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Find Your Project

So now you've decided that you are going to do a restoration, you know exactly what car you want to restore, you have your basic budget set, and you know generally how you want to do the restoration. Now What?

Ask the Right Questions

First, you need to figure out what questions you need to ask, both in general and specifically for the vehicle you're searching for. Here's a list that contains a good starting point for your questions. The basic questions are universal, but what about those Make/Model/Year specific questions? If you've already found a car club for your future purchase, see if they have one published. Search the marque specific collector web sites. Find a local specialist mechanic and ask them. Each car type is specific, the more exhaustive your research here the less likely you will be unhappily suprised later.

If you have the time and resources, either bring an expert with you, or arrange with a local mechanic who specializes in the vehicle to look it over for you.

Where to look?

I have to caveat my search information as it is likely to be specific to the United States.

Craigslist.org
You'd be amazed what surfaces on this site on a regular basis. The site is regionally specific. If you are looking for a frame up restoration, then this is a good site to check for candidates. Just beware of scammers. If the offer sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
CollectorCarTraderOnline.com
I can waste the better part of a day on this site just poking around. It offers a multitude of search parameters as well as email updates based on searches.
Hemmings.com
This is the grandaddy. I grew up thumbing through the old brown paper/newsprint versions of it longing for the day when I could own some or any of those cars.
Club / Enthusiast Sites
Almost every car club or enthusiast site has some sort of classifieds section. In addition, networking with these groups and sites will allow you to contact with folks who will know of other cars for sale.
Ebay
I'm not a big fan of auction sites. I don't have the patience for it. That being said, there's always a goodly number of cars available. If you're willing to play the auction game you might find a gem. If at all possible, find someone local to the car (if it's not near you) to go and inspect it for you.

So how much should my restoration cost?

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Contents copyright 2008, 2009 - Jody F. Kerr

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