What is Automotive Restoration?

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  • Written By: Sara Schmidt
  • Edited By: Andrew Jones
  • Last Modified Date: 18 November 2019
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Automotive restoration is a process of car repair. It typically involves restoring an older model of vehicle, often referred to as a classic or antique car, as close to its original condition as possible. This activity is often done by hobbyists, although it is also offered by some repair shops as a commercial service.

Many people who acquire an older vehicle, whether through a sale, inheritance, or other means, enjoy the process of restoration. It is a popular hobby for mechanics and other tinkerers. Some people look at such cars as status symbols, as they can be quite expensive to fully restore. In such cases, the vehicles may be restored by the owner or by an automotive restoration company she or he chooses to employ.

Both the interior and exterior parts of a car are treated during an automotive restoration. This may include engine repair as well as body work, depending upon the level of degradation of the vehicle. Any damage to the vehicle, such as rust or holes, is also treated during the restoration process.


Depending upon the age, make, and model of the vehicle, it can be difficult to acquire the proper parts needed to restore it to its original state. While many parts can be purchased at junk yards or specialty shops, either locally or online, some may need to be substituted with more modern pieces. If the car is not restored to its full original state, however, many aficionados do not consider the end product to be a complete restoration. Though many people may wish to employ a striking modern color on the vehicle, it may not be considered a full automotive restoration if the colors used were not available during the car's original time period.

The end product of an automotive restoration is typically referred to as a classic car. A classic car may also be referred to as a muscle car or hot rod as well, depending upon its make and model. People who have completed car restorations often enter their automobiles into antique car shows. This can result in prizes, such as cash money, though most people enter the shows to simply show the results of their labor to other aficionados of classic vehicles.

In more modern models, cosmetic restoration is an option that can be used to create a custom car. Many people prefer to alter the appearance and performance of their vehicles through this process. Adding chrome, making wheeling adjustments, and even crating alterations to ancillary parts are all common ways of designing a custom car.



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