How to Choose the Right Classic Car Restoration Shop
You finally found the car of your dreams! You’ve searched long and wide to find that car — maybe something special from your childhood or maybe a car you always wanted but couldn’t afford. Maybe you just love cars, and you’ve finally found the one to complete your collection (or start one). Now comes the process of restoring it. Maybe you only need a new paint job, or maybe you need a full body restoration and engine repair. Whatever the case, you need to find the right Tempe, Arizona shop to do your classic car restoration. Not just any mechanic can work on your special car. You need an expert.
Here are a few things you can do to make sure your car is in the right hands:
Know Your Goals
Before you can identify the right person or body shop to work on your classic car restoration, you need to know what your goals are to have a benchmark by which to measure.
Do you just want to get the car driving, or do you want to bring it back to like-new condition? For example, if you need a lot of engine work, you’ll need to find an experienced mechanic and not just someone who does body repair. You’ll also want to think through whether you want to use original parts and accessories, or if you just want to get the general look and performance of the original vehicle.
Make a list of everything you want done, and then prioritize the list by “must haves” and “like to haves.” That will not only help you find the right shop to do the work, but it will also help you plan your project to meet your budget.
Ask for Referrals
Talk to other car enthusiasts about your restoration project and ask them if they have any recommendations for shops or mechanics who can do the work. They’ll be able to tell you about their experiences or the experiences of those they know.
If you don’t have friends or family who are car enthusiasts like you, you can ask people you meet at classic car shows or at parts stores.
Through referrals, you’ll get a good idea of the reputation of the shop, which will reassure you about the kind of results and experience you can expect to get.
If you don’t have a list of shops to check out from your referrals, you can search for options online. Make sure you search for shops by their specialty. For example, if you have a classic Mustang that you want to restore, you don’t want to go to a shop that specializes in restoring Jaguars or other foreign models.
Make sure you find a shop that specializes in what you need and that has a good reputation among its customers.
Visit the Shop
Once you have a short list of shops you think will meet your needs, it’s important that you schedule a time to visit all of them in person. Seeing the shop for yourself will show you any potential red flags, such as piles of parts and scrap in the work area or technicians working outside. These are signs that the shop could be unorganized or over capacity, both of which could mean inferior results for your restoration.
You’ll need to ask a lot of questions when you are at the shop: Do they have all the tools and equipment they need there to do the work, or do they have to sub out some of the work? What experience do the technicians have? What kind of education do they have? How many projects does the shop currently have under contract?
If you have a good feeling about the shop after your visit, you can move on to talking in depth about your project.
Know the Plan
The final stage of selecting a restoration shop should be to talk with the technician about the plan for restoring your vehicle. Let the technician know what you want to accomplish, and then ask for a written, detailed project plan for your car, including a price estimate.
Know that the estimate can vary based on what the technician finds once the work begins. You can actually spend 10 percent to 20 percent more than the estimate, depending on what work needs to be done.
Be wary of any shops that promise you a set price. They can’t know what’s waiting under the hood, so they can’t know the full scope of the work until they begin working. If they have to stick to a firm price, they may cut corners to do it.
Make sure you ask the shop how they will keep you informed along the way or work with you on making changes to the project plan. You’ll want to be an active participant in the restoration process, so you want to be sure the shop will keep you in the loop and communicate well with you.
Know that once you find the right shop, there could be a waiting list. Some of the best shops have waiting lists that are months or even years long.
However, the wait is worth it if you want the best results for your classic car restoration.
Scottsdale Muffler and Automotive in Tempe performs expert mechanic work for your Tempe classic car restoration. Our highly trained and experienced Tempe mechanics can restore your car’s engine to its original state, and we can fabricate parts and solutions as needed. We’ll have your classic car working well so that you can take it to car shows and cruise-ins. Visit our shop today to talk about what you need for your car and let us formulate a plan for you! Call us today!
Scottsdale Muffler & Automotive
1710 E Curry Rd
Tempe, AZ 85281
Monday: 8:00 a.m. -- 5:00 p.m.
Tuesday: 8:00 a.m. -- 5:00 p.m.
Wednesday: 8:00 a.m. -- 5:00 p.m.
Thursday: 8:00 a.m. -- 5:00 p.m.
Friday: 8:00 a.m. -- 5:00 p.m.