If you’ve always dreamed of restoring a vintage car, you’re not alone. Tens of thousands of Americans count vintage restoration as their primary hobby, according to a study commissioned in 2017 by NPD Group. The study respondents noted the reasons they collect: they love to drive their vehicles, and their hobby gives them a sense of accomplishment. (They also love the sound of a classic engine!) 

The study also revealed that it can be a pricey hobby: the average vintage collector/restorer spent about $12,000 on their restoration. If the price seems too steep for your current budget, it’s worth investigating which models are less costly to restore. Not all classic car restorations are created equal: some vehicles will require expensive and hard-to-source parts, and others will need relatively inexpensive and easily available parts. Prices can vary wildly even in the same model of car: a particular year may be less expensive to restore. 

In this blog, we’ll cover three of the least expensive classic cars to restore, so you can fulfill your passion and remain within your budget. 

1966 Ford Mustang

Have a passion for Mustangs? Many are readily available. Because the Mustang was marketed to be an affordable car, there are many to choose from in various states of repair, so it shouldn’t be difficult to find one to fit your budget. When it comes to vintage a popular choice for affordable Mustangs to restore is the 1966 model. As an added bonus, they are one of the easiest vehicles to restore thanks to the wide availability of parts and because Mustangs have a large and passionate fan base, there is a great deal of information available online about bringing them back to their glory days. 

1970s Dodge Charger

Unlike many classic cars, the Dodge Charger didn’t change a great deal from year to year, so restorers need not be precise (down to the year) for many of the parts. The 1970s models are some of the most affordable you can find today. For this reason, Chargers tend to be popular among those who want a car they can restore versus other types of classic cars. Hot Cars magazine notes that paint is another reason Chargers are affordable to restore: All B-Body Chargers were finished with the same enamel paint, regardless of color. If you need to repaint your car, you can look at the fender tag which consists of two codes defining the specific upper and lower body paint. For those embarking on a Charger restoration project, there is even a book available entitled, “Project Charger: The Step-by-Step Restoration of a Popular Vintage Car.” 

1972 Chevrolet Camaro Sport Coupe 

While Corvettes typically make the top of the “Expensive” list when it comes to restoration, its cousin the Camaro ranks more on the affordable side. According to Wilson Auto Repair, there is a wide variety of parts available for Camaro restoration, and the actual restoration process is fairly straightforward.  The 1972 model specifically has a smaller engine and no trim upgrades – making it more affordable. Additionally, since Camaros are still in production it’s easy to keep up with modern technology and build something that will hold its own in both traffic and the streets, according to Hot Cars

When In Doubt, Consult with a Professional

Innovative Restorations Inc. is an automotive service facility that is dedicated to delivering quality reliable service. We are experienced in repairing and maintaining all aspects of modern and classic vehicles. Call us at 860-852-3275 to discuss your vehicle service needs.