How to Restore Your Classic Car on a Tight Budget
If you have the time and patience, restoring a classic car without a lot of money is definitely possible. A rarer car makes it harder to find original parts, and it is often more expensive, too. There are tricks, though, to making your car look like a million bucks without spending it.
Play With Typos
If you’re looking for parts to help restore your car, you can spend a lot more than necessary because people often don’t know what they have. Playing with spellings of your model name can help you bring up a lot of options that normal searches might miss. Because the listing doesn’t get as much traffic, you’re more likely to get a deal. Using a generic version of the name can do the same. A collector who dies and leaves a Shelby GT350 in his estate might have an uninformed relative just list it as “Old Mustang.”
Look For Other Models With The Same Parts
Corvette enthusiasts know that they can look further than other corvettes when considering work on their engine. The Chevy small block V8 was used in a number of other models, and it only requires a little bit of research to find cheaper alternative car parts. This is the case for many different cars; if original parts are hard to find, make sure they’re not unique to your car model only.
Consider Upgrades to OEMs
Your classic one-ton truck with a three-speed may be great to drive with your custom paint, stereo and rims, but it might still be killing you at the gas pump. If you’ve got a driver car, you may want to consider if it makes sense to add an overdrive or a more fuel-efficient engine to the car so you don’t have to spend a fortune for every poker or classic car run you do.
Barter for Work
If you need paint, but can’t afford to pay what a good custom job is worth, consider offering a trade to a smaller company. Think about what you can give that’s equal to the same amount of time and effort and make an offer. This can be something you do for a living like woodworking, engine work or even dentistry, or it can be something you have like an old boat, a bunch of firewood or anything else they might like.