10 European Classic Cars Perfect for Restoration Projects

Whether you’re a DIY enthusiast, a mechanic in training, or a die-hard gearhead, you might have looked at a car and thought, “I can do that.” This feeling is something many motorists have considered a challenge for many years. To quench this thirst for creativity and tinkering, project cars are growing in popularity worldwide.

Project cars allow you to build them exactly how you want. A wealthy person can buy a fast car, but few can build one. Most classic cars make great project cars because they are cheap and less complicated than their modern counterparts.

10 Range Rover Classic

Land_Rover-Range_Rover_3-door-1978

If you are looking for a classic European SUV for your next project car, Land Rover is an excellent company to consider. They have multiple SUVs, but the Range Rover Classic is the best candidate. Since it’s a four-wheel drive SUV, it’s a superb off-roading option and can easily go over obstacles without much effort.

Land_Rover-Range_Rover_3-door-1978

The Classic offered style, comfort, speed, and outstanding off-road capabilities during its era. Nowadays, you can opt to swap the engine for better performance or fuel efficiency. A simple interior reupholstery will make it a fun car to be in.

Volkswagen Beetle

1969 Volkswagen Beetle

The Beetle is one of the most important and influential cars of all time. With the first production years soaring in value, you’ll be better off choosing a few model years down the line. The Beetle is a good project car because of its mechanical simplicity.

1969_Volkswagen_Beetle_

All the necessary tools are straightforward, and you get to join a thriving community of old VW Beetles. Another advantage of the Beetle is that parts are easily accessible. Type 1 is one of the most modifiable cars with many aftermarket parts, upgrades and engine swap options.

Mercedes-Benz W123 Sedan

1977_mercedes-benz_280e_

The W123 platform is ideal for project car enthusiasts. The sedan variant was well-made and was among the best in road safety. If the sedan isn’t for you, you should check out the coupe and the wagon. All these cars were built to last and had a functional and beautiful design.

1977-mercedes-benz-280e

Over 2.7 million units were sold, making it a good project car. The diesel versions were mostly used as taxis worldwide due to their legendary reliability. There were also a few four-cylinder petrol variants that offered the optimum compromise between economy and performance.

E30 BMW 3 Series

1988_bmw_325is

Older BMWs have always been great project cars, since they offer the most fun for the least money. The 318i is the cheapest variant you can find with a 5-speed manual transmission. Choosing the newer E30 variants can get you a plethora of powertrains and transmissions.

1988_bmw_325is_

The best thing about the E30 generation is the transmission, suspension, brakes and engine. Everything works as it’s supposed to, but you can swap the engine and make some interior and exterior modifications. If you want to go an extra step, you can try and make it look like an M3.

Porsche 944

1985_porsche_944

Often called the “poor man’s Porsche”, the 944 is a contender for your next classic project car. Even though it isn’t the sexiest or most collectible model, the 944 makes for a great air-cooled grand tourer. Properly maintaining the Porsche makes it a reliable and fun car.

1985_porsche_944_

Besides, since it’s a front-engine car, it makes driving easy and comfortable. This also allows it to handle better, especially when you chuck it into corners. It’s an easy car to work on by yourself, mainly with the help of Porsche forums and online technical support.

Audi 100 C1

1974 audi 100

Unlike their long-time rivals, BMW and Mercedes, old Audi models don’t get much limelight. There are a few exceptions, like the RS2 Avant and Sport Quattro, but in most cases, Audi isn’t a brand that most people associate with classics.

1974 audi 100ls

The 100 C1 is one of the best classics from the company with a clean design, simple and mod-ready frame. The C1 was the first-generation Audi 100 and was offered in a range of luxury sedans and coupes. They were all powered by a series of inline-four engines, making them fun and easy to work on.

Alfa Romeo Spider 105/115

1988 Alfa Romeo Spider Quadrifoglio black sports car

Alfa Romeo has produced great post-war Spider models. However, the Giulietta Spiders are soaring in value, but the later versions are ideal for project cars. Spiders from 1975 are great project cars and featured a 2.0 liter inline-four engine that was somewhat strangled for power.

1988 Alfa Romeo Spider Quadrifoglio_

The later 80s models had a more advanced Bosch electronic fuel injection system that helped return power and drivability to the 115 series Spider. Most of these Spiders are available with modernized interiors, making them ideal restomod candidates.

Mercedes-Benz W114

1969_mercedes-benz_220

If you decide to buy the W114, you’ll be glad to know that you’re getting quality solidity, strength and durability. The W114 was available as a sedan or coupe, making it a versatile project car option. Mercedes offered a series of inline-six engines, namely the M180, M110 and M114.

1969_mercedes-benz_220

These engines were either 2.3 or 2.8 liters, with the 2.8-liter versions having the option for fuel injection. The engines were bulletproof, with some models covering mileages above a million. If you plan to get one of these, you should consider the 4-speed auto gearbox, since it’s known for reliability.

E12 BMW 5 Series

1977_bmw_530_

Some classic BMWs have shot up in price, like the E30 M3 and the E9, with some models dipping into six-digit prices. However, the subtle E12 5 Series is yet to take off in pricing. The E12 was a massively successful model and was among the cars that gave BMW its big break.

1977_bmw_530

On the used market, you can find these options for cheap. They are great candidates for some tasteful mods, both externally and internally. Besides, you can fetch a bit more money when you finish an epic restomod.

MGB

1972-MGB-GT-

When the MGB rolled out the showrooms in 1962, it quickly became one of the best-selling and most loved sports cars. It brought an exciting drive, stylish design and everyday usability to many drivers who were glad to switch from sedans.

1972-MGB-GT

Due to its popularity, over 500,000 units were produced, with most still on the road. This makes the MGB one of the more affordable classic cars and a great project car for many. The MGB was a small rear-wheel drive two-seater with a .1.8-liter four-cylinder engine and a four-speed manual transmission, all with readily available parts

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