Frame Up Restoration vs Frame Off Restoration

Very shortly on our site, there will be “Coming Soon” sliders of the vehicles we have planned to list in our Inventory.  The reason they are “coming soon” rather than being listed may be that we are still negotiating with the Seller for the best sale price or the vehicle may not be quite ready for sale.

One of the vehicles we have coming is a 1963 1/2 Ford Falcon Sprint 2 door Hardtop which has recently undergone a “Frame-up Restoration”.

When it comes to classic car restorations, many people are uncertain about the difference between a true Frame-up Restoration versus a Frame-off Restoration.

For this reason I thought I would provide a brief description of the differences between a Frame-up Restoration and a Frame-off Restoration.

Frame-up Restorations are exactly that – from the frame up. In a true frame up restoration, the restorer will complete re-work the body, paint, motor, interior and trunk. Only those parts on the frame needing replacement will be done. For instance, replacing a section of broken or damaged brake line instead of the entire system.

With Frame-off Restorations the entire car is rebuilt or replaced. The entire body will be removed from the car and the frame will be inspected entirely and all parts will be replaced and/or repainted. Just one look under the car and you will easily be able to tell a frame off restoration. Everything on these cars will look new and will be freshly painted or powder coated. These cars also require extensive care and cleaning and are generally driven rarely due to the expense associated with frame off restorations.

Classic car restorations vary greatly depending upon the time and budget of the owner. Frame-up Restorations will give you a nice looking car without the expense off completely removing the body to restore or replace those areas seldom seen by the general audience.

Frame-up & Frame-off Restorations – Buyer Beware

If you are looking to purchase a classic car, it is important for you to know what you are looking at before you buy. A good body shop or body man can make body filler look good. The car’s body will appear straight and smooth. Paint will look good, but only where you can see it.

Areas that you will want to inspect before making your purchase are the gaskets, plugs and below the exhaust manifolds, the boot and undercarriage. If the boot or undercarriage has a thick undercoating, turn and walk the other way. This is a good indication that there is likely to be trouble below the surface.  When looking to purchase a classic car, do your due diligence. Just because they are shiny and make a nice rumbling sound doesn’t mean they are restored or even safe.

You can view a photo montage of a Frame-up Restoration of a rare 1963 Corvette split-window, including rebuilding the frame, body work, and assembly HERE

As always, I would ask if you can, please donate to CFWA.

Cystic Fibrosis WA

I acknowledge Texas Classic Cars for the contents of this post.

Until next time. Michael

Office: 08 9459 4800
From NZ: +61 8 9459 4800
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