Classic Car Restoration Budgetting Cash Visa Credit Card
Jim Smart
December 28, 2015

This is the fifth installment of our Restoration Mistakes series, dealing with common mistakes made when building or restoring a classic Mustang and how to avoid them. As we said at the beginning of this series, “We’ve been horsing around with classic Mustangs for more than four decades and have come to the following conclusion: we’ve never stopped learning from our mistakes nor have we stopped making them. When you’re restoring a classic Mustang or building a hot restomod it is important to see the pitfalls before you find them, not after stumbling and falling into them. Silly stupid mistakes we make time and time again. Whatever your reason for screwing up, we’re here to remind you we have been there ourselves and know how not to make the same mistakes again.” Our newest tech tip deals with:

Budget Disasters

“Man, I didn’t know this was going to cost this much…” Know what you’re getting into before beginning a Mustang restoration project. Mustang restoration isn’t cheap and never has been. Oh sure, you can build a Mustang on the cheap, but you’re going to be disappointed in the outcome. A budget paint job rarely yields pleasing results. A low-buck engine overhaul isn’t going to offer you longevity. Your first time seat re-upholstery didn’t turn out so hot. Few things are more disheartening than a roughshod restoration because you didn’t have the cash flow to do it right. This is why you should plan a complete Mustang build going in. Do your homework and create a realistic budget before getting started.

And never kid yourself—restoration projects always wind up costing more than you had budgeted. There are all kinds of surprises in store for the first time restorer. Floor pan rust you didn’t know about. A tired engine block bored .060-inch oversize. A cracked transmission case or perhaps a rear end that needs both axles replaced. Scratched up glass beyond repair. Broken seat frames. A chopped-up main wiring loom. Damaged body panels full of filler the must be replaced. The list goes on and it can get expensive.

Have a Plan B in case you wind up fired, laid off, faced with a pay cut, buy more house than you can afford, blow your money on a cruise, or wind up in a divorce (typically over a Mustang project). Be willing to concede to defeat and come to terms with sidelined dreams when life hands you lemons. It happens.

Hey brother, can you spare a dime?