Renovating a classic car?

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  • Renovating a classic car?
  • PJM1974
    Member

    I’ve put a lot of thought into this of late too. I really, really want a Mk2 Golf 16v again and the thought of buying one for peanuts and restoring it over time is tempting.

    I suppose it’s a balance between the condition of the vehicle and the work that you can realistically undertake yourself.

    willard
    Member

    You should talk to my step-father about this. He got a Midget in about ’95 to do up. I’ve seen it running in good order once since then, but apparently he has had it running at other times.

    I think he just likes taking it apart and fettling various bits to work a little better, but it does usually end up being an important part that means the rest of bits like the engine have to come out first.

    Anyway, I digress. You could probably find a B for about that sort of money and it _will_ keep you entertained over a winter doing stuff to it. It _will_ take over your life.

    Premier Icon convert
    Subscriber

    Firstly go for a “standard” classic like an MGB or Midget with advice and parts relatively on tap.

    2ndly decide if you are going to be a concourse style owner or just have it as an unusual run around. If the first get ready for it to be a permanent project and paranoid about actually using it. If the 2nd prepare for lots of fun but the constant feeling that it might let you down at any moment and its not actually as practical as you imagined.

    Premier Icon Sideways Tim
    Subscriber

    Done/doing just that very thing. My advise would be to buy the best you can afford, rather than a basket case for less. We’re in the process of restoring a Mk3 Spitfire for my lad, it will take about 5 years and cost will be over Β£5k.

    In the mean time I bought a mint Mk4 for Β£3000 and after sorting all it’s minor issues (rebuilt the head, suspension, new clutch, brakes, bushes, oil feed issues and whatnot) it’s been great. In fact my youngest daughter and I just drive to Moniga del Garda in it. 2400 miles in ten days and no serious issues.

    Look at loads before you buy, go on bodywork condition over mechanical, and join an owners club – loads of advise from folk who’ve already done it all before.

    Have fun.

    jwt
    Member

    As above get plenty of advice, read loads of the practical classic mags and talk to people who own/use the type of car you are looking for at shows. Try and buy the best example you can afford unless you want to spend months or years rebuilding something that will be worth a third of what it costs. It could be a very rewarding experience or a horror show nightmare of a money pit, the fun is in finding out which………. πŸ˜‰

    Milkie
    Member

    Renovating a classic hey!!! They are a money pit and very time consuming!

    I’m helping a friend with this:

    I think more than Β£3k has been sunk into it in the last couple of months and you could easily spend double that on top!

    My advice would be to try one first! The thing with classic cars is they will need work and will break down and will always take longer to fix than you think.. I would not want one as a daily drive!

    Premier Icon Sideways Tim
    Subscriber

    If you get something like a Spit or an MG there’s always parts available and they’re cheap too.
    Nothing that goes wrong can’t be put right and you get the satisfaction of doing stuff like this…

    Premier Icon somafunk
    Subscriber

    Don’t do it unless you have a decent mechanical knowledge and a shedload of spare cash otherwise it’ll turn out half arsed and piss you off.

    I restored my 1984 Mk2 Golf over a period of 12 months from right back to bare shell, extensive welding as it needed new floors, chassis points, inner sills, outer sills and patches here and there. Everything underneath was replaced for new original VW items down to the last nut n’ bolt/washer apart from upgrade items such as Eichbach anti roll bars & springs, Bilstein B12 shocks,powerflex bushes, uprated brake calipers/master cylinder/pads/discs. Also replaced a lot of dodgy and tired wiring, fitted an ABT tuned 1860cc 16v engine with 192bhp that redlines at 8000rpm, rebuilt gearbox with a quaife diff, handmade stainless manifold and stainless jetex exhaust, modified fuel injection system to cope with the extra demand (which is a pain to keep on tune if i’m honest) all set up on 4 wheel alignment for camber etc, full restored leather interior and nae back seat coz my bike lives in the rear :D.

    All in i have receipts totalling near enough Β£5000 and i’ve still to budget for a full respray as i can’t afford that at this point – even at mates rates that’s gonna be another Β£1000+, i did all the work myself as i trained as a vehicle mechanic 20 years ago and i’m quite decent with a welder.

