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What would you do? - Hypothetical Restoration

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    What would you do? - Hypothetical Restoration

    Hypothetical for most; I imagine a few have actually done it one way or another, but interested to hear your views on the below...

    So you've found your classic Mustang, enjoyed it for a number of years and learnt all about its quirks. You decide to do a complete restoration on it and you've got a good amount of funds in your bank account to handle it. The car itself is tidy and reasonably original (certainly not numbers matching) but many parts are showing their age.

    How far do you take the restoration? Do you try and re-use as much as possible or do you just replace the vast majority of it for new parts, selling the old on after? Is it a back to bare metal affair first? Do you take the opportunity to have some additional structural work welded in if you are back to bare metal such as seatbelt anchor points? Rubber seals perish, pitted chrome can be problematic as not everything can be re-chromed. Is this also an opportunity for some choice upgrades (discs all round, modern clutch, power steering, 9" diff etc)

    I have some thoughts about this when I think about my 65, but I'll share them after a few of you reply first :)

    From a traders perspective: Sell the car you have and buy one in the condition you want.

    I do "light restorations" and the costs would amaze you. Always better to purchase something someone else put their soul into.

    I bought a board members car which I sold previously as a driver and I am in the process of bringing it up several levels and the spend is scary, This was an excellent driver and the only welding I had to do on the car was two rear axle bump stop mounts. So paint, wheels, tyres, some mechanicals, new front glass, Much new chrome.....the list on this car is scary for a "light" restoration

    But of course if restoring a car is what you want to do you can't put a price on that.

    Please visit our Classic Mustang for sale site:
    We stock a large selection of freshly imported Classic 1960s Mustangs. Fastbacks, Convertibles and Coupes. Cars are in stock in the Southeast of England with more shipping from the USA at all times. Other interesting American cars also stocked. CSRP disk brake setups sold


      I think what you are mentioning as a restoration is virtually what they used to do in Overhaul'n where the only part of the original car was the rust free parts of the body, essentially creating a new car. To do this in this country without sponsorship from suppliers would be very expensive and the car would likely cost more than it was worth. Another side I have found over 25 years of classic Mustang ownership is that repop parts are not nearly as good quality as original parts. Then if you go for upgrades on everything you are not restoring but heading to restomod territory. I have found the best way of doing things is to plan jobs annually. Last year I did an interior refurb with Dynamat. This year is going to be front suspension. This, I find, keeps the interest in the car. If you do everything in one big lump it is a hell of a lot of work and expense all at once and I think there is a chance of becoming overwhelmed, both work wise, time wise and financially.


        I guess my situation was similar but different but will share experience for opinion.

        I bought by 67 with the intention of using it as a daily driver so it wasn't perfect with rust on the arches, but wasn't too bad having been restored by the previous owner about 10 years prior.

        In hindsight it was a bloody stupid idea, being an engineer driving to customer sites in a 30 year old car that had hardly had much use with the previous owner!

        I drove it daily for about 10 months (Mar - Dec) before my boss got annoyed at breakdowns and told me I could not drive it anymore and forced me to get a Company Van.

        The car was showing its age and wear so I decided to improve its condition. At first I didn't have the money to do it properly so focused on engine/mechanical and replacing the worst elements (like the rotten carpet), repairing bodywork myself as best as possible.

        Circumstances then changed and I had the money to do a full bare metal respray so it turned into a full restoration.

        I took the attitude of replacing the worst but keeping original where possible and sensible. Body guys repairs panels instead of replacing wherever possible. I kept anything that was good quality instead of just replacing.

        I would say with current exchange rate and prices it would cost a lot more than it did me at the time!

        '99 Bright Atlantic Blue Convertible (Stock) & '67 Acapulco Blue Fastback (393 Stroker)


          Iíve done a few over the years because I enjoy doing it.

          A couple of questions you need to ask yourself,
          Do you plan to keep it ?
          Can you really afford it ?
          Can you do most of the work yourself ?
          Do you have knowledgable friends ?
          Timescale ?

          You really need to go the bare metal route, too many bodged repairs by many owners over 50 years, once you start digging itís scary !, you donít want to paint over those.
          Most will require welding, much cheaper if you can weld, if not - learn.

