Vintage Drink Machine Repair and Restoration

Should I Restore My Machine or Keep it Orginal?

The Problem:

Every week our customers are faced with this decision:  Should I keep the machine original (and just get it working again), or should I restore it, or should I just sell/discard it? 

Most customers choose to restore, and for most people that is the best decision.  But once in a while, it may not be.  Below are some of our thoughts, but we always say do what you think will cause you to enjoy the machine the most! 

The Main Choice, Keep orginal or Restore?

When to keep a machine original, or just get it working again.

  • You love the look and patina of an old machine. 
  • When you want to remember the machine as it was when you were younger.   
  • When the exterior condition is well above average.
  • When having it look “like new” is not as important to you as preserving how it is now
  • When your budget can not afford a full restoration.   Or when you have no attachment to the history of the machine, and it will cost more to restore than it will ever be worth.
  • How we can help:  we can do an interior or partial restoration, we put a new cooling system in, and get the mechanics working again. 

When to fully restore the machine:

  • When you want the machine to look new, or closer to as it was originally. 
  • When the machine has been poorly repainted over the years or painted with a brush.  Example of a very poorly repainted Vendo 39. 
  • When you love seeing old things brought back to new life. 
  • When a restored machine better fits the theme of the room where you will put it
  • When you want to pass it on as an heirloom or gift for future generations.
  • When the exterior of the machine is average or below. 
  • How we can help:  We offer full restorations on most 1940s – 1960s vintage drink machines.  

If you love seeing old things brought back to new life, restoration is the best choice

Two more, less common choices

When to sell what you have: 

Sometimes it may be best to sell what you have and buy another (already restored, or for us to restore)  NOTE:  If it is a family piece or has nostalgic value, then this is NOT an option.    Keep these and pass them on for future generations. 

  • When you have no emotional connection to the piece you own.
  • When you have more money in the machine than it will be worth after being restored.   
  • When you were impulsive at an auction are already underwater. 
  • When you did not know what you were buying and overpaid. 
  • When you have a large oversize huge machine.   Here is how these go: you bought a machine that is worth $250, and it will cost thousands to restore it, and it will still be worth not much more than $250, because no wants it because of its size. 
  • When you don’t like what you have. 
  • When what you have is not functional for your needs, for example, it does take the size bottles you wish for it vend. 
  • When the machine is just beyond restoration due to damage or severe rust.  Example of a machine frame that sat in water for many years. 

When to scrap it.

First, we should say that we rarely recommend this, these old machines are a piece of Americana.   They can never be replaced.  But there are times when you have an uncollectible machine that is so rusted out, or so damaged that scraping it is the only option.   

And remember even if the case is too far gone, someone will want or need the parts.  Please consider helping others by putting them on eBay or the Facebook vintage drink machine parts group. 

  • You may need to scrap it when it has been sitting in water for years
  • You may need to scrap it when the structure of the machine is very damaged.
  • You may need to scrap it when the rust has eaten more than is left.
  • You may need to scrap if you have a dinosaur and huge machine with any of the above.   These large machines are not that collectible.   
  • And lastly, it may be time to let it go when restoring means that we have to buy another of the same model machine in order to restore yours.  Yes, this happens.   
  • There was a situation recently where a customer wanted to restore their VMC 44 machine, but it was in very bad condition and missing many parts.  The only reasonable option to restore it would be to buy the same model and harvest all the needed parts.  The question became why I am restoring mine when the one I am buying is in so much better condition!   It would cost less to restore the one I bought for parts!