Gunners Garage

Can A Repainted Car Be Unrestored?

“Unrestored” old cars, trucks and motorcycles seem to be the hottest thing in the vintage vehicle hobby today. I think that’s funny, since the spell checker on my computer doesn’t even recognize the word “unrestored” (does yours?).

Hobbyists use the word “unrestored” quite a bit. But everyone seems to have a different idea of what it means. I myself kind of chuckle when someone describes a completely repainted car as being “unrestored.”

To me, new paint is a BIG part of restoration work. A good paint job costs thousands of dollars. And if you think of body work, bright trim, upholstery and paint as the main phases of a restoration, then paint is 25 percent of the total. That’s a significant chunk.

I can see how a car with touch up paint is unrestored. Many cars get in a fender bender and need some quality body and paint work. So, a car can be fixed and still unrestored. But to me, when a car is completely repainted, it has been at least one-quarter “restored” and that’s a lot of work.  

2 thoughts on “Can A Repainted Car Be Unrestored?

  1. Dick Brown

    John, I agree with your interpretion of unrestored. I have a 1974 MGB Roadster that I purchased in October of 93′ with 15,938 miles on the clock and verified by the State of Oklahoma Dept of Motor Vehicle records. It also came with a State Dept of Public Safety Inspection sticker affixed to the windshield, indicating the mileage as 15441 in July of the previous year. Granted,this evidence could be false but who would go through all that trouble for a MGB?

    I replaced the interior door panels and carpets which were wasted by the the heat and repainted the righthand door and quarter panels that were dinged daily by the everyday car in the garage. This also explains the low mileage. It was in storage for a long time. This comes under the heading of Maintenance, not restoration.


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