There’s nothing like the pride of owning a fully restored classic car. When you’re a car enthusiast, scanning the pages of a classic car parts catalog is like looking through a toy catalog for a child. All those parts and possibilities get your imagination revving and your dream of restoring your own classic shifts into high gear.
Classic Car Restoration: Hobby or Investment?
Restoring a classic car isn’t a cheap endeavor. Original parts can be difficult to find and expensive when you do. Before you make room in your garage, it's important to clarify exactly your plans once the restoration is complete.
It is possible to flip a restored car for a great profit. If you can get the car for a good price to start with and know how to do all the work yourself—which is the fun part anyway—there is money to be made. If you plan on selling, be sure to set a budget for your project. Not all upgrades will necessarily increase a car's resale value.
If the roar of a V-8 and the glory of a smooth ride is your motivation for restoring, profit may not be your number one priority. Plenty of gearheads spend years lovingly restoring that one perfect dream car as money and time permits. For them, the journey is more important than the destination. And that's the kind of value you can't put a price on.
Advantages of Restoring a Popular Classic Car
Whether you’re interested in restoration for a potential financial gain or for the sheer joy of it, selecting a project car that’s higher on the popularity list does have advantages.
- Original and reproduced parts will probably be easier to locate than less popular models
- Parts are generally affordable
- More interested collectors if you want to sell
- You’ll have a bigger pool of mechanics and other restorers to get advice or help from
- More opportunities to join clubs, car shows and events if your classic is a model everyone wants to see
The 6 Most Popular Classic Cars
1. Ford Mustang (1964-1968)
Early Mustangs are probably one of the easiest restoration projects for a first-timer. Pick up any classic car parts catalog and you’ll find what you need. Even people who don’t really think they’re into classics will stop and admire a Mustang. And it’s no wonder. The pony car was an instant favorite. It had the honor of being the 1964 Official Indianapolis 500 pace car. Because it’s so popular, there are plenty of resources available when you have questions about your restoration.
2. Dodge Challenger (1972-1973)
The Challenger has it all. It’s sporty, it’s got muscle, and it has great details that make car lovers say “wow.” The popularity of the 72-73 Dodge Challenger is growing and so is the supply of parts. The one caution with this car is if you’re in it for the money, be aware that it is the restoration to original factory standards that makes a Challenger valuable.
3. Pontiac Grand Prix (1962)
The 62 Grand Prix has never gone out of style with collectors. Reproduction parts are affordable and relatively easy to find. Prices for these cars can be high, but there are still plenty of restoration-level Grand Prix on the market.
4. Chevrolet Bel Air (1953-1954)
It’s got curves. It’s got style. The Bel Air symbolized the prosperity and innovation of America after WWII. Plenty of original and restoration parts are available, including high-performance upgrades like disc brake conversions.
5. Buick Riviera 1963-1965
Generally, the Riviera is considered a luxury sedan. But the early models were loved for their quick acceleration, responsive maneuverability, and elegant style. In fact, the Rivera may be one of the only American-made cars to ever receive accolades from an Italian auto designer. The famed Sergio Pininfarina said the Riviera was one of the most beautiful cars ever built. Knowing that, it’s no surprise that the Gran Sport line is one of the most desired cars for restoration.
6. Cadillac (1965-1966)
No car says luxury like a Cadillac. The well-appointed interiors and powerful engines have kept this model high on the popularity list since it rolled off the assembly line. A project Cadillac is another great choice for a first-time restoration. They are surprisingly affordable and most parts are plentiful, though trim pieces can be more difficult to locate.
Your Most Important Tool: A Classic Car Parts Catalog
Locating a comprehensive catalog should be your first step in any restoration project. You need look no further than Anderson Restoration for everything from ball joint sets to torsion bar mounts. We stock over 200 different front-end suspension kits. If we don’t currently have what you’re looking for just send us an email with the make, model, year, engine size, and the part you need and we’ll do our best to find it for you.