What’s the Difference Between Full and Partial Auto Restoration

Some people imagine their dream car as a new Mercedes-Benz convertible, while others see their dream car as a fully restored and customized muscle car, with a rumbling V8. There are many aspects included in American love of cars and one of these is restoring older cars to their former glory.

Restoring vintage cars is a labor of love but it can also be a profitable exercise if done correctly.  In this article, you will find all the information you need to know about restoring cars and tips on how to make a tidy profit when doing so.

What is Auto Restoration?


Whether you’re a vintage car enthusiast or planning to restore a car you’re planning to sell for profit, restoration is always going to be the best option to make your car look great.

The car body is the exterior part of the car, and consequently, it is the part of a car that most often gets damaged. When your car body is damaged, it is always a good idea to get your car restored by qualified auto restoration experts.

So what exactly is auto restoration, and is it any different than auto repair? One is a partial process, and the other is a complete process. Auto repair will mainly involve repairing the car, so it is in working order and can run again; it can also include repair of superficial or cosmetic damage. Auto restoration, on the other hand, is a much more complete process where the car is restored to its original showroom floor condition.

Why Do People Restore Their Car?


There are two primary reasons people restore cars, and the first is to make money. As Jerry Maguire would say, “show me the money,” and old American cars can fetch a healthy resale price when fully restored.

Keep in mind, though, that restoring classic cars can be costly. You definitely wouldn’t want to be caught off guard by the expenses while in the middle of the restoration process. So, we highly recommend that you do some research or, better yet, ask a trustworthy professional restorer first before jumping into the project head-on. But don’t worry too much about the restoration costs, as the investment will surely pay off once you sell. You just have to make sure that you have enough funds to complete the project in time because, as you know, time means money.

Another reason why people restore old cars is, well, simply put, it brings them joy! There is an entire ethos surrounding old American cars, and they are an iconic symbol of American culture. They represent a time when American culture was synonymous with manufacturing, conspicuous consumption, and excess. They represent a time when life was more straightforward, and America was the land of democracy, freedom, and power.

People restore old American cars because of what they represent and because they genuinely love cars of that era. Ask any car enthusiast, and they will tell you there’s nothing like a rumbling V8. It seems like having a hobby is part of American culture, and for those who are ardent hobbyists, nothing surpasses the vintage American muscle car.

Indeed, restoring a vintage American car combines fond memories, an appreciation of American culture, and a chance to turn a tidy profit. Lastly, it satisfies the need to sink your teeth into a hobby and the need for speed.

Partial vs. Full Car Restoration: A Quick Rundown


A partial restoration aims to restore a car to a condition where you can safely drive it, and a complete restoration aims to restore a car to an immaculate condition where it can be displayed in car shows.

Full restorations can also include modifications, where specific parts are added to modify the car’s appearance. Modification restorations are also referred to as customized jobs.

What is Involved in a Partial Car Restoration?

A partial restoration will typically involve:

  • Bodywork and paint restoration. Regular bodywork will involve smoothing any dents and repairing damaged panels and other parts of the car’s body. Again, this is appearance orientated, so it will often involve exterior touch-up paint jobs.
  • In older cars or cars that have carried numerous passengers, the interior can become worn and torn, and when this happens, it’s time for interior restoration. This process is also called an interior refresh.
  • Partial restoration services restore the electrical, fuel delivery, and cooling systems, while also upgrading the mechanical system.

What is Involved in a Full Car Restoration Process?

Complete or full car restoration will typically involve:

  • Mechanical or chemical paint removal and new spray painting.
  • Even when treated with rust resistance chemicals, metal can still be prone to rust. Complete restoration will involve completely repairing all rusted surfaces.
  • A complete restoration job usually involves restoring all the car’s rims, including bumpers, wheel wells, and window and door deals.
  • A critical part of any car is the engine, and in complete restoration, the engine will either be rebuilt, repaired, or in some cases, modified.
  • A complete restoration will also include repairing and upgrading your brake and steering systems.
  • A complete restoration is all about restoring the car’s appearance, which will inevitably include completely restoring the car’s interior.

Key Takeaway


There are several reasons to restore a vintage car. Firstly, a restored vintage American car can earn you significant amounts of money when you decide to sell. Yes, many car enthusiasts are willing to pay good money for a beautifully restored vintage car. Secondly, restoring a car is a labor of love because vintage American cars are part of American culture and people fondly remember the period in American history these cars represent.

You can attempt a partial restoration yourself but we suggest you do a bit of research first. Also, make sure you know exactly how much you will need to shell out to get the project done without any delay. But if you want a professional complete restoration you should entrust your car to an auto restoration specialist who has the experience and equipment to give your car restoration project the best possible outcome.