How to Make Money Restoring Classic Cars

Restoring a vintage car for profit can be rewarding, but it is hard work. Read this guide for restoring classic cars to know what you're getting into ahead of time.
Written by Bonnie Stinson
Reviewed by Carrie Adkins
Restoring vintage cars is a costly but rewarding hobby. You can usually make a nice profit, too, if you do it right.
Buy and restore your vintage car carefully and be prepared to have some of the work done by professionals. The investment will pay off when you sell. Here are tips on how to buy, restore, and sell
classic cars
, presented by
car insurance
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Restoring cars for profit

In order to restore a classic car for profit, there are a few steps you have to take.
You will need to buy a classic car to flip, actually restore it, and then sell the car at a higher price than you bought it for. Here are the steps.

How to buy a classic car

Step 1: Check online sites for vintage cars for sale. This is one of the more common places to find a vintage car. Some of the best sites include:
Step 2: Get a close look at the car before you buy. Avoid rust, if possible. Check the
vehicle's history
and see if the
Vehicle Identification Number (VIN)
matches up with the engine, transmission and rear axle serial numbers.
If they all match up, the engine, transmission and rear axle will be stamped with the last six numbers of the VIN. If they don’t match, it just means they aren’t original parts so the car won’t be as valuable.
Step 3: Determine the car’s fair market value. There are websites that can help with determining a car's
fair market value
. Some popular sites are:
Step 3: Figure out how much the restoration will cost. Source the parts you will need, find out how much they will cost, and get estimates for work that will need to be done by professionals to come up with a cost estimate.
Step 4: Buy your vintage car. Offer 5% to 10% below fair market value and be prepared to negotiate. Use your cost estimate when you negotiate the price. The seller may be more willing to come down in price, if he or she knows how much more you plan to invest.
Step 5: Get your vintage car insured. Contact your car insurance provider to see if you can add the car to your current policy and how much it will cost. Get a few estimates from other insurance providers, too. Make sure it is insured before you bring it home.

Restore your vintage car

Step 1: Take your new vintage car apart, if you are doing the work yourself. Don’t just go at it randomly, though. Take it apart carefully and set the parts aside in the same order in which they were taken off. That will make it easier to reassemble.
Step 2: Schedule a mechanic, an automotive upholstery specialist, and an auto-body repair professional. Get your car on their schedules right away unless you are able to do all the work yourself.
Step 3: Find the necessary parts to restore the vehicle. You will need all of the parts to get the vehicle in prime condition.
Budget it out and decide which parts don't need replacement, which parts could use work, and how much you're willing to pay for the parts to restore the car.
Step 4: Keep track of your expenses. Put the car title, bill of sale and receipts for all of your expenses in a file folder or large envelope.
Tip: Take pictures before, during and after the restoration, too, so you can show prospective buyers what was done.

Sell your classic car for a profit

Next, you'll need to actually
sell the vehicle
Step 1: Determine your restored car’s fair market value. You can use the same sites you used to determine its value before you bought it, or, better yet, get a professional appraisal.
Step 2: Contact your car insurance provider with the car’s restored value. Make sure the car is covered.
Step 2: List your classic car for sale online on the same sites you used to find it. People go to those sites to find fully restored vintage cars, too.
Step 3: Take the car to vintage/classic car shows. You can put a "For Sale" sign in the window and drive it around at the show or enter the car in the show.
That’s the best place to catch the eye of prospective buyers, even if your buyer isn’t at the show. People who are into classic cars get together and chat. Someone who sees your car there might know someone who has been looking for one.
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