Feb 25 2021

Classic Aston Martin Restoration Costs Explained

Classic Aston Martin Restoration Costs Explained

In a recent episode of Bangers and Cash, a popular UK fly-on-the-wall TV show based at a vehicle auction house in Yorkshire, a 1967 Aston Martin DB6 in need of a full restoration sold for £120k. The cost estimates for the restoration work made for interesting viewing.

During the programme, visitors to the showroom were asked to estimate the full restoration cost. Not surprisingly, their estimates were way off the mark.

It’s Going To Cost How Much?

Although most people recognised the cost of restoring the Aston Martin would be significant, none of them was close to the price quoted by a well-known Aston Martin restoration company. Their estimate was £300k to £400k plus VAT, which is £360,000. About right in our view.

This article will explore the subject of classic Aston Martin restoration costs and look at why, compared to some other cars, they can be so high.

The 50/50 Rule Of Restoration Work

A good rule of thumb with any restoration work is the costs will be made up of 50% labour and 50% for parts. For clarity, the parts component also includes specialist work such as reupholstering, chroming and bodywork. Let’s start with the bodywork.

Working on Aston Martin

Perfect Lines

In our view, unless it’s essential, it’s best not to take the body off the car even when carrying out a full restoration. There are obviously exceptions to this rule, for example, if there is a significant amount of rot in the chassis or if the car has been involved in an accident. In general, if the body can be left in situ, the end result will be a better-looking car.

From what we’ve seen over the years, if the body is removed from the chassis, even the very best craftsman will find it challenging to get the lines and shapes 100% right. It’s just a simple fact that when the body is removed from the chassis, something in the end result doesn’t look quite right, at least to experts like us.

Also, suppose the body must be removed from the chassis. In that case, this can have a significant impact on the cost of the restoration. There’s a lot of time and effort required to do this.

The car sold at the auction, the 1967 DB6, required significant work to the chassis because of the damp conditions in which it had been stored. This meant the body did have to be removed, which definitely impacted the restoration work’s cost estimate.

Finished Car Price Tags Are A Significant Factor

Another reason the restoration costs are high for a classic Aston Martin is the end product’s value. Over the last 10, 15 or perhaps 20 years, Aston Martin DB4’s, DB5’s and DB6’s have increased dramatically in value. In fact, pretty much all classic Astons are now valuable collector’s items. This impacts on the cost of the restoration work, and here’s why.

If a fully restored car sat in a showroom has a price tag of perhaps £500,000, the purchaser is not going to settle for anything less than perfection. Every detail of the car needs to be, well, perfect. Achieving this significantly increases the cost of the work required during the restoration. One example of this is chrome work.

All That Glitters Isn’t Gold

Companies carrying out high-quality chrome work used to be plentiful. However, a combination of changes to health and safety legislation, the chemicals that go into chrome work are harmful and not pleasant to work with, has meant that many chrome work firms have now closed.

Out of those that remain, only a few can do work to the required standard of an Aston Martin restoration. This is because it’s too easy when re-chroming components to lose some of the essential detail, which detracts from the end result.

Then there is the scarcity of components.

Amazon Are Not Going To Help!

If, for example, you’re a fan of the Ford Mustang and decide to undertake a restoration project, all the components you need for the work are readily available and not particularly expensive. As you strip the car down, any parts that are not serviceable can simply be replaced. This is not the case with classic Aston Martin vehicles.

Aston Martin

With Aston Martin restorations, it’s common to strip down and repair components because you simply cannot buy them. This kind of work is labour-intensive and so increases the cost of the restoration. But the situation can become even worse.

Sometimes, a defective component cannot be repaired or refurbished. When this happens, if a suitable replacement cannot be sourced, and this is often the case, The only alternative is to make a replacement component from scratch. This can have a significant impact on costs.

Hard Graft And Skilled Craftmanship

So when it comes to the restoration of a classic Aston Martin such as a DB4, DB5 or a DB6, the combination of the value of the resulting restored car and the scarcity of components escalates the restoration work cost. But in our view, this is one of the things that makes Aston is so special.

Clearly, our life would be simpler if we could simply buy components as required. Restoration work would basically come down to stripping a car down, replacing parts past their best and bolting the whole thing back together again. But where’s the fun in that?

BandC workshop open car bonnet 2 w740

Despite the challenges that an Aston Martin restoration job presents, we love doing them. The end result is a unique and beautiful piece of history. The care and attention to detail that’s gone into the work make the final product all the more special to our customers and us.

At The End Of The Day, It’s A Sound Investment

We appreciate that for some people, the numbers involved might seem incredible. But the number is simply a reflection of the hard work and expertise that goes into every project that we undertake. Ultimately, as we’ve seen in recent years, the value of these cars keeps rising, so over time, the money spent on restoration will be recovered, and then some.

We think restoring these cars to the highest level possible will always be a sound investment in the long run. Classic Astons are iconic, beautiful cars that will always be desirable and keeping them in perfect condition worth every penny.

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