Heading to the local junkyard to find a perfect dilapidated, rusty car to makeover is probably not the best way to get a deal on a classic. There is value in restoring a lifeless car and making it road worthy again, but the effort required to fix it up that has been condemned to die in the junkyard often exceeds any real return on investment you may envision having. There are a lot of ways to get involved in restoration through other means than digging through a heap of broken down, rusty cars at the local junkyard, but there may be adventure to be had in going this route. Even if you never make that dream restoration of a junkyard Camaro, you will probably still find something interesting and maybe rare in the junkyard. Here are a few ideas to make the trip easier.
Talk to People
This is always a good suggestion when doing anything that involves labor intensive searching and hours poring through heaps of scrap metal. When it comes to searching for that classic waiting to be restored, talk to people who know. There are a lot of people who restore cars and who look for finds in the junkyard. Talking to people and making contacts is the best way to find out where there is a junkyard that may be holding a gem. Get involved in the community and get an understanding for the industry. Getting in touch with people who know and love cars can be the easiest way to come across what you’re looking for.
Know What You Want
This may seem obvious, but too often people search through junkyards without having a clear idea of what they want to find. If this is the case, you will most likely find a little of something or a lot of nothing, but rarely do you walk away with your dream find. Before you go aimlessly poring through grime and filth, think about what car you really want. Once you know, do some research and find out what areas might have what you’re searching for. This goes right alongside talking to people and making some contacts in the restoration community. Often someone can turn you onto a find or put you in contact with another source to get the car you want so you don’t even have to head to the junkyard.
Go Out of Your Way
If you are really dedicated to finding a particular model, you will have to be prepared to go out of your way to track it down. This may mean doing some research and talking to people to find out where the low traffic junkyards are and traveling long distances to get to them. Look for less frequented junkyards or places off the beaten path. If the car you’re looking for is especially rare, this may mean months of searching and driving long distances from yard to yard. This is when it is helpful to have some contacts and a good relationship with the local restoration community. If you are persistent, however, you can typically find what you’re after somewhere. Junkyards with whole collections of classics are out there if you are dedicated enough to find them.
Have a Plan
Once you locate your car, you will need to have a plan of what to do with it. After searching and searching it is easy to lose sight of the ultimate goal of restoring the vehicle. If you can quickly assess the find and determine if it is a worthy fix and have a vision to restore it, the investment in time and energy will have been worthwhile. The most important thing is to preserve your restoration plans and be prepared if you come across the perfect find.