Best project cars for restoration – Get the best bang for your buck

If you’re a petrolhead you’ve almost certainly thought about doing a restoration project. When you see the price of vintage cars it’s very tempting to pick up a shell to bring back to its former glory. Restoration isn’t easy, and it can be a daunting prospect when you’re out looking for cars to restore to their former glory. This blog is designed to give you a heads up on what cars are suitable for renovating with relative ease.

Austin Mini

The most iconic British car of all time was everything that summed up 1960s Britain, new fresh, idealistic and ready to take on the world. It created the supermini class (Sorry VW) and is much-loved. The second-hand market for a great condition one is stupid too. Launching in 1959, it stayed in production until 2000 and over 5 and a half million of them were made. This means that there are plenty of old version in various states of disrepair. You can pick up parts fairly easily in the UK but beware no all restorations will be easy.


VW Beetle

The roots of the Beetle are unique in the car world. In the 1930s, Adolf Hitler wanted to create a people’s car and tasked Ferdinand Porsche with designing it. The result was the VW Beetle. Thankfully the Third Reich ended, but its design for the People’s Car lived on, with over 21 million being made by the time the last one rolled off the production line in 2003. For a restoration project it’s a good bet, but make sure to check out for models without modifications, chassis rot and rust.


Land Rover SIII

The Series Land Rover was originally designed as a British version to the American Jeep that had been so successful during WW2. It was designed as a cross between a car and a tractor and can still be seen at farms around the country. The SIII version was the last produced before it morphed into the Land Rover Defender. 440,000 of them were made between 1971 and 1985. Land Rover claims 90% of the cars produced are still in operation, but if you want to restore one you’ll find this is the type to go for. As simple as building a Meccano set, as restorations go this is an easy way to get into it. The parts are plentiful and there are loads of other enthusiasts, so there is a support network that is ideal for the first-time restorer.


Citroen 2CV

The Citroen 2CV was first launched in 1948 as an “umbrella with wheels” for French farmers. Its brief was to be able to carry four people and farm goods to market at 30mph and it had to be able to transport eggs safely across a ploughed field. I’m pretty sure there has never been another car in history with such a quirky design brief. It was stupidly stripped down on launch including only one tail light, a dipstick to check fuel levels and the speedometer was attached to the windscreen pillar. The engine had 9 HP and could top out at 40mph, but when you did that the window wiper would slow down. Given the launch the car had, it’s amazing that it stayed in production until 1990. As a restoration project, they are dirt cheap to work on and can fetch good prices. Check for ruined chassis, but if you fancy restoring one with cosmetic damage you can make a tidy profit and have a load of fun. A great car for the first time restorer.


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