How to Restore a Car
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How to Restore a Car
This is important. You need to ask yourself: "What do I want?"
this also must be followed by "What can I afford?". This is
often overlooked by most when restoring their car. Answering
these two questions honestly will insure that what you end up
with is (1) something you will enjoy, and (2) that it will get
done. Be sure to see our
page. Also see my
Custom? page for help making up your mind.
Find a good project car. A good place to start is
this is your first time restoring a car find a friend who
has, or better yet a local car club or the restoration shop
that will be doing the work. Have them help you decide if
the car if worth the asking price, and if it will fit your
ideas and budget. Depending on what you want and your budget
you may be better off spending more on the project car.
Labor and parts can add up quickly so beware. A project car
in rough shape may lend itself better to custom work rather
than an all-original restoration. The fastest (and generally
the cheapest) way to ride
around in a classic is to buy a complete car, BUT
buying a project insures that you get a car that you will
The car must be striped of all part and carefully cataloged.
Insure you have plenty of room, a disassembled car takes up
3 - 4 times the room it did when it was together. It is very
important that everything is labeled and sorted so
reassembly will go smoothly. Decide what is salvageable and
what must be replaced. Be sure to check out our
we now carry restoration parts from one of the top
manufacturers in the country.
Now the body must be
properly prepaired... Depending on condition this can be
accomplished by sanding, sandblasting, or chemical dipping. A
paint job is no better than the weakest link. If the old
original paint flakes off it will take the new paint with it.
Now a quick talk on an often-overlooked item, mechanical
restoration. This is very important especially if the car is
to be a daily driver. The main components are engine,
transmission, suspension, brakes and last but not least
electrical. When in doubt replace or rebuild. Check out
reference manuals, never be afraid to
look up what you do not know. The time spent reading a book
will pay off in the end.
Now the bodywork. The most expensive paint job money can buy
will look no better than a $199 Macco special on top of
shoddy bodywork. It is very labor intensive but worth the
time to insure that the body is straight and that all panel
line up before a drop of paint is sprayed.
Reassembly time. This takes three times longer than
disassembly, but with each part installed you can see the
car slowly taking shape. Great care must be taken during the
reassembly process to insure that you do not damage or scar
any pieces you spent so much time restoring. taking it slow
is a challenge that will pay off in the long run.
Once together all that stands between you and the road is
upholstery. There are many companies that carry interior
kits. This is a very good choice if you are under budget
constraints. For added flare to your restoration project you
may consider a custom job. Call around many times it
not as high as you might expect, and well worth it if you
are looking for a certain look.
Now its time to enjoy the car of your dreams. Don't be
afraid to drive what you have worked so hard to build. A car
is meant to be driven, so get out there and show off all the
many long hours you put into your restoration project.