further appreciation or to sell on in the same condition as bought. The last, and most expensive choice, is to restore the classic car to all its former glory, going the extra mile to own a piece of automotive history. However, remember that not all classic cars are equal, and each restoration project will take varying amounts of time and money, so be cautious of your limitations and expectations. This article breaks down the best cars to restore, detailing many model restoration requirements and the classic cars that make good investments.

Affordable Classic Cars to Restore

Chevrolet Nova (1961–1979 & 1985–1988)

For beginner restorators, the Chevrolet Nova makes a great choice. The Chevy Nova is offered at reasonable prices and is relatively easy to locate. Whatsmore, the Chevrolet Nova is a beautiful car, emitting a slick style. Once restored, Chevrolet maintenance is pretty straightforward, so it's a viable daily driver on the roads. The Chevy Nova is related to the popular muscle car, the Camero, with the two sharing a few similarities.

Chevrolet Chevelle (1963–1977)

The Chevrolet Chevelle is one of the most iconic and classic muscle cars on the market. As for restoring the model, costs are reasonable, and the methods are quite straightforward, making it a popular and fun restoration project for anyone new to classic car restoration. Various parts are easily found in today's market, making repairs even easier.

Pontiac Trans Am (1967–2002)

If you're looking for a show-stopping, popular Pontiac for your restoration project, a Trans Am is the way to go. Many enthusiasts are in the market for this piece of American history, so it surprises some people how economical it can be to own and restore a Trans Am from this period, but the 1975-1981 models are pleasantly budget-friendly.

Oldsmobile Cutlass (1961–1999)

A worthy choice for anyone's first restoration project is the classic muscle car, the Oldsmobile Cutlass. This classic model is a popular choice as various models from 1968-1972 remain in good condition, making them easier and cheaper to restore.

Chevrolet Camaro (1966–2002 & 2009-present)

The classic Chevrolet Camaro was first released in 1966, with updated models still released today in 2022. Although it may not be as desired as the Chevrolet Mustang, its muscle car counterpart, the Camero offers similar elements at a more affordable price. To restore a Camero is relatively simple and reasonable financially.


Cheapest restoration project cars

Below we break down some of the best classic cars to purchase for restoration projects, whether for a full restoration to satisfy personal nostalgia or to make a good investment.


Citroen 2CV (1948–1990)

The Citroen 2CV is one of the more affordable models to restore, with every part you could need easily available at reasonable prices. Some example prices are as follows; Doors roughly £220 and Front Wings £130, as many parts are usable from the 2CV City model. Ensure you consider the potential work needed for the restoration, as body panels or full chassis replacement can be costly, look for a Citroen 2CV that only requires cosmetic works.

Ford Cortina (EUROPE: 1962–1982)

Many fords produced during the mid-1990s cost a small fortune or are tucked away by long-term owners. The exception is the classic car, the Ford Cortina, more specifically, the MkIV models released between 1976 and 1982 offer relatively good value. The car makes for a simple DIY restoration project, as systems are mostly traditionally engineered, mitigating many technical drawbacks from other classics. Be cautious of how much money you put into the project, unless for personal reasons, as re-sale value isn't the most exciting.

Land Rover (1971-1985)

The Land Rover SIII is the updated and more civilised version of the prior Land Rover SI and SII. SIII models retain the same basic specifications as the previous models whilst providing a great driving experience and true usability for daily drivers. The UK homes numerous Land Rover specialist garages that can provide spare parts and replacements, making restoration projects smoother sailing.

Mazda MX-5 (1989–1998)

The Mazda MX-5 can be considered a modern classic car, as its oldest produced models are just over 30 years old. Age hasn't stopped the roadster sports car from being a fan favourite in the classic car markets. Many enthusiasts flock to the MX-5 owed to its cute style, high performance and resilient handling. Production ended in 1998, although the older models are still prone to damage from human neglect and the elements. Luckily there are various Mazda specialists to help with the classic car restoration project, with parts relatively cheap; for example, new front wings cost around £75 each.

MGB (1962-1980)

The British Motor Corporation (BMC) produced this two-door evergreen sports car in 1962, it became one of the first cars to include a controlled crumple zone. This classic car is a popular choice for renovation projects owing to its straightforward systems and great availability of replacement parts. Over 500,000 MGB models were produced, meaning the community is plentiful and cheap parts are easily found. You could choose to replace the entire chassis for around £8,250 or replace the body panels for a cheaper restoration.

Mini (1959-1990)

Mini was founded in 1969 and later bought by German company BMW in 2000. The original Mini models were produced between 1959 and 1990, with the second generation produced between 1990 to 2000. Though these classic cars are small, they don't offer the easiest of restorations, but many enthusiasts would argue that the driving experience of a Mini makes it worth the hard work. Finding Mini spare parts is relatively easy at various specialist garages, what's more, British Motor Heritage still offer complete bodyshells for some Mini models. Over the last few years, the prices for this certified classic car have risen, presenting the opportunity for a good investment if restored within a smart budget.

Morris Minor (1948–1971)

The 1948 Morris Minor is a popular restoration project choice, and with over 1.6 million of this classic car manufactured, it makes the entire job much smoother. You can find cheap parts easier, and seek out support from specialists and enthusiasts alike. In 1982, Charles Ware's Morris Minor Centre established the Durable Car Ownership program, this offers Morris Minor owners the chance to manage the full restoration easier, focusing on manageable parts to bring the classic back to its former glory!

Rover P6 (1963–1977)

So long as the Rover P6 has a chassis in good condition, this classic car can be a great model to restore. Over 300,000 models were produced, meaning plenty are still available today, though increasing demand could see availability reduced and a price rise. Many enthusiasts state the Rover P6 3500 V8 engine is the best of the three variations (2000, 2200, or 3500), although the others still offer a smooth cruising experience. Body panels can be bought for reasonable prices from JR Wadhams, the world's largest independent company for classic Rover parts, including the P4, P5 and P6. The Rover community is expansive and can help make the restoration project more enjoyable!

Triumph Spitfire (1962-1980)

With a production run of over 20 years, the Triumph Spitfire was certainly a best-selling classic Sportster. The MkIV and 1500 models are the most functional, though any gives a great ownership experience. Moss Europe and Rimmer Bros offer many of the replacement parts for reasonable prices, making the restoration project easier and more affordable. Classic Triumph Spitfire prices have been slowly rising, as with many other classic sports cars in the current market, presenting a good investment opportunity. Whatmore, this is a beautiful car that makes any driver feel lucky to be behind the wheel.

Volkswagen Beetle (1938–2003)

The Beetle is one of the most iconic classic cars ever produced, it's recognised worldwide and adored by many enthusiasts for its incredibly cute styling. Its long production run stretched from just after WWII until the start of the 21st century, providing numerous models and variations to choose from. If you're considering finding a classic car to restore, ensure the Beetle has many original parts as possible and the least modifications, this will help raise the re-sale price later on too. Older models may also have been prone to chassis rot, body panel rust and more, but the excess of spare parts makes repairs simple. The continuing popularity of the Beetle makes a good investment, and with over 21 million produced, you have plenty to pick at!


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