What's Involved?

What's Involved in Building or Restoring a Car?

This is one of the most frequent questions that we are asked along with its companion questions: “What does it cost to build or restore a car?” and “How long does it take to build or restore a car?” Our answer is: “What’s your purpose for this project?”

Many owners spend lots of time thinking about the nuts and bolts items of their car like color, interior, engine size, accessories, etc., but don’t spend enough time thinking about the purpose and end use, other then they want to drive it or they want to show it. Before a build or restoration can begin, they need to think harder about how they want to use the car in order to determine the desired Finish Level. The Finish Level and the actual Finishing Operations will dictate the extent and cost of the project.

Owners of driven cars must give consideration to their driving plans. Will they only make short trips of less then 50 or 100 miles or will they be touring longer distances? Will they be driving in inclement weather? Will they be driving in heavy traffic? How much stuff will they be carrying with them? How many people will be in their car? What types of roads will they normally be using? Will the car be parked in unprotected areas? Do they plan to tow a trailer? Will they participate in racing or drifting competitions?

Owners of show cars need to consider what show circuits they are planning to compete in such as ISCA, AACA, Concours de’ elegance, Goodguys, NSRA, etc. They should also know what special awards they are chasing and what class they plan to participate in. Will there be involvement with media during the build? Will they be showcasing specific products?

Thorough planning before starting the project is the owner’s single most important part of each project. Expect a lot of questions from the builder before starting a project, and be wary if they don’t ask questions. Unless they are mind readers, builders cannot satisfy owners with an acceptable final product if they don’t know what the owner expects and needs.