The term”restoration” in context to the vintage car world has taken on a definition of its own. For some people, a restoration is simply painting a car and replacing items as needed, while for others, restoration means an extensive disassembly and overhaul, with each piece getting rebuilt or replaced.
As a consumer, it’s important to understand the basics of restoration levels for it can impact classic car values substantially. There are hundreds of ways to “restore” a vintage car or truck including but not limited to the following: i). Frame off restoration. Body of vehicle is completely taken off the frame and restoration includes body, frame, floor pans (top and bottom), etc. these restorations tend to be extensive and costly. ii). Rotisserie restoration. These restorations are when the body (or body and frame on a unibody vehicle) are disassembled and restored utilizing a rotisserie. Body of vehicle is completely taken off the frame and restoration includes body, frame, floor pans (top and bottom), etc. these restorations tend to be extensive and costly and iii). Cosmetic or “driver quality” restoration. These restoration are typically limited to cosmetic items including paint and body, interior, trim and emblems, etc. Within the three levels or restoration mentioned above, there can be varying quality from an “in the garage / amateur” restoration to a high dollar professional “concours” restoration. There is a universal 100 point grading system rating classic car conditions ranging from 100 being excellent to 20 being unrestorable.
In addition to the levels of restoration above, it’s important to understand the type of restoration as well for it can also impact value substantially. Type of restorations include: i). Factory or stock restoration. This type of restoration is geared towards restoring the car or truck to stock specs from the factory as if it were new. These types of restorations use original or oem (original equipment manufacturer) where possible. Factory original restorations tend to bring the highest dollars from collectors. ii). Custom restoration. These types of restorations are geared towards builder preference over factory stock. These can be refereed to as “customs” or “hot rods”. Typically these vehicles will have custom paint work, aftermarket wheels, suspension upgrades, power plant transplants, etc. A specific sector of custom restoration vehicles is “pro-touring” or “restomod / restomods” which are custom built with a more modern street performance and creature comforts than the original factory vehicle.