The romance of buying and restoring a classic car is something we love to think about and might want to try.
Even if you rebuild every part of a car that comes from a generation that’s long gone, you will have some challenges that you face, but you’ll also have a car that gives you the pride of being one you’ve brought back to life. It’s possible you will buy a run-down, beat-up shell of a car that needs everything, which you want to bring back to being a gem on the road. If that’s the case, you should know some of the pros and cons of driving a car that’s considered a classic model.
Pro: You’ll Be Part of a Community
Many cities have car clubs, car meets, and events where your classic car can be displayed, and you can talk to others about what you’ve added and done to your vehicle. You’ll love talking shop with other owners and see the amazing array of customized classics that arrive at one of these meet-ups. This social aspect is one of the most enjoyable parts of owning a car that you might only bring out on weekends.
Con: You’ll Spend More Time on Maintenance
Depending on the car you choose, you’ll need to understand exactly what that vehicle needs and how to provide it. Some older cars require gasoline with lead in it, some require you to use gas that doesn’t have ethanol, especially if you have carburetors in your engine. You’ll need to change the oil more often, and you can’t leave your car sitting for long periods of time. This will cause your car to break down and some parts to need replacement sooner. Owning a car that’s incredibly old means you’ll need to spend a lot of time with it.
Pro: These Cars are Easy to Work On
Unless you become a certified mechanic, modern vehicles are difficult to work on and have computerized parts that you might not be able to replace yourself. Thankfully, a classic car can give you something you’ll enjoy doing because they are relatively easy to work on. These cars don’t have a lot of complicated parts and systems that you have to deal with. The function of a car without computers in it is pretty straightforward and simple, making it a vehicle you’ll be happy to work on when needed.
Con: Not Good for the Environment
It would be difficult to convince your family and friends that you care about the environment if you own a car from an era where emissions weren’t measured, and exhaust fumes were rampant. These cars also take more gas during a drive, with average fuel mileage coming in the 10-15 mpg range. You might find that your older car leaks in places you never expected, even if you’ve replaced all the seals and gaskets on this car. These cars aren’t good for the environment, but they sure do look cool.
Pro: Higher Value
It shouldn’t come as any surprise that a classic car is worth a lot more than one that’s built today. Many cars from the past have been put out to pasture, crushed, or crashed. When a person spends the time to restore, care for, and maintain a vehicle for many years, they are rewarded with a much higher value for their time and energy. If you think of your older model car as an investment, you could get a lot more out of a classic vehicle than you spent on it when it was new, even if you drive it often.
Con: Not As Safe As Modern Cars
You could reach back far enough into the past that the car you choose to drive does not have seatbelts installed. Even if you have seatbelts, you might only have a lap belt and not a three-point harness system. Most of the safety features we expect to find in our vehicles didn’t start being standard on all models until the late 1960s and early 1970s. Even then, some items weren’t required until much later. You might want to consider adding at least the harness-type seatbelts in your older car.
Pro: These Cars are Easy to Register
You won’t want to register your classic car the same way you do with your modern SUV. Instead, register it with antique plates to give you the benefits you need. With these plates, you don’t have as many restrictions and will have relaxed rules regarding the vehicle that you drive. Normally, when you do this, you only have to pay a fee one time instead of every year. The rules differ for each state, but most states make it much easier to register cars that are 25-30 years old than one that’s nearly new.
Con: Reliability is a Factor
In today’s world, we consider an infotainment system that isn’t working right to be a reliability factor. The same can’t be said of older model vehicles. We’ve seen the movies, enjoyed the stories from parents and grandparents, and understand that older cars would sometimes just stop working. This can be extremely frustrating for you because you need to have a plan to get your vehicle home if it does stop working. You might find that your older car overheats, has battery issues, or just stops working with no explanation at all.
Pro: Lots of Parts Available
Where can you find the parts you need when fixing your classic car? Head to your local junkyard and take the parts out of a model that’s been sitting there for a while. Many cities have a place that sells parts from junked cars, making it easy for you to find the parts you need. In fact, before you begin to restore a classic car, you might want to check with your local junkyard to see how many models of your car are available for you from which to pull parts. This is certainly a great way to save money and enjoy learning more during the restoration process.