Classic car restoration is a popular hobby among auto enthusiasts of all kinds, and it’s not hard to see why. After all, there are few greater joys than resurrecting a vintage beauty through determination, hard work, and love. With that said, many beginners don’t realize that there are a few different ways to restore a classic vehicle.
Moreover, all of these methods define the specific purpose of the car once its restoration is complete. Take a moment to learn about the different levels of classic car restoration and see where your projects might fit into the mix.
Restored to Driving Conditions
Is the purpose of your restoration to get your vehicle in well enough shape to get you from point A to point B? If so, you’re undergoing the first level of classic car restoration—restored to driving conditions. These restorations aren’t successful unless every part under your beautiful, metal car’s hood runs correctly.
Because of this, these types of restoration projects require work and basic knowledge of how to remodel a car. You’ll likely have several cosmetic adjustments and part repairs to make before your vehicle is ready to hit the road. Further, it’s imperative to have a mechanic check out your car before and after the restoration.
Doing so will help you figure out which problems you need to smooth out at the start of the process. Then, it’ll help you decipher if your vehicle is safe for the road once you’re finished working on it.
Restored to Street Show Conditions
Of course, fixing up a functional vehicle to drive around isn’t the only reason people choose to restore classic cars. In fact, for some, vintage vehicle restoration is about an immaculate appearance as much as it is about incredible performance.
In other words, if you’re planning on taking your restored vehicle to a street show, it better look just as good as it runs. For this type of restoration, you’re going to need to have:
- Higher quality parts (engine, transmission, batteries, wheels)
- Professional repairs (don’t try anything on your own)
- Incredible attention to even the smallest details (even minuscule chrome and wood features)
Why is such an elevation in one’s repair and detailing quality required at this level? Because at a street show, your vehicle will be judged by a restoration expert using the official 100-point system.
If you want to have your car qualify as “street show condition,” it must fall between 80 and 89 points. Accomplishing this requires higher quality parts, detailing, and repair.
Restored to Show Car Conditions
Of course, your project could also fall under the “restore to show car condition” category. This level of restoration is very similar to what’s required to achieve street show conditions. You must have high-quality parts, incredible cosmetic detailing, and repairs.
But it goes a bit beyond excellent looks and performance. You must have a professional level of work done on each aspect of your car, from the wheels to the buttons on the interior radio. To qualify as a show car, your vehicle must have a rating between 90 and 95 out of 100.
Restored to Concours Conditions
Finally, the highest level of vehicle restoration you can achieve is “Concours conditions.” This level of restoration is typically reserved for private collectors, special auto shows, and museums. Cars at this level are never driven, and they must be rated over 95 out of 100 by a professional.
In short, whether you’re doing it out of a passion for automobiles, trying to achieve the highest levels of restoration or both, car restoration is a worthwhile endeavor.