Should you be considering a vehicle to restore, be warned that there are hidden costs – emotional and financial. “If you are buying a classic car, buy someone else’s restoration,” urges Bagley. “While the journey of restoration is very rewarding, it is also incredibly expensive and time-consuming… and can go incredibly wrong.” But what if you are hell bent on restoration? “Be prepared to spend your maximum budget,” says Bagley. “Spending less on a purchase can be a false economy.”
Highs and lows
Restoration requires time, as well as funds. “I bought my Dino 206 GT in Italy,” says Bagley, “and I’ve been saving up for the restoration money – which is significant. I started the restoration process and it was supposed to be ready this summer. Unfortunately, it won’t be. There have been no hitches, only the same pain and highs and lows that everyone goes through.”
Restoration is like doing a puzzle, says Bagley of a rigorous process that typically takes between two and five years. The reward? “Pride in ownership, which is absolutely immense. You’ve allowed the car to live again.”
“The reward? Pride in ownership, which is absolutely immense. You’ve allowed the car to live again”
Last year’s winner of the Chubb Concours d’Elégance competition for the rarest and most significant classic cars and motorcycles is a case in point. “When Bruce Lavachek, the American owner of a Ferrari 500 Testa Rossa 1956, was awarded Best of Show, he found it hard to get a word out; he choked,” recalls Bagley. The restoration work had been carried out by UK Ferrari specialist David Cottingham of DK Engineering. “Lavachek flew over from California to be reunited with his car, which he had not seen for years,” says Bagley. “Salon Privé was only its second event after being retired from racing in 1960. It was a very special moment.
“Restoring, like collecting, is very romantic,” he adds. “It is about putting your dreams on the line.”