Top 10 Best Cars to Restore
Written by: Catalogs.com Editorial Staff
April 20, 2012
Filed Under Autos
Contributed by Paul Seaburn, Catalogs.com Top 10 Guru
If you’re restoring a car because you want a car that looks like the first one you owned when it was brand new, you already know what make and model it is.
On the other had, if your interest in restoration is because you want a good investment or you want to sell the car for a profit, then you need to know which are the best cars to restore when it comes to resale value and parts availability. Some makes, models and years are very popular – 60’s muscle cars especially – and many are not, but even a Yugo will appeal to someone!
10. Ford Falcon – 1964-1965
A popular first car for many people, the Ford Falcon is a good vehicle to restore because it uses many of the same parts as Mustangs and Cougars of the same era. Falcons are mechanically simple so they make a great first project for the novice restorer. Body and engine parts are readily available. Carefully painted hardtops, convertibles and GT models have the best resale value, but be sure to protect your investment with a protective car seat covers, and a good quality vehicle cover – and use it even when your Falcon is in the garage.
9. Packard – 1951-1954
Early fifties cars are generally not as popular as the sportier late 50’s models. An exception is the Packard, which was stylish and well-made and has a good number of clubs in the U.S. Mechanical and electrical parts are easy to find but body and trim parts may have to be made. The Packard is a great-looking classic that many restorers decide to keep once the project is done.
8. Ford Model A – 1928-1931
There are plenty of Model A cars still available in various stages of rust and repair and lots of suppliers for new and reproduction parts. These older cars have simple engines that are easy to upgrade for performance. Roadsters and coupes are the easiest to sell, although prices aren’t as high as you might expect. This is a model you definitely want to market through a collectors club.
7. Chevrolet Corvair Corsa – 1965-1966
Despite Ralph Nader (look it up), the Chevy Corvair Corsa is a great restoration project due to the large number of clubs, its rear-engine and its unique look. The Corvair engine is surprisingly easy to work on and parts are surprisingly easy to find. Go with the larger engines and 2-door models for resale.
6. Chevrolet Camaro 1967-1969
If you’re looking for a car to soup up as well as fix up, the 1967-1969 Camaro is a good choice. Many are still available in decent shape and there’s a big supply of performance Camaro parts. A well-restored Camaro in a hot color is an easy car to sell.
5. Pontiac Grand Prix – 1962
The Grand Prix was for guys whose parents or wives wouldn’t let them drive a GTO – it had similar performance for a lower price and without the muscle car reputation. This was the first year for the Grand Prix but it sold well and many are still available. New and reproductions Pontiac and GM parts are abundant.
4. Chevrolet Nova – 1968-1970
The Chevy Nova with a small block V-8 was a muscle car that didn’t look like a muscle car. There are still plenty of these cars in junkyards and barns and they’re a good car for novice restorers. There’s plenty of Chevy Nova parts available plus some hot performance options. Stick with the 2-door models for better resale.
3. Ford Mustang – 1964-1968
The original Ford Mustang was revolutionary in style, performance and price, making the first sporty car for many drivers. It has a huge following and restored cars, especially from the first four years, are easy to sell. Mustang parts are everywhere and Mustangs are easy to work on – if you need help, there are plenty of clubs nationwide.
2. Pontiac GTO – 1971-1972
You can’t go wrong with cars that inspired songs, so the Pontiac GTO is a great choice. The later models are cheaper to buy but are still hot-looking when restored. Another car that many like to supercharge, there are plenty of suppliers for both reproduction and high-performance GTO parts. If you loved the song, you’ll want one with “three deuces and a four-speed and a 389.”
1. Chevrolet Bel Air- 1955-1957
One of the most popular classic Chevy models of all time, the ’57 Chevy Bel Air is the best car to restore. Virtually every part is readily available, there are still many to buy in junkyards, barns and old garages and the market for resale is large. The ‘55s are not quite as popular but you can probably pick one up for less money.