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Classic cars - any experience/help?
31-05-2005, 10:28 AM
Post: #1
Classic cars - any experience/help?

I'm thinking of buying (and trying to restore) an old classic car. This might be an absolutely crazy idea, since I have little experience of car maintenance (I can do a basic service, but that's it). I do however have a lot of enthusiasm, and a helpful friend who's an engineer.

I have my eye on a particular car at the moment. It's a 1976 Daimler. I haven't seen it 'in the metal' yet, but from the photo and the description, it will certainly need some TLC:

[Image: s2daimler_side.jpg]
(Sorry that's a bit big.)

The seller wants £395 for it (which is a little high, I think). He also has quite a few other Jags around in various states of repair, and various ages.

The thought of owning and restoring such a potentially lovely car is very appealing (and for relatively little money), but I'm not sure if it might turn out to be a disastrous money pit. Ideally, I'd like to be able to sell it on for a modest profit (having put in hours of work, I think that would be fair Smile ) but I don't know if that's being totally unrealistic.

Has anyone any advice? Are you about, Secrets? Any thoughts?

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31-05-2005, 10:45 AM (This post was last modified: 31-05-2005 10:48 AM by Flip.)
Post: #2
Classic cars - any experience/help?
Blinky - as you probably know I know zero about cars. However, I have experience as a wife of classic car enthusiast.

Mr F 'found' the shell of a series 1 Landrover [I think 1947] - and started to rebuild it. It took about 5 years and lord knows how much money, sounds simple enough. But I think a lot of the time went on sourcing parts - so he spent a fortune on trawling round scrap yards, putting ads in papers etc [pre-internet].

It was a labour of love - and when it was finished it was valued at something like 3,000GBP - not a lot for all the work and effort he put into it. But it was a work horse and not neccesarily a desirable sports type classic car.

He eventually sold it about 10 years later for not much more than its original valuation.

The But comes in here - whilst we owned it - we would take it to Vintage Car rallies and ride around the farm it in - and that was the fun part of it - so the fun part certainly outweighed any financial value.

It very much depends on what your end plan is?? If it is purely financial gain [which I doubt] then forget it!

If it is to enjoy the process, enjoy the chase, enjoy the challenge and the end product for what it is a beaut of a classic car - then go for it!!

I am still after the 'perfect' classic car for me too - Mr F is still searching on ebay and the papers for the 'one' - it hasn't happened yet - but one day I wil get it!!

I always cook with wine, and sometimes I actually put it in the food.
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31-05-2005, 10:54 AM
Post: #3
Classic cars - any experience/help?
My Dad does this, generally with much older cars and turns them into hot rods. His method is avoiding rust as it's expensive and time consuming. His preferred method is to import cars from drier countries - often cheaper than you think.

Your only intention shoudl be to do it for the love, because with rustbuckets like that, it will cost you a LOT more to restore than you'll be able to raise for it. Have a look at magazines like practical classics and custom car for an indication of how much it's worth when lovingly restored - you might be surprised.

Join an owners club and go to swop meets, they're an invaluable resource of old bits - wings, chrome bits etc etc

Looking at that car in particular, though I can see why you'd want it - you should be able to get much better examples for much less money. Check out the auto trader under £500 section - car club magazines fvor unfinished projects are a good idea too.

You've not just got the body work to contend with, the wheels will need dipping to get them shiny again, there is at least one hub missing on the rear wheel, the chrome will need dipping to restore, the grill, and so on...!

You'd need to strip that right back, replace the really rusty bits with either sheet metal or a new panel and then make it all smooth again ready for priming.

Don't forget the door handles, the interior, the chassis which will probably be on it's way out and then there is the engine!!! I once spent a week with my Dad stripping an engine piece by piece, washing it in parafin, painting it with engine paint and then reassembling - he knew what he was doing, it looked to me like a complete mess and I had no clue where the bits went.

Why not try something a bit more modest (and I don't mean the type of car - look for a less rusty one!!) for your first project to see if you even enjoy doing it! It can be very satisfying but it's a lot of hard work.

Oh, and don't forget the electrics, they're usually knackered in a car that age, and so a new wiring loom will need to be installed - if you can't get exactly the same engine (chances are it's cheaper to just replace it), then you have to modify the loom and that is boggling!!

