Deciding to restore an old luxury car is an exciting venture! You hunt and search for the perfect vehicle to give some much-needed attention and work. You devote long hours in the garage huddled over the beauty. You scour the internet for the needed piece. You read up on restoration and installation techniques until your eyes dry out.
A restoration project is not for the faint of heart! It takes effort, time, money, hard work, and possibly even sweat blood and tears. Okay, the tears probably only come at the end when you gaze upon the stunning work you resurrected but still. It is an intense commitment not to be taken on lightly.
There are a few things you should know about car restoration, and Maserati restoration, before signing those papers.
The State of the Car
Car restorations rest on a spectrum. There are some 1960s Maserati Ghiblis, for example, that just need a few tune ups. They contain all their original parts, are crash free, and only show a bit of wear and tear. Then there are other cars, like the 1959 Maserati 3500 GT, which often are shown in near destruction. When the car is so run down it barely resembles a car, or you cannot tell it is a Maserati by looking at it, it is probably better to move on. Unless you are a highly experienced car restoration enthusiast looking for a challenge, walk away. We often underestimate the challenges of the project and overestimate our abilities. The last thing you need is a project that drains more money and years of your life than you anticipate. Start off simple and work yourself up. Over-ambition has no place in car restoration!
Where the Car Spent Most of Its Life
Maserati cars are prone to rust in wet and humid climates. If the seller has kept the car on the driveway in their Florida suburb, you might want to find another option. The paint job on Maseratis are also vulnerable to hot climates, which can cause their paint to crack and flake off. It will be difficult to match the paint color to the exact paint hue, given the years of sunlight and other interferences slightly altering it. On the other hand, it will cost a lot to get a new paint job. Take into account the atmosphere the car has been exposed to. It may just save you a trip to a car restoration costing more than it is worth.
Many Maserati cars are missing their original parts. Maybe they broke. Maybe they were snatched by car prowlers. Maybe they were auctioned off. Whatever the reason, now it falls on the prospective buyer to supply them. If you know the car is needing new parts, do your research first on the availability. The proper Smiths instruments, for example, are pretty tough to find for many Maserati cars. Even if you are lucky enough to spot one, it will cost you an arm and a leg. Do your research to factor in the costs of replacement vehicles before agreeing to the set price.
The Instruction Manual
When Fiat acquired control of Maserati in 1993, the company produced half its cars to sell abroad. The other half were sold in Italy. These cars (not surprisingly) were sent off to their excited new owners with instruction and maintenance manuals...in Italian. Be sure to see whether the car you are considering restoring was one sold abroad to an English speaking country (complete with a manual written in English) or one sold locally (complete with a manual written in Italian). Google translating every sentence or phrase will be a time suck destined to stir up stress and frustration you just do not need.
Previous Restoration Efforts
Make sure you find out what work has already been done on the vehicle. Some cars have already undergone a full engine rebuild, muffler and supports replacement, a new electrical system, and other maintenance efforts. Knowing the last time crucial infrastructural elements have been tended to (or replaced altogether) can help factor in future upkeep and maintenance costs. It also helps ensure you understand which parts are original and which are replacements.
The Type of Car
Maserati is at its heart a racing company. With its humble beginnings as a spark plug seller, it grew to designing its first race car in 1926. Since then, the company designed and produced numerous race cars. It set records and won races, most notably the only Italian car brand to ever nab first place at the Indy 500. Many Maserati enthusiasts, naturally, want to restore a race car. But Maserati officially retired from racing in 1957 to switch its focus to designing sports cars. Over the years, Maserati released a number of luxury sports cars and grand tourers. Think about the style of car you want to restore. Are you hoping to stay true to the Maserati vision and restore a race car? Are you looking to add a sports car restoration to your library? Do you not care what type of car it is as long as you enjoy the aesthetic appeal? Consider the types of cars available to you will help narrow your search.
Consider how much you are willing to spend on upkeep. If you ever plan to show off your Maserati driving around the neighbor, you will likely encounter upkeep costs down the road. A Maserati runs somewhere in the middle for upkeep costs of luxury cars. It costs less than a Ferrari or Lamborghini, but more than a Mercedes, BMW, or Porsche. If you are hoping for a lower investment, you may be better off buying a cheaper to maintain luxury car for restoration.
A Maserati car offers a great experience to the hopeful car restoration enthusiast. These cars boast a sleek and enticing design, birthed out of the race car days. These cars boast a rich Italian heritage and racing history, making it a wonderful traditional car to restore with the right insight.
It’s important not to take your Maserati to just any auto shop. Maserati’s should only be handled by experts like those at Autosprint. If you have any questions regarding Maserati or cars in general, contact us today!