Classic Cars

How Model Car Kits Help With Classic Car Restoration

Despite the advent of electric and self-driving vehicles, classic cars are still well-loved by many car enthusiasts. People collect them for nostalgia and their value, and they’re also great investments. But when kept in excellent condition, you can use them as your daily driver.

However, classic cars are rare and often damaged due to age. Yet some collectors and car repair specialists can successfully restore a corroded classic car and make it run. They need a good reference, such as a model car kit.

Model car kits may be tiny, but they’re valuable items that help restorers give ruined classic cars their old vigor. Keep reading if you need convincing on how a toy could do that. Here’s how a miniature plastic collectible can work wonders for classic car restorers:

1. Model Car Kits Need Research To Make


Companies that mass-produce model car kits conduct extensive research on the real-life vehicles they imitate. They take hundreds of photos of the actual car from every angle to give justice to its miniature counterpart.

In some cases, car manufacturers will even give model-makers the specs of a particular vehicle. After making several designs on CAD programs and producing prototypes, the result is a near-accurate scale model of a classic car.

So, when you have a model car, it feels like you have a shrunken vehicle in the palm of your hand. You can find out more here for examples of model car kits that take inspiration from real-life classic cars and popular vehicles used in fiction. These collectibles are ideal references for collectors who want to restore their classic cars as accurately as possible.

2. Model Car Kits Have Engines

Unlike classic cars, modern vehicles use high-tech engines which require less maintenance and offer more reliability. You can install modern ones on a vintage car. If you plan to drive it after restoring it, it’ll likely last longer than if you used its original engine.

However, using newer engine models for a vintage car will affect its originality. Many classic car collectors keep their vehicles untouched by modernity to maintain value. Fortunately, many model car kits include replicas of the real-life car’s engine. Car collectors can refer to these models and stick to their classic vehicle’s original engine for it to be a ‘numbers matching’ classic.

“Numbers matching” refers to the factory serial numbers stamped on different areas of the car. Vintage cars usually have these numbers on their rear axle, body, and engine, all identical. A model car kit of your classic car may include these numbers in its details. Finding the exact kind of working engine it once had will be challenging, but at least you’ll have a lead.

3. Model Car Kits Show Highly-Detailed Exteriors


A classic car that’s too corroded could be unrecognizable beyond repair. So, if you find one you desperately want to restore, you must know its make, model, and year. If you have those three elements, getting a model car kit for reference will be easier.

Despite being made of plastic, model cars have intricate details thanks to the time and effort the manufacturers spend. From the body shell to the chassis, a model car will have a clear, detailed exterior you can observe and copy. Restoring an old, beat-up vintage car will be a breeze if you check its scale model for comparison.

A classic car’s color also plays a significant role in its value. If your vehicle is rusty or its paint chipped off, a model car kit could help. Refer to the model to find the correct shade of paint your classic car is supposed to be. After restoring it, practice these maintenance tips to protect your vintage vehicle’s exterior from damage.

4. Model Car Kits Feature Accurate Interiors

One of the things classic car restorers must note is the interior or what’s known as a cabin. When you take apart a well-crafted model car, you’ll notice how its interior resembles a real car almost down to a T. This level of detail makes it perfect to use as a reference when restoring a classic vehicle’s cabin.

If your classic car is missing parts, consider inspecting its model kit version. Here’s a brief list of interior elements a detailed model car should have:

  • Steering wheel
  • Emergency and parking brakes
  • Gas pedal
  • Seat fabric
  • Floor carpet
  • Storage compartment
  • Door opening trim

These parts are just a few pieces of a car’s basic makeup. Refer to a model car kit to find the ones you need for your vintage car. The condition and cleanliness of the interior matters as much as the exterior and holds importance in a classic vehicle’s overall value.

You could also refer to other models to turn your classic vehicle into a kit car if you want to experiment. Kit cars are component vehicles. They utilize parts from different cars, but they’re still fully functional. However, remember that converting a classic car into a kit car could nullify its vintage value. So, if function matters more to you, try this one out for size.

5. Models Cars Kits Can Serve As Practice


Unless you have years of car repair and restoration skills, it’s best to leave the work to the pros. But if you wish to learn the tools of the trade, restoring a whole classic car may be too advanced for beginners. One way you could gain practice is by assembling a model car kit.

Model car kits often come in boxes containing different pieces to build one vehicle. Try getting a model of your desired classic car to familiarize yourself with its parts and overall form. It’ll take time to complete a whole model vehicle.

But you’ll soon get used to recognizing what the car of your choice should look like. You can eventually move on to real cars and practice classic car restoration techniques to make a valuable old vehicle look new again.


Only a handful of people see the value in model car kits. Indeed, they’re collectibles and toys for some. But for classic car restorers, they could serve a bigger, more worthwhile purpose.

Many car enthusiasts still don’t know the ins and outs of a vintage vehicle. So, don’t underestimate a miniature model replica. It could help you restore your classic car to its original glory. It’s best to exhaust all options, especially when some famous car brands are expected to vanish sometime in the future.

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