I've probably forgotten loads of things, but that's a nice start. The more people you talk to the better, find your niche, offer your service to your new car buddies and hope others do it in return!
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31-05-2005, 10:56 AM
Post: #4
Classic cars - any experience/help?
I adore classic cars and would kill to own one myself.

My husband used to buy classics to do up and sell - but as Flippy said, it really is a labour of love as parts arent easy to find, and they normally cost a small mortgage to buy :wink2: BUT, the end result is worth all the hassle and heartache (and empty wallet). Just to see a shining car, that you have restored with your bare hands is a sight to behold.

Good luck with it Blink. I think if you have the dedication, the know how (or at least someone who can give you pointers) and the enthusiasm you should go for it. It wont make you rich, but it will make you smile Smile

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31-05-2005, 11:03 AM
Post: #5
Classic cars - any experience/help?
That's a lot of very sensible advice. Thank you folks! If I go to have a look at this car, I'll also take a look at other vehicles too. I was certainly concerned by the signs of rust in the photo, and I suspect it might not be enough just to fill the holes...

I was also thinking of offering the bloke more like £50 than £400...

I'll have a look at those mags you suggest, whim. I'm doing a lot of reading up at the moment (especially about the Jaguar XJ series). I'm sure it's better to go into a venture like this, well-informed.

I just wonder: has EVERY classic car had more spent on it than it's worth? If it's not possible to make a profit doing up your own car, I wonder if it's possible to make a profit doing up cars for other people?

Yeah, I'm not sure I want to be a solicitor for the rest of my life. Big Grin

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31-05-2005, 11:09 AM
Post: #6
Classic cars - any experience/help?
I don't understand the fascination myself, for me a car is something to get me, the kids and their stuff from a to b and as long as it is big enough for what that and starts 1st time, everytime, I am happy!

But I know you love your cars Blink, so good luck with your quest!
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31-05-2005, 12:59 PM
Post: #7
Classic cars - any experience/help?
Blink Wrote:I just wonder: has EVERY classic car had more spent on it than it's worth? If it's not possible to make a profit doing up your own car, I wonder if it's possible to make a profit doing up cars for other people?

Yeah, I'm not sure I want to be a solicitor for the rest of my life. Big Grin

Unless you find one that's been sat in a barn for 30 years then chances are you haven't a hope of making a profit. The specialist firms that do it will roll their own panels and so on, so the cost is reduced greatly.

Your best hope of making any money is to do it with fiberglass but the traditionalists don't like that - you'd have to build street rods or hot rods to make money from that, but then again, your market is limited.

If you're going to do it, learn how to weld, learn how to fabricate metal into useable panels and buy an old bath so you can do the chrome dipping yourself!!

Hope you succeeed, being a fitter is one of the most rewarding jobs I can think of (though perhaps because my Dad has talked of nothing else for my lifetime), but then I'm far too lazy far that. Besides, I might get my fingernails dirty Blush
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31-05-2005, 01:05 PM
Post: #8
Classic cars - any experience/help?
Yeah, I might have the same problem: I need to overcome a serious aversion to dirt. But I do have my tub of Swarfega at the ready!!!

Author of the fantasy thriller, Insensate - available for all ebook readers and iDevices. Find out more >here<. Only 49p/99¢!
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31-05-2005, 01:13 PM
Post: #9
Classic cars - any experience/help?
lol we used to use that a lot, it's horrid!

Just one more thing occured, he did a triumph herald recently, the body was knackered but the chassis, running gear etc was all okay, so he popped the rivest and catches (yeah, it was clipped to the body!) and bought one for £20 from the scrap yard which he slotted on top. A quick respray and he made a little on that for a change - he is a hobbyist though.
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31-05-2005, 02:32 PM
Post: #10
Classic cars - any experience/help?
ilovesurvivor Wrote:I don't understand the fascination myself, for me a car is something to get me, the kids and their stuff from a to b and as long as it is big enough for what that and starts 1st time, everytime, I am happy!

But I know you love your cars Blink, so good luck with your quest!
I'm with you ILS!

My brother spent about four years working on a car once, and still didn't finish it. He had to give up in the end - I think it had become more of a chore than a hobby.

My Uncle on the other hand, used to do up cars quite often and seemed to really enjoy it, but I suppose it depends on how much time you've got.

Gel x
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