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  • Writer's pictureNick Rumpff

What is it going to cost?

Updated: Sep 15, 2021

I am pretty sure that many people dive into the restoration of a classic car with little idea of the work involved and the cost. It is easy to get swept up in the romantic notion of a restoration.

So what does it cost? Well I don't fully know yet but it conjures up images of someone about to pull a loose thread on a knitted jumper. It depends on so many things like how much you paid and the condition of the car in the first place, how much of the work you can do yourself, how much time you have, what kind of restoration you want to do, your access to parts, access to specialist skills...the list goes on.

For me I am working towards a full restoration which means pulling apart every part of the car and restoring or replacing it.

So far I have spent the following:

  • $792.00 External Services (Sandblasting & Reconditioning of Wiper Motors)

  • $3,330.00 Workshop Labour (Mostly chassis repairs)

  • $8,474 Parts (Battery, Parabolic Springs, Doors, Oil Filter Air Cleaner, Number Plate Mount, Used Bulkhead, Radiator & Surround, Catflap Hinges, Heater, Wiring Loom, Ignition Switch, Dumb Irons, Crossmember, Footwells, Dash Warning Lights, Wheels Nuts, Hubs, Crank, Diff/Axle Bearings and Gaskets)

To date, that is $12,596 plus I have put in about 280 hours of my own time getting the vehicle back to the chassis and rebuilding the back axles.

I am estimating that it will cost me in the vicinity of $20,000 to finish including:

  • $1,200 New Door Tops/Door Seals

  • $300 Brake Kit

  • $160 Universal Joints

  • $400 Shock Absorbers

  • $5,000 Engine Rebuild

  • $600 Seats

  • $600 Stock Tyres

  • $6,000 Paint

  • $6,000 Workshop Labour

If my estimates are correct (which I am sure they are not) my total costs will be about $32,000. The biggest cost is labour, by far. If I was to tally my time at $100 per hour (which is what you might pay a workshop) it is already $28,000. I would guess that I have at least another 280 hours of my own labour to finish, which would push the total cost, all in, up to $88,000 (not including the purchase price of the car).

The moral of the story is that it costs way more to do this kind of restoration project than the car is worth at the end. Not only that, old cars need constant care to keep them running so the job is never done. Maybe that's why so many projects get abandoned part way through. What I am learning is that unless you have squllions of dollars to throw at a restoration, you have to do it bit by bit and because you love it. What you end up with is worth more than money.


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