How to lower the cost of a Restoration Project is a concern
of all of us unless you have deep pockets like Jay Leno. In this article I will
attempt to address some things that you may are may not have thought of, and
will try to refrain from the obvious ones like “lowering your expectations”. You
shouldn’t have to settle for less, but rather find a way to get there for less.
Everyone has a different idea of the perfect car. Some want
a “Trailer Queen” show car, others want a car they can “tinker on” every
weekend, and still others are just looking for a way to get to work with out
blending in with all the other Cracker Jack boxes on the freeway.
So to get to my point…as I have written in some of my
other articles, you need a clear idea of where you are going. This sounds
unnecessary to some and simple to others, but it is vital to keeping costs down.
To the ones that think it is simple, you are probably the ones who change their
minds midstream and end up redoing a lot of what was once complete. This takes
time, sometimes parts, but regardless adds to the final bill. For the ones that
think it’s unnecessary, you are the ones that don’t yet have a plan. This is bad
because it is nearly impossible to budget and will most likely lead to an
unfinished project. Of course it is sooo much easier to write this on paper than
to actually apply to real life, but when adhered to will save you money. Here's
how it works. If you plan the project out, get an idea of what you want, it’s
much easier to see the things that are unnecessary to obtain the look you are
after. By avoiding them before work starts it saves money. Also having the plan
with you as you work on the car will help you from adding little odds and ends
as you go, this is the largest cause of budget overruns. So, rule #1- Clear Project Plan.
Next rule, stay away from “pop fads”. Unless this is part
of your project plan, popular fads steal money from more needed areas, like a
brake job. “What’s a Pop Fad?” It’s a phrase I just thought of while writing
this article and refers to the little things that the magazine ads make you
think you cannot live without, name brand components. Think about it, will having
a certain name in white letter on your tires have that big of an impact on your
car as a whole? Does brand X exhaust really make your car better than the
generic brand? Now I’m not advocating using cheap parts, actually that is my
next rule. What I’m saying is shop around and decide for yourself if following
the crowd is what you wan to do? After all, isn’t the whole point to have
something that stands out in the crowd? Hmm?
Cheap parts that cost ½ as much will cost you more in the
long run. This is not to say buy the most expensive part money can buy, but
rather buy quality. I rank parts into 3 categories, 1) over priced “Pop Fad”
(see above), 2) Made in China, and 3) Black and White brand. Part #1 belongs to
the company that spends too much on advertising and makes you think that you’re
not “cool” unless your car sports their brand. The 2nd part is built
to last just long enough to get you to the most desolate place in the planet and
fall apart. For the record all china made parts are not bad. Finally #3 is the brand
that loves cars as much as we do and spend their money on R&D not advertising
and fancy packaging. I break it down this way, because price does not equate
quality. I’ve seen “pop fad” parts that are “cheap”. Cheap parts will not last.
And when they fail, you may end up with a tow bill, a new part to replace
the cheap one, and risk damaging other parts of your car during the process. No good
can come from “cheap parts”.
I could ramble on longer but I think that most concepts
will fall under these three rules. So weather you do the work yourself are hire
it out. Abiding by these rules and you may save $100’s if not $1000’s, and that
will ultimately help you enjoy your pride and joy that much more.