If you own a classic car, chances are it has at least partly been restored or you are planning on restoring it. It can get a little stressful deciding which avenue to take when it comes to restoring a classic car. There are many things people do themselves while others prefer to have a professional do it. One of the big choices people are deciding over is if they should do a rotisserie restoration on their classic car. The thought of a rotisserie restoration sounds great, but there’s usually one big hang-up people have with them.
How much does a rotisserie restoration cost? A rotisserie restoration by itself can cost between $5,000 – $12,000. That includes sand blasting, basic body work, paint, and labor. If you plan to have the shop also disassemble and reassemble everything with new parts, that will be an extra $20,000 – $40,000.
Some people think that a rotisserie restoration is a waste of time and money while others believe it is the best and most thorough way to make sure your classic car’s body is fully restored. Whichever idea you may have about the subject, there’s actually a lot more to a rotisserie restoration than meets the eye. If you want to know more about this process, then you’ve come to the right place.
What Is A Rotisserie Restoration?
Restoring a classic car is an awesome yet very frustrating process. I’ve restored several cars and know exactly how it feels. One of the most important things you can do to a car when you’re restoring it is to give it a good, quality paint job. That will be the first thing people notice when you’re driving down the road in your classic car. It’s also something a lot of judges consider at car shows.
If you’re considering doing a rotisserie restoration, it’s a good idea to know exactly what you’re getting into and how much it will cost. The last thing you want is a surprise bill that was way higher than you expected when all is said and done.
A rotisserie restoration is done after a car is completely disassembled, meaning all the seats, carpet, engine, wiring, tires, frame, etc is all taken off and it is just the body of that car. The body is then placed on an auto rotisserie; it looks pretty much what it sounds like (similar to what it looks like when meat is cooking on a rotisserie).
Rotisseries are adjustable and can be balanced and/or raised to the specific height needed to which ever car is place on them. Though a body is susceptible to bending once it’s off the frame, a rotisserie does a great job at reinforcing the body and makes sure it doesn’t bend in any way it shouldn’t.
The rotisserie can be rotated and turned to give easy access to any part of the body so work can be done easily and efficiently. This also ensures that every part will get sand blasted and painted when it comes time for it. Once the body is done, people will often put the frame of the car on the rotisserie to do a full restoration on it as well.
Many people want to do a rotisserie restoration because of how thorough of a job it can provide with body work. It will often offer a “like new” look, better than it would by just painting the body while it is stationary.
Many people are willing to do most of the restoration themselves, but still want the look of a rotisserie paint job. In that case, they strip the car down themselves, take the body in for the rotisserie painting, then finish the restoration back at home. This will be the cheapest option for a rotisserie restoration and will cost between $5,000 – $12,000, depending on how much rust there is and any customization you want.
If you plan to just take your classic car into the shop and have them disassemble everything for you, do the rotisserie restoration, then reassemble everything, then that’s where it can get expensive. That will range between $20,000 – $40,000 for a standard classic car. If there is any sort of special fix required on the car or if it’s foreign, you can count on spending thousands more.
Is It Worth Getting A Rotisserie Restoration?
There are many of those who are left wondering if a rotisserie restoration is even worth it. The answer to that question entirely depends on what you consider “worth it.” One thing is for sure though, a rotisserie restoration will certainly yield the best results on a classic car.
For me, to make something “worth it,” especially when it comes to classic car restoration, is if my investment will make the car worth more in the end. Will I spend more than it’s worth? Will this work I’m doing increase it’s value at all? How long do I plan on owning this car? These are all questions you need to ask yourself to know if getting a rotisserie restoration is worth it.
For some people, money is really no issue. There are some people out there who don’t really care how much it costs to do a rotisserie restoration because their end goal isn’t to have a back up asset in their garage in case the of a financial emergency. They prefer having everything exactly how they want it with the help of a professional.
I once heard a pretty compelling argument about rotisserie restorations. Someone brought up the fact that standard commuter cars today cost about $30,000 and anything a little fancier than than can cost up to $75,000. Society today already spends so much on cars, so spending this amount on a classic car really isn’t that much different than buying a new car.
Can You Do A Rotisserie Restoration Yourself?
I’ve often been asked if it’s possible to do a rotisserie restoration to your classic car yourself. It is actually quite possible to do it yourself. You can purchase an auto rotisserie either online or at a specialty auto store. The prices for an auto rotisserie range from $900 – $1,500 which is a decent price compared to how much you would have paid for someone else to do it.
A word of caution, if you decide to go this route, be sure to buy a high quality auto rotisserie. Do a lot of research about it and read reviews before buying a particular one. You don’t want to go cheap with a purchase like this one; the last thing you want is for your low quality auto rotisserie to bend and ruin your classic car body.
It’s also a plus if you know how to sand blast and/or know how to paint the body of a car. Doing such activities in a garage, however, isn’t ideal and is not recommended. If you don’t know how to sand blast, there’s always the option of just plain sanding which works almost just as good but takes significantly more time. If you plan to do your own rotisserie restoration, make sure you have all the resources and space you need to do it right.
Rotisserie Restoration Versus Body-Off Restoration
For those who want to do a thorough job on their classic car restoration, they’ll either go with a rotisserie restoration or a body-off restoration. There are both similarities and big differences between these two methods.
We’ve covered what a rotisserie restoration is, so let’s review what a body-off restoration is. A body-off restoration is when the body is removed from the frame and is painted and restored in a stationary spot.
The similarities between the two are they both usually require the removal of the body from the frame so the restorer can focus on the body and frame separately. They both offer a more thorough job at painting and restoring than it would be just doing a “from the ground up” restoration.
The biggest difference is that a rotisserie restoration is still more thorough than a body-off restoration simply because you get easy access to harder to reach places. What may entice some people to do a body-off restoration instead of a rotisserie restoration is the cost; body-off restorations are significantly less expensive.
Can you build your own auto rotisserie? It is possible to build your own auto rotisserie. You will need equipment such as a grinder and a welder as well as a large enough working space to build it and keep it stored. It can be significantly cheaper to build your own, but you have to know exactly what you’re doing to make it worth it.
Can I rent an auto rotisserie? There are several businesses that will let you rent an auto rotisserie. You can contact any industrial equipment rental store and see if they have one for rent. Be sure to know the cost per day and make the appropriate calculations to be sure it’s worth it to rent one as apposed to buying one.