How to Restore a Vintage Toy Car

Written by brennan mcmahon
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How to Restore a Vintage Toy Car
(image courtesy of

So you found that classic toy car you had as a kid, but it has seen better days. You want to restore it back to health. It's not quick and easy, but all that work will pay off in the end.

Skill level:
Moderately Challenging

Things you need

  • Sandpaper
  • Soldering iron
  • Paint
  • Picture of how the toy looked in its prime

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  1. 1

    If the toy from yesteryear is made of metal, you are already ahead of the game, because metal toys weather the best. It is ideal to have a photo of what the toy looked like in its prime so you will be able to restore it exactly to how it was. If you don't have a picture of it, try searching online. Also, take photos of your work as you go, to serve as reference points the next time you decide to tackle a project like this.

  2. 2

    Cruise the internet search engines and auction sites to hunt for spare parts and decals for your toy. There is always someone selling what you want to buy.

  3. 3

    After you have purchased any missing parts, begin to remove rust and old paint with sandpaper. Make all the surfaces as smooth as possible to help the new paint and/or decals adhere more easily later on.

  4. 4

    When the sanding is done, solder onto the toy any metal pieces that you purchased to replace missing ones. Solder sparingly to keep the welds hidden.

  5. 5

    After the metal has cooled, sand to remove any rough areas. Then you are ready to paint.

  6. 6

    The look and finish of brushing on the paint adds to the nostalgic feel of the toy, though you could spray it on as well.

  7. 7

    Allow the paint to dry and then proceed with the decals. This sometimes proves to be the most enjoyable part, because it is the last step in the restoration.

Tips and warnings

  • Although it is time-consuming, restoring your antique toy car will bring you joy, and in many cases, a good deal of money on the secondary market for your troubles.

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