Finding a Great Project Car

by : dmaillie

Restoring a project car is a fun hobby and can be excellent for relieving stress. Finding the perfect car can be a bit more of a challenge. There are many very popular models and the most popular can be hard to find at a reasonable price. Before you start shopping for the perfect vehicle, set a budget for the entire project. You need to take into consideration the cost of the repairs as well as the price of the car.

Ideally, you don't want to spend a fortune on the vehicle itself. You need to allow as much money as possible in your budget for the actual restoration. On the other hand, you don't want a car that is in such bad condition that it would cost a fortune to fix. You want something you can reasonable expect to restore while staying within your budget.

Start by determining the features you want in your vehicle. Some may not be very important, such as the color. Others, like the motor or the choice between an automatic or manual transmission may be very important. You need to decide which features you want. Make a list and prioritize these features from most to least important.

Where to Look for a Project Car

The internet is becoming a popular place to buy and sell vehicles. Several sites offer cars for sale. The most well known is probably ebay motors. There are benefits and drawbacks to purchasing a vehicle on the internet. The biggest drawback is that you won't be able to inspect the car yourself. You will need to rely on pictures and the vehicle inspection report for information on the condition.

You can hire a mechanic to inspect the vehicle for you before you commit to bidding. A certified mechanic can put the car up on the lift and check it out thoroughly. If there is major damage, you will have a better picture of what it will cost to fix. This professional inspection can give you the peace of mind you wouldn't get by bidding on the vehicle based on pictures.

The local newspaper is a traditional way people have used for years to find a good project car. This can be a good source when looking for a car. You won't have as much competition in terms of price as you would on ebay. Only local people know about the vehicle, so there is a smaller pool of potential buyers. Another advantage is you will get to inspect the car before you buy.

Word of mouth is another way many people find their projects. Friends, co workers or neighbors may know of a great car that is sitting in someone's garage. Tell everyone you know that you are looking for a vehicle. Your friends will probably be familiar with the models you are interested in and may be able to steer you in the right direction. Your automotive mechanic is another good source of information. Many know people with cars that may be for sale.

Checking Out the Vehicle

The first thing you should check is the vehicle identification number (VIN). You want to make sure the VIN on the car matches the VIN on the title. Also, check the title to be sure it is a regular title. Junked cars are often issued a salvage title. This may not be able to be registered as a normal car, even after restoration.

Next, you want to evaluate the work that needs to be done. Consider the number of parts you will need and the cost of the parts. Check the internet for the price and availability of parts for the model you are considering for your restoration project. You want to be sure the vehicle is worth the price you will ultimately pay and if you can do the job and remain within your budget.

Inspect the interior. Look at the condition of the upholstery, rugs, dashboard and inside door panels. A stripped down interior will be very expensive to replace. Worn rugs and upholstery are fairly easy to deal with, if the rest of the interior is in good shape.

When you look at a vehicle, pay particular attention to the body of the car. Heavy or extensive damage can be very expensive to repair. Take into consideration the price you will pay at the body shop before making the purchase. Look for damage from accidents and rust damage. Check the trunk, under the rugs inside and at the bottom of the doors for evidence of rust.

Paint is a large expense in a restoration project. The paint job itself isn't too expensive, if there isn't much body work to be done. Look at the bumpers, chrome headlights and taillights and evaluate their condition. Replacing the lights can be costly, if the lights are cloudy. You don't necessarily need to replace them, they can often be restored.