    It won’t be cheap, to be honest you’d be better heading to the south of spain and buying a decent Mk2 Golf, driving it back to this country and carrying out a resto job on one that hasn’t been attacked by rust as there are so many dogs out there for sale cheap.

    My golf still needs new exterior plastics and trim as they do go grey unless i get the trim revival out and i’ve only done that a couple of times in the past year since it’s been back on the road, original trim is pretty rare and bloody expensive so i may not bother, it also needs a front valence but i can’t find an original one anywhere so i may end up making a splitter – mine is by no means in A1 bodywork condition but i know everything regarding running gear and brakes/steering/suspension/ball joints is A1 condition so i have confidence in the car when i do choose to boot it, shows a clean pair of heels to the lardy Mk6 gti.

    Every floor needed extensive and awkward welding to tie all the weld points together


    I managed it though

    I only meant to change the rear pads n’ discs for the mot but soon realised as i poked about it that it was fubar’d in the current condition and needed a lot more work so off it went up to the workshop on a flatbed, and 12 months later it came out spitting and barking on the overrun, was it worth the hundreds of hours and thousands of Β£ i spent on it?, my head/bank account says no way can it be justified, my heart says ****-yeah! – especially on a tight n’ twisty road πŸ˜€

    +1 for doing an MG, parts cost litteraly peanuts. You can even buy a new chassis and body for them (they’re quite a lot though)!

    For Β£2.5k you could buy a good BGT or Midget with rubber bumpers. And get some enjoyment from driving it, don’t worry there’s enough regular maintenance and jobs that need doing to keep you busy!

    Premier Icon binners
    Subscriber

    Triumphs are cheap with readily available parts too. And (luckily for me) you can fix just about anything with a spanner and a hammer. I had one of these. It was bloody great fun!

    Paul j
    Member

    The situtaion is, i have never owned a car always had vans for work and lesuire. But a change in circumstances means i need a project to work on.

    Iam keen to have a classic car of some discription, drove a frog eye sprite a few years back and bloody loved it.
    But my budget isnt going to stretch that far. Iam thinking mg bgt etc.
    Keen to do some work on it if needs be but if i can find one in good condition id be keen for that.

    My budget about Β£2,500
    Any ideas or thoughts would be much appriacted.

    Cheers

    jwt
    Member

    When I get home I’ll see if I can find the link for the Irish fella who rebuilt an E30 M3, it’s worth the huge read for his humor alone……

    torsoinalake
    Member

    Somafunk that is lovely.

    PJM1974
    Member

    @somafunk

    As a massive one time Golf-nerd (having owned a ’91 16v) that is absolutely bloody lovey. I love the way it’s more or less standard outside and it’s obviously been tastefully restored. I love the idea of 192 horses in a Mk2 16v even more – the same number of horses took my Alfa V6 to sixty in seven seconds, that thing must fly like a stabbed rat.

    b r
    Member

    But a change in circumstances means i need a project to work on.

    Spend the money on a lathe and a pile of metal, make stuff – or at least turn solid into shavings πŸ™‚

    Premier Icon parkesie
    Subscriber

    Small chassis triumph spitfire gt6 herald vitesse buy on condition of the body work as that’s the expensive. Pretty much every part is available and they’re fantastical easy to work on. I’ve got a spit and a gt6 so I am biased πŸ™‚

    lasty
    Member

    Done 2 MGBs …
    Be prepared to spend hundreds of hours fettling, double your planned budget for parts and youll have a decent enough car.
    If you want concourse prepare to become a pennyless garage dwelling hermit …
    The plus side is youll learn plenty of new skills and and make new …… “friends” πŸ™„

    Premier Icon parkesie
    Subscriber


    Spitfire by Parkesiemtb, on Flickr

    My spitfire still not finished after 8 years. Not enough free time these days needs painting and the interior fitting and the bright work. Re built it from a pile of rust that cost me Β£400.
    Be prepared for many hours in a cold garage covered in oil wondering where the bit you’ve got left over came from.

