So you want to restore an older car. Lets first start with a few rules.
Here in Australia, the two door Falcons from Ford, the two door Monaro from Holden and the Charger from Chrysler. Add to this list the up-market models offered by the big three auto makers of these decades and you will have plenty to choose from. All these cars were made in large numbers and shared many components from model to model. After market reproduction parts and "New Old stock" parts are readily available from specialised suppliers and from swap meets and even trash and treasure markets.
If you are a bit more adventurous and your budget is a little bigger, you may like to tackle an MG or Triumph, a Datsun or Toyota sports car or one of the great Italian sports cars from Fiat or Alfa Romeo. Parts for MG and Triumph are readily available and although usually made in England or the USA, are sold locally by specialised suppliers. Do not hesitate to use the Web to search for parts, I have found many parts for my rare Alfa Romeo vehicles from the web and although the Australian Dollar is not doing too well against other currencies, these parts have not been expensive. Have a look at my Alfa Romeo 2600 project.
Many American muscle cars of the sixties are finding there way DownUnder and as there is a vast stock of parts for these in the USA. They should make easy restoration projects. As with any imported vehicle, you will have to rely on importers or source your parts yourself. Importing parts is quite easy but remember packaging and transporting large body panels can be expensive.
And now for the million dollar question, how much will it cost. This is also the impossible question, my best estimates for all my projects have been at least 100% too low. If you choose a common locally produced car that is in not too bad a shape, and do most of the work yourself, you will spend somewhere between perhaps A$5,000 and A$10,000, depending how far you go with making it perfect, and as near original as you can.
Well, I have not talked you out of it yet. Lets get started. Firstly even if you cannot do the body work yourself you can save a lot of money doing all the disassembly and cleaning of the vehicle before it goes to the body shop.
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Written by Phil. Storr, last updated 5th March 2002