          Shiney parts - some are too far gone, would you want pitted chrome against new shiney paint ?
          Door handles/light bezels are cheap enough to change every few years if the chrome starts to fail, door vent window frames are fortunes.
          New panels - Iíve had no problem with fitment really,

          Any questions, just ask.

          "Understeer is when you hit the wall with the front of the car, oversteer is when you hit the wall with the rear of the car. Horsepower is how fast you hit the wall and torque is how far you take the wall with you"


            I think there's a miss understanding here, I'm not looking to restore my car. I was just interested in peoples perspectives on if you could, would you and how would you do it, hence the hypothetical nature of the question :) I'm sure we've all seen the restoration shows or threads on here (I'm looking at you PhilK!) that show a perfectly painted, empty chassis ready for everything to be installed and thought "hell yes". That's before reality kicks in of course lol

            Interesting comment about the exchange rates I hadn't really thought about. I haven't bought too much recently from the states but can imagine a chunky order will set you back a fair bit more than it did.

            AllanR, that's a great way to think with regards to either just maintenance or upgrades. It's effectively what I've been doing myself; planning annual jobs and repairing/replacing/upgrading as I go. For me it feels like a great way to keep the car usable while hopefully making it more reliable and enjoyable without sinking too much money and time into it.

            For me, if I had the time and money then 100% I'd love to go all out with a restoration because in my head it's not a car I'm planning on selling until someone pries my driving license out of my hands. My OCD and my 65 are an interesting mix...on one hand the car is mostly original that if the paperwork is to be believed has done an original 65K miles since new, and I love that about it, however the fact it's got a 302 in it now instead of the original 289 A-code also make me think "meh, what's the point in trying to maintain originality, I'll just upgrade things and make it the car I want it to be".

            The reason this popped into my head is because I've been replacing door window rubber recently, and in the process have been cleaning up the window winder regulators. 3 out of 4 of them are original and if I'm honest, were a bit worn/lose and quite tired. But I've managed to clean/greased them up well, repaired bits that needed repairing they are working OK again. At what point do you call it quits and just buy modern replacements that will be silky smooth and last much longer?


              I guess its down to the individual as to how far you go with a restoration. As said above, if money is no object, and you plan on keeping it, then does it really matter what you spend? Most people these days get a new car on PCP, then send it back 3 years later at a huge loss, so what is the difference, at least you still have your restored car?
              Ive restored many many cars over the years, mostly VW beetles and campers, and have made a reasonable profit, but i will never get rich. I bought my 66 knowing the condition and where it was in the USA, although i bought it on Photos, which is not so good sometimes, but i'm a pretty good judge based on what i see and it did not phase me. I done a full restoration on mine, although some of the chassis corrosion was not picked up, and its probably cost me far more than its worth in the current market....but... This is my hobby, its been so since i was 12, and i get enjoyment out of it, and i love the car and will no doubt be with me for a long time. Perhaps my kids may benefit from any profit out of it in the future, but i went with my heart and not my head, and i don't really care what it cost to do, it was the enjoyment of building it, and now driving the car i admired as a kid!.
              1966 200ci Convertible
              1965 Lambretta LI125S3
              1997 BMW Z3 wide bodied 2.8


                How to get yourself a £25k coupe

                start with a £15k coupe and spend £25k restoring it.

                Next time, Iíll be saving up and buying one restored by a reputable UK source (having had my arse handed to me twice with cars Ďrestoredí in the US)


                  Originally posted by cokecan View Post
                  I think there's a miss understanding here, I'm not looking to restore my car. I was just interested in peoples perspectives on if you could, would you and how would you do it, hence the hypothetical nature of the question ?
                  ĎOh right, in that case Iíd take £150k from my vast bank account and have someone else do it, hypothetically speaking of course.

                  "Understeer is when you hit the wall with the front of the car, oversteer is when you hit the wall with the rear of the car. Horsepower is how fast you hit the wall and torque is how far you take the wall with you"


                    This all depends on: your motivation for owning a classic car; your technical ability; the value of the car and the fashion of the day.

                    For example, I restored my Mustang 14 years ago. It's a '68 Fastback and was a £1500 wreck, with suspension collapsed through the floor, frame rails all gone and a 302 fitted. It now has sound and heat insulation throughout, leather seats, a 393 stroker, a 5-speed, modern climate control etc. etc. with new panels all over and new fasteners everywhere (please note - unless you have a genuine Shelby, there is no such thing as an early matching-numbers Mustang). Dynamically it is all period Mustang but with quality parts, i.e. Konis but no rack and pinion etc. It's a great car for continental cruising but wouldn't win any MCA concours competitions, about which I couldn't care less.

