Restoration is an expensive proposition. Even if you can perform most of the work yourself, it’s still going to cost you a tidy five-figure sum to buy the necessary parts, materials and paint supplies needed to transform an old car from a worn-out relic to a dazzling show beauty.
If you’ve decided to restore a particular old car because you have a longstanding attachment to that model and are not concerned about its value or whether parts can be easily found, then we applaud you–that mindset should be the primary focus of this great hobby of ours. However, if you enjoy old car restoration but prefer your projects to be easy and relatively cheap to do–with, perhaps, the added bonus of making a few dollars on it when it’s done–then these are the cars you should consider for your next venture.
Of course, the majority of these cars won’t make you stand apart from the crowd at a show or cruise-in, but you will be able to complete their restoration far faster and a whole lot cheaper than if you chose a car that was rare, or had only been made for a few years.
Another factor to consider is the actual purchase price of the car. While some of the cars listed here can be bought for around $5,000, others will cost four times as much even if they’re basket cases–but keep in mind that those higher-priced cars will also bring four times the money when sold, so it kind of equals out.
But the one common feature enjoyed by most of these cars–and the main reason why they are on this list–is that they’re backed by a huge parts supply, making them a lot easier to restore than something rare like a Pierce-Arrow, a Forties-era De Soto or a V-16 Cadillac. The availability of an extensive line of reproduction parts, especially new body panels and exterior trim, makes restoring these cars incredibly straightforward. In fact, their restoration will be so uncomplicated that you’ll find yourself interested in undertaking more restorations in years to come.
Sometimes going mainstream has its advantages.