Car restoration isn't just for the millionaire crowd

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By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver
By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver
By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver
By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver
By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Millions of dollars’ worth of cars are being auctioned off in the Valley this week. A lot of people stop, stare and wonder how they might take on a car project.

It’s not an inexpensive hobby, but it also doesn't have to cost tens of thousands of dollars. Maybe you won't get the '68 Camaro that's now worth $35,000, but there are lots of cars catching on with new collectors.

The shop at Browns Classic Autos is filled with an eclectic mix of old bodies receiving new parts.
 
“It’s got a great paint job. It's a 350 V-8 L82,” said Roger Falcione, standing in front of a white 1979 Corvette. “It’s a really nice car.”
 
Falcione is the president of ClassicCars.com. He wasn’t just showing us some more affordable classic cars, he also told us it is a hobby open to most people.
 
“I think there's a big misconception that you have to have a lot of money to play in the classic car field,” he said.
 
That 1979 Corvette in great condition is priced in the low $20,000 range. A nearby bright red VW Karmann Ghia goes for around $15,000.
 
“It’s a fun ride today,” Falcione said, “but you could do some really nice things to it. Replace the motor with a Porsche motor and make it more performance driven. So you can take it to whatever level you want.”

And if you don't mind getting your hands dirty, it doesn't have to break the bank.

I sat in a 1992 Mazda Miata that's been totally tricked out. It has a V8 engine and will sell in the low $20,000 range. But if a person just wanted to get the Mazda and customize it themselves, they go for around $5,000.

Falcione said you can do plenty of online research when you are looking for your dream car. When you think you've found it, check the body for rust and damage.

“Very often, to fix those kinds of problems, it’s much more expensive than actually doing some mechanical repairs," he said.

Falcione said the parts for old collector cars are often easy to find, and a restored car can even be an investment, gaining value.

But most of all, it should be fun.

“Join a club, go to the car shows, drive it,” he said. “Meet some of these great people that are involved in this wonderful hobby and I think you will really enjoy it.”

Falcione said the Japanese cars of the 70s and 80s, old Datsuns and Nissans, are becoming more popular with younger generations. We found a lot of them online for less than $10,000.