We asked our readers which classic car they felt was the easiest to restore. Here are their top three choices with their reasons why.
The Citroën 2cv was designed to be sold to French farmers who were used to repairing their old horse carts themselves and were not keep to move over to a motor vehicle that would require an expensive mechanic to keep running. In fact one of its design requirements was to be able to carry trays of eggs over a ploughed field without breaking them. (BBC News) Something tested by The BBC’s Top Gear Program
Owners famously claim that you only need two spanners to fix anything on it, there are basically no electronic in this car, everything is mechanical and as simple as possible, this is the perfect car to learn all the restoration skills on and there is a flourishing aftermarket parts industry still selling original parts.
In France they even have a competition to completely disassemble and then rebuild a 2CV, (de démontage-remontage de 2 CV) the record currently stands at not long over two hours.
Series I, II and III Land Rovers were made from 1948 to 1985 and are as solid as they come. As one reader put it “You can get any part you can desire “off the shelf” You only need 5 spanners and a big hammer to do any job”. Whilst perhaps not quite that simple, certain parts for the series I are becoming harder to get. The main thing to look out for is rust on the steel sections such as the chassis, when buying one of these to restore, it can turn a pleasant easy job into a nightmare. If you are looking at restoring a Land Rover, you can find out exactly what to lookout for in this article by Glencoyne Engineering. You should also consider contacting a owners club who will often have members selling models for restoration.
A classic VW Beetle is an instantly recognisable car, easily restorable and thus highly desired as project cars. You can find plenty of them still in running condition, all of the bodywork is easily removable to allow for restoration, in fact the whole car is easy to take apart with basic tools.
There are no complicated electronics and they are relatively simple mechanically speaking which is always makes things easier. There is a thriving community of VW Beetle Owners, who attend events regularly, which makes it much easier to find advice and spare parts.
If you do look at getting a VW Beetle, I cannot recommend enough “How to Keep Your Volkswagen Alive: A Manual of Step-by-step Procedures for the Compleat Idiot” by John Muir and Tosh Gregg. (Complete with incorrectly spelt Title.) alongside of course the Haynes Manual which I would recommend for any car you were intending to work on.