To PRESERVE the original beauty and functionality of your classic automobile does not require the complete dismantling, rebuilding or refurbishing and re-assembly of every component and part. The concept of preservation is to do as little as possible to the vehicle in order to retain the original workmanship and patina from age. Perfection is not the goal nor is total originality to the exclusion of functionality; however, the result should be an outstanding example of an older vehicle, lovingly maintained and used over the years.
This decision should not be made lightly since preservation may be even more expensive than restoration. The reason for this seemingly absurd statement is that in a restoration you have the luxury of completely redoing something to make it look new, whereas in a preservation you do as little as possible and the result must look like it was never touched, i.e.: old.
When you decide to preserve a classic automobile such as the Mercedes-Benz or Ferrari, you may think that your most difficult decision is behind you. Don't be fooled; while this may seem like a difficult decision, it's only the beginning.
Investment grade preservation should be viewed as a cooperative task between the customer and the restoration shop. It's a complex project. For example a "frame up" restoration on a Mercedes-Benz 190SL will require 12 to 18 months to complete and may cost between $50,000 to $250,000. Other makes and models may cost more or less depending upon their complexity and rareness; but more than time or money, a restoration will require careful planning. Due to the problems inherent in preservation the planning phase is even more critical than in a restoration.