There’s nothing more rewarding than bringing a beautiful classic car back to life. Car restoration is one of our favourite pastimes here at BMW Top News. Since we were ten years old, we’ve been taking cars apart and putting them back together. It’s an obsession we’ve taken with us into adult life. We recently took on a classic 1950s BMW Z3, and breathed new life into it. Now, it has a modern engine, new paintwork, and sophisticated suspension. It runs like a dream. Without those touches, the car was destined for the dump.
The best thing about classic car restoration is that it’s a cost-effective way of getting your hands on a BMW. We all know that BMWs aren’t cheap. They exist to show off their executive brand and provide an element of luxury. A brand new Z4, for example, will set you back over £30,000. We brought our little Z3 back to life for half that price. Plus, everyone knows the older classics are cooler than the new models! If you’re obsessed with cars and their inner workings, here’s how you can breathe new life into one.
Choose the right motor
First of all, you’ve got to choose wisely. There’s a fine line between buying a fixer-upper and buying a heap of junk! If you’re not already an expert in this field, consult someone who is. You’re looking for a bargain vehicle with lots of potential. Damage to the paintwork and wheels is absolutely fine. Even a little engine damage is easy to take care of. However, serious problems in the clutch, alignment, and suspension will prove tricky. It’s up to you to decide how much work you want to put in. If you’re new to the game, start small.
Set yourself a budget
Remember we said we renovated an old Z3 on the cheap. Well, the only reason that was possible was our strict budget. Left to our own devices, we’d have spent a fortune! When renovating a classic car, it’s easy to pay big money for unnecessary features. You’ll want to upgrade to the highest spec. You’ll want to settle for the first (expensive) part you come across. Don’t. Set yourself a strict limit and break the budget into parts. How much are you willing to spend on the paintwork? How much on the engine? Be realistic here.
Understand your abilities
Most people with a little knowledge can handle the easier car repair jobs. Replacing the oil and changing spark plugs are fairly straightforward tasks. But, don’t bite off more than you can chew. Renovating an old classic is certainly a learning experience. You can teach yourself new skills and learn new techniques. But, don’t jump in at the deep end. Some car repairs are incredibly tricky and require years of experience. You may put yourself in danger, or risk causing irreversible damage to the car. Assess your abilities and set a realistic vision of how much work you can do.
Find a place to work and get the right tools
Restoring a classic car requires a dedicated garage space and vital tools. You can’t simply park the car on the street and get to work. So, before you invest, make sure you have the correct resources around you. Essential tools of the trade include an engine hoist, powerful jacks, and a toolbox fit for business.
Finding the right parts
Before you start, you’ll have to decide whether you want to restore the car with original parts. This is a much trickier route, but many purists say it’s the only way! We chose to put a modern engine in our classic Z3 (because we wanted speed!) However, purists would seek out the original 1950s Z3 engine parts. You’ll have to keep your eyes open for used auto parts both online and offline. Ask your local mechanic to call you if your preferred part comes along. Join classic car clubs and look at online forums and auctions. Searching for parts is often the most frustrating part of the process, but it’s all worth it in the end.
Start with bodywork repairs
Once you’ve got your classic car laid out on the operating table, it’s tough to know where to start. We always suggest fixing the bodywork. It’s a relatively straightforward job that you can tick off. Start with a new paint job and fix any rust damage. You can then leave the bodywork off the car while you start on the more intricate parts.
Bringing a classic BMW back to life is a wonderful feeling. It’s an affordable way to get your hands on a beautiful car, and you feel more connected to it. Good luck, and let us know how you get on!