Project Vehicle Vs. Restored Vehicle; How To Choose What To Buy

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Classic Restoration Enterprises offers pros, cons and advice about what to look for whether buying a project vehicle or a restored vehicle.

Thinking about buying your first classic car? Not sure how to choose between a car that will become a project restoration or an already restored vehicle? Looking to make sure you don’t get ripped off on your investment? Well, the experts at Classic Restoration Enterprises have compiled the following tips and potential pitfalls to save you some of the hassle and headache.

Summary of Pros

Project Vehicle for Restoration    

Rare/unusual hard to find vehicle     

Initial purchase is a bargain    

You have patience

You want the vehicle your way    

Already Restored Vehicle

Rare/unusual hard to find vehicle

Costs less to buy it then to restore it

You want instant gratification

It’s the exact vehicle you wanted

“While the reasons may appear to be very similar, they could not be more different,” says Melvin Benzaquen, President of Classic Restoration Enterprises. “The pitfalls for buying a restored vehicle are numerous. There are a number of people out there that will do a quick paint, interior and chrome on a car. I often refer to this as a Mop-N-Glow. Even though one can usually purchase a done car for less then the cost of a proper restoration, the quality (or lack thereof) can make or break the car in the long run. It will start to deteriorate quite quickly and could ultimately end up costing far more money and time then what one thought they were going in for. We have seen this repeatedly, especially cars purchased over the Internet. That's not to say there are not any good cars out there but there is a reason to the saying of Caveat Emptor (buyer beware)”

“Purchasing a project also has its pitfalls,” continues Benzaquen. “There are so many additional decisions that need to be made over and above purchasing a restored car. There could be parts missing that are near impossible to replace which can add time, frustration and expense that were not originally counted on. There could be additional damages and/or prior substandard repairs that will require additional work and expense to the project. An additional concern would be the amount of time that will be involved in doing the project restoration. It is often a time consuming process. You have to be prepared to go through the process. It is good to understand the process, before you get started. If you understand the process and comprehend why it works the way it does, you will be much better off and it will be a much more rewarding experience. One of the advantages would be is you are getting the car done exactly the way you want it done mechanically and cosmetically.”

Summary of Cons

Project Vehicle for Restoration

Possible missing parts        

Impossible to find parts

Undisclosed damages        

Bad repair work    

Length of time for work            

Already Restored Vehicle

Might not be a proper restoration

Might not getting your money’s worth

Possible quick deterioration

Additional money in repairs

Undisclosed damages

In restoring cars and even in project work, the shop doing the work is especially important. The restoration of a vehicle is a very important undertaking. The quality of the work is directly related to who is doing the work. That means your car is only as good as the shop that did the work.

The bottom line is that an experienced professional should be sent to look at the car whether it is a finished car or a project car to gain an objective opinion on what the current conditions are and what the car may or may not need down the road. Cars always look better in pictures, so it is not always a good idea to buy a car by pictures. Emotions can run pretty high when you think you have found "the car" and you can lose objectivity, which could cause you to make an expensive decision. This is an emotional purchase most of the time and it is all too easy to make a hasty and wrong decision.

Often times, even if the seller is completely honest, their perspective could be completely different from yours. That, in of itself, can create a feeling of distrust or dishonesty which is never what you want in any business transaction or sale.

Choosing your vehicle is difficult decision on both fronts. It is best to sit down, write what your wants are when thinking about your purchase and stick to them. It will make it easier to stay true to your desires and help you keep some of your objectivity using this list to refer to. A good plan will help eliminate the many bumps in the road on both fronts, and hopefully save you some headaches and dollars in the long run.

About Classic Restoration Enterprises, Inc.

Located just minutes outside of New York City, in Stony Point, NY, Classic Restoration Enterprises Inc., have the experience and expertise to restore and/or modify your vehicle. After all, their company philosophy is “Do it the right way” and that’s how they approach every project, offering lifetime guarantees on their work. Classic Restorations specializes in total restorations, modifications and suspension or drivetrain upgrades for wide range of vehicles. Free nationwide pick up and delivery, as well as ball park quotes are available on most jobs. No job is too small or too large. For more information or to get your next project started, log on to or contact Melvin Benzaquen at (845) 429-4942.

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Chad Westfall
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