    Premier Icon cr500dom
    Subscriber

    A Project will cost at least 2x your budget (Whatever that may be) and take 3 times as long……

    I have well into 5 figures in my Supercharged Kadett project so far and its not painted or finally assembled yet 😳

    I could have had a nice 911 for the same cost

    But this will be RWD, LSD, 750KG, 250+ Hp and a shed load of fun as a daily.
    And should be totally reliable.

    I just wanted a daily that drove like a proper sorted tarmac rally chevette/Kadett, but with modern running gear and reliability….

    As you can see…….. there has been a bit of “Project scope creep” in there now

    Premier Icon MrOvershoot
    Subscriber

    thisisnotaspoon – Member
    For Β£2.5k you could buy a good BGT or Midget with rubber bumpers. And get some enjoyment from driving it,

    <MG snob mode on> Sorry if its got rubber bumpers it won’t be good or enjoyable <Mg snob mode off>
    But it will still be better than a Spitfire πŸ˜‰

    jwt
    Member

    Very comprehensive and amusingly written restoration thread of an E30 M3, it is long, but worth the read………….
    In my dreams i’d like a mark one mini(Austin)with a Yamaha R1 engine in the front al’a Lynx or Pro-motive stripped out and lightened to as close to 500kg as possible, comes out at 328bhp/ton…… πŸ˜€

    Premier Icon brassneck
    Subscriber

    Sideways Tim – stop posting or you’ll get me divorced πŸ™‚

    I’ve only just got your last bunch of photos out of my head, nagging at me, ‘Buy a Spitfire .. you know you want too…’

    jwt
    Member

    Or 360Bhp/ton with the later injection motors………. 😯

    Premier Icon Sideways Tim
    Subscriber

    ‘Buy a Spitfire .. You know you want too…’

    Tom83
    Member

    Classic mini?

    Paul j
    Member

    just found a mg bgt 1974, Β£1200 the chap says it has an engine from a rubber bumper model. And that it needs the front suspension bushes and welding on sills. asked him how bad the sills are.

    have to say cant thank you chaps enough for your replies hope this keeps going.

    lasty
    Member

    Sills – easy enough but do the whole lot, don’t just bang on an outer and think that’s it. Make sure you support/brace the body and repair one side at a time !
    Engines are all the same (basically !)
    Bushes – easy enough but do the WHOLE axel – not just the knackered ones…
    Expect to replace spring hangers if they havnt been done.
    Wait til you take the wings off and seats out THEN start adding up the cost…

    Etc etc etc …..

    “When you can weld rust to rust son, then youll be a man ..”

    Itll be an education but …. VERY rewarding – ENJOY 8)

    Premier Icon letmetalktomark
    Subscriber

    Triumphs are cheap

    πŸ˜• Not always our experience πŸ˜†

    @ Somafunk – already been said, but that is bloody lovely! Top work.

    slackalice
    Member

    That’s a gorgeous TR6! Lucas or Bosch injection?

    codybrennan
    Member

    Best advice I can give is to restore something you’d really enjoy driving, and wasn’t too rare in its day. Golf GTi would be ideal.

    And unless you’re exceptionally handy or experienced, get something that’s in not too bad nick, otherwise it will turn out to be an unsatisfying and expensive chequebook restoration.

    My bro is the foremost collector and restorer of these:

    http://storm.oldcarmanualproject.com/suzuki/SuzukiSC100GX530.jpg

    Currently has 8, with 6 fully restored from the metal, and he’s currently working on 2 of its predecessors, the Fronte.

    I like them well enough, he’s obsessed with them and just loves driving them. Its got to be like that for you or the project will founder.

    After many years with minis a few other projects, too many hours in the garage and thousands of pounds spent (and in hindsight nothing but a few photos to show for it), here are my rules of thumb:
    1) if you need to drive it, don’t get a project car
    2) learn to weld
    3) British Leyland went bust for a reason
    4) Work out a budget and double it
    5) If you’re doing up a porshe triple the budget
    6) if it’s a TVR then re-mortgage the house
    7) take photos/sketches of everything – so you know how to put it back together
    8) get loads of sandwich bags to keep the bits in
    9) MX5’s a pretty easy (as are many classic Japanese cars)
    10) Strip the car the shell and then rebuild it – don’t try and do a bit here and there.

