What is a full restoration?
Over the years the sentence, "this is a fully restored car", has come to mean many different things to many different people and I have seen so many disappointed people when they discover their "restored" car is not exactly what they were expecting. To say a car has a full or frame off restoration then it truly has to be just that. The body must be removed from the frame (where possible - uni-body cars incorporate the frame into the body) every single nut, bolt, and washer must be removed, checked, cleaned, refurbished or replaced. Each mechanical component needs to be taken apart and checked and rebuilt or replaced as needed. The same holds true with each electrical component including the wiring harness. The interior and top (if it is a soft top) is redone and not just recovered but taken apart, cleaned, repaired and restored to original. Tires are replaced, wheels refurbished or replaced. The same is true with glass, and latches and all chrome and trim. As you can see you have completely rebuilt this car and in most cases it will be better than it was when it left the factory. This is a fully restored, frame off vehicle and it is the only true description of a frame off restoration. Anything else is a partial. 95% of all restorations are partial. Everything was done except; the brake system, or the wiring, or the rebuilding of the seats (been recovered just not rebuilt) or some other component. Sometimes what is not redone is quite minor, perhaps just the gauges and other times it is a bit more. Unfortunately for you that could mean your very costly, fully restored vehicle may cost a good bit more to achieve the vision you had. So what does this mean for you? If you are buying a "restored" vehicle it is usually cheaper in the long run to let a professional check it out for you. If you are embarking on your own restoration project first sit down with your restoration shop and figure out what it is you want to accomplish. Concours Show, Show/Driver, Daily Driver, Occasional Driver? Then ask for some cost projections, yes every single restoration is unique unto itself but unless you have a one off vehicle most likely they have done one very close to yours and should be able to give you a cost range. The parameters of how much the job can change before a major sit down is needed needs to be discussed up front too. This is for both your benefit and the shop's. Understanding and communication is key to enjoying this project and your finished vehicle later. One other thing, if you enter this with the expectations of doing this project and then making money on a quick sale; stop. Do not Pass Go. If it was that easy all of the restoration shops would have bought the cars up, done them and sold them to you as finished cars!