Most people who love cars dream of having a project car, which needs some love and attention but looks like a lost cause to most other people.
Project cars often cost more money and more time than many people realize. And in the end, they may not even sell for much.
Car projects are very easy to get enthusiastic about, and in that enthusiasm, budgets can get blown, timelines can fall by the wayside, and the rare seats in the car might start to crumble.
A couple of considerations should be carefully thought over before purchasing a car to use as a project car.
What do you want?
There are a few reasons that people buy project cars. Some want to flip rares and classics; others hope to collect several of the same car make.
But most often, a car project is a single car, with no long-term plans other than to finish it ‘one day.’
So think about what you want to achieve.
There are also cars that aren’t almost skeletal that simply need some new additions or upgrades. These are the easiest car projects to start and complete, as there is a defined goal before you ever pick up a wrench.
Set the tightest budget you can. In the early days, you might underestimate some of the prices. Cars made in the EU, USA, or Asia might have parts specific to that area. Import costs can be expensive.
However, thanks to the internet, you no longer have to travel to buy parts; you can get everything from hubcaps to diesel parts online.
The most popular upgrades usually come with the highest price, though. Power and speed upgrades will be amongst the most expensive.
Spend time researching online and reading car project forums. They will give you great insight into the process and the final cost.
Unless you have unlimited time in the coming months, you will likely need to create a timeline that allows you some distraction-free time.
Rebuilding or building a car is a careful process, and you’ll need to guarantee you can spend at least several hours per week.
Distractions can also come from parts of the car that you didn’t inspect before purchase. If you didn’t see the cracks in the body, the deep rust in the axel, or layers of mold in the upholstery, these will add the time you might not want to spend – and distract from the final goals.
Don’t deviate from the plan. The plan will keep you on track and ensure that you complete your project within the deadline. The longer that car takes to complete, the more significant the financial impact.
The only time a diversion should happen is before you ever buy the project car. If you notice some deal-breakers upon seeing the car, the plan should be to move on to the next vehicle on your list.
Need some tips on buying classic cars? Read this post: Buying a Classic Car on a Budget.