                    I'm now in the middle of restoring a '55 XK140DHC SE, which is also an ex-US car. For this, I am saving every square inch of metalwork I can, probably to a ridiculous extent. I am keeping and cataloguing every single fastener, which for any non-stressed areas will be blasted, refinished and reused. Metalwork is the bit I enjoy most and I really believe that a restoration these days should aim to keep as much of the original material as possible. I think the world has moved on from when I did my Mustang, but that doesn't mean I don't enjoy the car. And yes, the Jag still has its original 'C'-type block and head, which I will ensure it keeps - engines and heads came with matched numbers on old Jags, unlike the Ford.

                    So my perspective at the moment is to buy as rough as I can find, spend nothing until the metalwork's done (just in case), keep as much of the original vehicle as humanly possible and to do it all myself.



                      I'll be the first to tell you new stuff is no picnic. The expletive ridden rants I had had over brand new out of the box stuff would make anyone blush

                      Orignal parts with patina, not rot or rust, patina... Win out everytime

                      I fear these brand new barret Jackson restorations won't last 1/4 as long as the factory build did

                      Please visit our Classic Mustang for sale site:
                      We stock a large selection of freshly imported Classic 1960s Mustangs. Fastbacks, Convertibles and Coupes. Cars are in stock in the Southeast of England with more shipping from the USA at all times. Other interesting American cars also stocked. CSRP disk brake setups sold


                        I'd only ever do a full resto if you were planning on keeping it forever, although I notice some people say the car is a keeper then a year or so later it's up for sale.


                          If I had the money I would reuse what was useable and replace what isn't, obviously! Have some good quality, but same design, suspension and steering, some mild engine mods and a slightly louder exhaust. Paintwork would be the same colour and interior I would quite like white and blue, maybe delux style. One mod I might be tempted with would be to convert to 5 stud so I could have some wider wheels/tyres. All in all I would just like a nice tidy car that is nice to drive, although saying that its quite nice to drive now.
                          I wouldn't do it myself as I know I would lose interest and never finish it.

                          1966 Coupe: 1995-
                          1966 Land Rover Series 2a: 2012-
                          2005 Mustang GT 2014-
                          2007 California Special Replica: 2010-2014


                            I would not restore my 70 mach1, I kind of like it the way it is, the chrome on the door handles and hood locks is very pitted, most of the shiny trim around everywhere else is also pitted, accident damages in some way, or missing completely, the bumpers are new chinese items, I want some pitted originals.

                            The interior is, apart from carpets and seats, original. This means the shiny chrome plastic around the dials has dulled or fallen off, the door cards have worn smooth from use, quite a few bits are missing and there are no interior lights, they are not broken, they just aren't there. I'll explain, back in the late 1970s this car was a drag car at Santa Pod, it used to run low 13's back then which was quick, some of the famous street strip cars back then were running similar numbers, this is when it lost its wiring and some other stuff as it was probably trailered to events, it was also red.

                            Fast forward a few years and it is put back on the road, and re-wired actually much better than before as everything goes through relays now, but they never re-fitted the interior lights.

                            So, any work it needs doing gets done, recently had major surgery fitting two new torque boxes and front chassis rails, its just had its second full mechanical rebuild since I've owned it and there is no rust I am aware of but I would not restore it. I love lovely restored mustangs, the attention to detail and level of workmanship, but think some mustangs are survivors or old warriors that need to be kept on going, mine is one of these cars.

                            I also like the thought that the first owner, proudly driving off the garage forecourt was looking at the same instruments and over the same dash cover that is still on it today, and steering with the same wheel. A car can only be original once.
                            1970 Mach1
                            Cleveland powered bacon finder.


                              I think that Mach1 Dude has a really good point about driving the car. My 65 is no garage queen, it gets used all the year round, doing around 5000 miles annually. It has some patina but that is the way I like it. If it was concours restored I would be scared of using it and would feel that it should be in a museum or padded garage. One thing I do want from my car is reliability as I hate cars that mess me around.