Junkyard Gems 6 Old Cars That Are Worth Restoring

Posted by: Lydia on 13/06/2017

Category: General


There is something so special about vintage cars. Sure, we live in a world where modern cars come fully equipped with computers, digital interfaces, and even electric motors - but there is still something magical about an old vintage ride. Even better is when you rescue one from the junkyard and make the old new again.


Most people think that restoring a vintage car is a nice idea, but few take it further than that. It’s not easy; it definitely involves rolling up your sleeves and using some old fashioned elbow grease, but it can be done. But which cars are actually worth putting the time and effort into? Here’s a look at 6 old cars that are worth restoring, and why taking on your own car restoration project can be so fantastic.


1. Ford Mustang


An old Ford Mustang is always a great starting point for a car restoration. If you tell someone you’re restoring a car, they might worry about how much work it’s going to take. Tell someone you’re restoring a Mustang? People will be asking if they can help out. That’s how iconic and beloved this car is in the vintage car-lovers community.


The Mustang also has a lot going for it in terms of a  ‘starter car’ for restoration. Parts for it are relatively affordable, there is a huge community of Mustang owners and restorers ready to assist with any questions you may have, and there’s a strong second-hand sales market. This means if you’re just dipping your toes into the restoration world for the first time, a Mustang is a great place to start.

2. Aston Martin V8


The tremendous thing about Aston Martin is that within the space of a couple of decades, the luxury British sports car manufacturer’s vehicles have grown exponentially in value. While James Bond’s DB Mark III will always be an expensive ride, many of the lesser-known cars in the AM fleet are wonderful candidates for restoration.

While careful consideration should be given to the availability of parts (unlike other cars on this list, there are few English vehicles and aftermarket parts in Australia), this is a restoration project that is sure to be a unique one for Australian roads. Just be sure you’ve got the time (and money) to devote to online research and purchasing (shipping can be a huge expense), alongside time in the garage.


3. Datsun 240Z


Long a staple of high school and university campuses in years gone by, today, many Datsuns are highly prized on the vintage market for their sentimental value. The trouble is, many people who did own one as their first car inherited it second or third-hand, and then ran them into the ground.

That’s why restoring one of these beauties is such a wonderful task. Detractors have oftentimes referred to this vehicle as a ‘poor man’s Porsche’ - but Datsun lovers know those cynics are missing the point. Beautifully crafted in Japan, and an iconic example of its era in motoring, the in-demand Z is always sure to win many admirers anywhere you drive it.


4. Saab 900


Understanding why so many motorists love Saab can be difficult to explain to those who aren't car gurus. Saab doesn't have the racing heritage of Italy’s Ferrari, or the glamour of Germany’s Mercedes - but that is actually what makes their cars so appealing.


The Swedish auto maker created in Saab a car that is unique and just oozes the very best of European style. While many are still found on Australian roads, few are in perfect near-new condition. This is a great restoration project for those who are just starting out a bit tentatively, and want a car that will find a good market for resale if they find the project stalls midway through.


5. Volkswagen VW


The Buggy. You know them, you love them - and if you had three friends in high school and a cheeky sense of humour? - you likely lifted them up and moved them down the block to peeve another friend.


The great thing about restoring an old Volkswagen is its connection to a particular time and culture, plus its quality build.


This was a big selling point of the Volkswagen throughout the 1960s. Whether you are old enough to have been a driver in the 1960s, or born after the decade ended, the Volkswagen VW embodies the spirit of travel, and the love of the outdoors that the 60s embodied in pop culture.


6. Any Old Australian-Built Ford or Holden


Like it or loathe it, it's a reality: Ford and Holden will no longer be making cars in Australia. That’s why keeping the ones we have around - built locally and loved around the nation - on our roads is important.


Sure, your old beat up Fairlane or Commodore than you bought for a driving trip might not be worthy of restoration, but amidst Australia’s car heritage reside a number of classics that are all great candidates for restoration.


So, find a old V8 Holden or Ford that is over 30 years old, get a couple of rock ‘n’ roll tapes to play in your car's cassette player (sorry, no smartphone hookup), and begin restoring an Australian classic that you’ll love from the moment you start the engine.


Yes, There is a Market for Resale


Although the value of the classic car market increased by just 17% in 2015, and some see it as on the downswing, it’s still a good time to be restoring a car for sale. While anyone who has ever restored a vintage car will tell you it’s primarily a task done for love and not for money, it’s worth keeping that concept in mind on those days when you face big challenges in your restoration work.


You may want to keep the car for yourself, but if you find at the end of the process that you want to move on to another car? Odds are excellent you’ll find a buyer for your restored ride.


Restoring your own car will always involve a fair bit of time and money, but the end result is always worthwhile. When done right, a restored vintage ride promises to be a truly rare and unique one. Even better, it will come with pride and a sense of accomplishment in rescuing an old set of wheels and giving it a new lease on life.


Car restoration is certainly an addictive hobby. So, start your first restoration, and then see where the road takes you.



What other cars do you know of that are great candidates for restoration? Let us know in the comments below:


Image: Pixabay