Restore Car Frame Off or Frame On?

Should you Restore Car Frame Off or Frame On?

A Frame Off restoration is a full "Factory New" restoration while a Frame On restoration is one that leaves the body on the car and selectively restores the components needed to bring the car into good working conditions. There are benefits and drawbacks to each option.
A Frame Off restoration takes the longest amount of time to do and costs the most. On the other hand, while a Frame On project allows you to take some shortcuts that will save you time and money, you could also end up overlooking areas of the car that need to be repaired and are only discovered after the car has been restored.
However, despite this, unless you want a Show Car or want to spend the time doing a complete overhaul, a Frame On restoration will most probably serve you best.

Purity vs Safety

An issue that we have already mentioned a few times is the upgrading of the safety features of a classic car. Driving conditions were much different back when the car was first put on the market and many of the mechanical systems those cars came with cannot adequately cope with today's current driving conditions. However, updating the safety systems in your classic car will detract from its purity.
It may seem like something of a conundrum, but in actuality, it is very simple. If you plan on taking the car out on the road, especially a busy city street, then upgrading the car's brakes and adding seat belts will not only keep you safe, but also helps keep others safe.
While brakes are easy to manage, seat belts might be more of a challenge. Up until the sixties, very few cars came equipped with seat belts as standard. Therefore, if your car did not come with seatbelts, you'll need to install them. If you car did come with seatbelts, then it goes without saying that if they're in disrepair you'll need to replace them with an authentic factory original.

Collector Car Hybrids

Many hobbyists and hobby shops are taking a modern approach to car restoration and creating collector car hybrids. These cars receive all current day mechanical technology such as new brakes, drive train and engine, but still retain the original body trim and interior.
An example of this is the Concept 1957 Corvette created by a small company in Michigan called Corvette Concepts. The car comes with a modern day chassis but still has its original body and interior. Building these types of cars uses the same kinds of process as restoring a true collector car-the only difference is that a hybrid car is fully drivable.

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