Your classic car increases in value every single day, as long as it isn’t sitting in your back yard rusting away. Finding the time to restore it or a reputable shop to assist you in such a task, can often feel like an insurmountable task.
If the classic car that you dreamed of driving down Route 66 is still collecting dust in your garage, it’s time to consider hiring some help. Your classic car has monetary value, of course, but it also has sentimental value as well. Choosing the wrong automotive restoration shop to restore your classic car can lead to delays, subpar work and unsafe driving conditions leaving your dreams in the dust.
The first step in identifying the right automotive restoration shop is to evaluate the owner’s business practices. This comes before talks of price and experience. After all, you could hire the most expensive expert and never see a finished product. Business practices that are surrounded by care, systems and documentation help distinguish top-flight professional automotive restoration shops from the rest.
Visit the automotive restoration shop and observe the care that the owner provides to existing clients. Identify if the shop owner has a passion for classic car restoration. Look for evidence of approachability, problem solving, attitude and desire to do what’s right. Look to see that spare parts, coke cans and trash aren’t lying in or on the other cars. Professional automotive restoration shops treat classic cars as if they owned them.
Professional automotive restoration shops have systems in place to prevent contamination with oil, water and dirt, especially during the body and paint operations. Contamination causes premature failure of body and paintwork, as well as wear and possible failure of vital mechanical and electrical components. Ask the shop to step you through their process and how they eliminate the risk of contamination.
Look for evidence of organization, protection and storage of parts that have been removed from a car undergoing restoration. New and restored parts waiting to be installed in classic cars should be in a designated area that’s protected from damage.
Ask the shop to share examples of documentation that demonstrates the restoration process. Review checklists and condition reports to see that they’re complete with the detail that you’d want to see for your classic car.
Once you’ve found an automotive restoration shop that has great business practices, it’s time to start evaluating expertise and price. Reputation is key as is the satisfaction of past clients. In my next post, I’ll share my top tips for narrowing down your list of potential candidates.
Have you ever used an automotive shop for your classic car restoration project? I’d love to hear your experiences in the comments below.