    Finally late nights and beer tends to result in extra dents, broken parts and launching your dad into the air using nothing but spark plugs and then watching him land painfully on a broken lawnmower.

    Premier Icon somafunk
    Subscriber

    Cheers peeps, the pics do it a greater justice than the current bodywork actually deserves – a few blemishes are starting to show and it still has undercoat on the sills so i really do need to get my arse into gear and get it off the road before this winter and outer bodywork sorted/paint applied, by my own self admittance i am either “all or nothing” when it comes to this type of restoration and i hate to do a half arsed job when perhaps all it truly needs is a half arsed job and a quick rub down and flash over, but i prefer to do stuff to the best of my abilities (perfectionist? = failing?) which will ultimately see this turning into a rub down, treat rust, fit oe panels, fill, undercoat, rub down, examine under light and flat down, fill, undercoat, basecoat, flat down, fill, flat down, examine, basecoat and final topcoat in Daytona Pearl Gray (same as a mates ABT RS4) so i need disposable cash before i start which is hard/impossible to find at the moment – i’ll get there in the end but this is my only car/daily driver that covers 200-300 miles a week so i’ll have to buy a cheap scrapper to tide me over while it is off the road.

    As others have said figure a budget for your restoration whatever you choose then rip it up and double the initial figure and add 50%, it is pointless spending money on superficial fixes if the underlying bodywork/chassis is not up to scratch and if the running gear is also not up to scratch then you will never trust it when tanking into a corner at speed, and if you cannot trust it then it’s been a pointless and futile money burning exercise.

    PJM1974 : I’ve had my fair share of alfa 75’s, one a 3.0 V6 lhd special edition (italian import) that sounded so nice on full throttle that it caused many a moment and a truly immaculate/concours 75 2.0 lhd turbo import in rosso red with red leather interior that a **** gormless blonde bimbo rear ended whilst applying her make up on the motorway, she made such a good job of stuffing the rear axle mounted gearbox and twisting the chassis along with ripping the transmission tunnel due to the flailing propshaft that no amount of jigging would sort out so i had to break it for parts – never been so gutted in my life πŸ˜₯ as that car was one of a very few built. She rearranged her face rather well so hopefully in future she paid more attention to the road ahead rather than her lipstick when travelling in the outer lane of a motorway.

    Only ever owned tuned VW’s from corrado’s, sciroccos, golfs, two alfa 75’s, one Lancia Delta HF Integrale (restored back end when serving my time as mechanic but couldn’t afford to run it so sold it (stupid…stupid boy) and one very-very gormless buy of a S70 2.5l 20v volvo (hatefull car….utterly useless for anything).

    Once you’ve restored one old car then anything is possible, whether or not the bank balance allows you to is another matter entirely but it’s surprising just how little money you need to live on for a year πŸ˜€

    z1ppy
    Member

    Dear god, I really feel the need to draw more attention to the that link JWT posted..

    http://www.e30owners.com/forums/showthread.php?t=4446

    I’m only half way through and am blown away by the guys persistence/attention to detail/utter bloodyminded-ness, if anything I’m hoping he has managed to finish it (I really don’t know yet)

    jwt
    Member

    Glad you’re enjoying it z1ppy, if you enjoy that sort of thing there are some interesting threads HERE , so sorry if you lose hours days of your life reading them…….. πŸ˜‰

    z1ppy
    Member

    Epic is the word, will check out the links once I get some spare time/year

    Fantombiker
    Member

    One thing I’d add is the need for a spacious dry garage with power. Also, you need a large array of good tools which are expensive.

    I have been involved with old Alfas and the rule for me is to ignore the mechanical condition and buy one with a solid body. Bodywork is time consuming and boring!

    LenHankie
    Member

    jwt – Member
    When I get home I’ll see if I can find the link for the Irish fella who rebuilt an E30 M3, it’s worth the huge read for his humor alone……

    I followed that thread at the time. Now THAT is how you rebuild a car! Even the alternator rebuild lasts about three pages! Beautiful attention to detail.

    monkey_boy
    Member

    amazing and i take my hat off to you sir…

    i think it would look even better with original BBS alloys though πŸ˜‰

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