How To Restore Your Car – The Classic Car Restoration Process
In this article I will run through a very brief synopsis of the restoration process, from buying the classic to restoring it, and it’s possible that I my miss something, this is just to give you an idea of the whole process of the work.
First let’s talk about the locating of your classic car, the first thing that I always recommend id to study the car that you want to buy, the more you know about it, the less you can get ripped off on the purchase of the car.
Buy a book on the car that your looking at, get to know things like the vin code, rpo codes, casting numbers, transmission and reap end tags, make sure that you know what options that car came with from the factory so you don’t get taken for a ride.
After you have satisfied that you have learned enough about the car that you can make an educated purchase it’s time to start shopping for the car, this is where that fun begins, there are quite literally hundreds of magazines, and web available to help you locate what your looking for.
I’ll tell you up front, if you plan on getting a decent car to start with plan on dropping $10,000 on the purchase, there is no such a thing as a $3000 classic car that is in good condition, the more you spend when you buy the car, the less you’ll spend to restore it.
After you have located that car hat you want to buy contact the people who are selling it and begin the bargaining process, there is almost always haggling to be done here, negotiate that best deal for you and the seller, and then purchase the car.
There is no reason to treat them like an idiot, always treat the people that you deal with on these classic cars with respect, don’t burn any bridges and you’ll always have a contact when you go to buy your next classic car, and you will buy another one.
Now let’s sat that you have the car, your next step is to decide if your going to to the work on it, or if your going to hire a shop to do it for you, both ways have there advantages and I will put a bullet list below to help you wit this process.
Advantages Of Having A Shop Restore You Car:
Advantages Of Doing The Work Yourself:
You need to weigh all of these things against each other and decide which is the most important of the list for you, all you need to do is make a good and bad list, and on that list put the thing off each list that you like the most, and use the one that ends up most on the good side.
If you decide to use a shop, you’ll need to do some research there also, call the shops and talk to a few of them, ask if they have restored a car like yours in the past, if they have that you can ask for a list of references on their work, contact four or five shops.
Use the reference to decide what shop is the best for you to take your car to, nothing is quite as good as word of mouth, ask the reference how the shop treated you, ask about their quality of work, and ask the customer is he’ll take another car there again.
If your decide to do the work yourself be ready for it to take a long time, if this is your first restoration plan on months of work, or even years, there will be things along the way that will slow you down, things like hard to find parts.
If I could say one thing to a person who’s about to tackle their first restoration it would be this, make sure that you love the car that your about to restore, don’t restore it just because it was the first one you could find, find the exact car that you love and restore it.
Now that you have decided to restore the car your self, it’s time to make a plan of attack on the restoration process, this part is one of the most important parts of the entire process, and it will make or break the whole job.
Let’s get out your note book, lap top, or whatever you like to use to take notes, this where the process will start, take a walk around the car and look for this that need to be replaced and take a not of all of the obvious things that you find.
Now take note of all of the things that you think you can fix or repair, this is where you’ll save your money on the work, the more you can fix or repair rather then replace, the more money you’ll save,and the more you’ll enjoy the process.
Now you’ll need to go to your computer and look up the prices of the parts that you’ll need to do the work on your car, start with Year One, and Classic Industries web sites, if you need to work down through the smaller parts dealers.
Once you’ve done this you can add the prices up to get a rough idea of what the parts will cost to restore your car, you will obviously find more things that you couldn’t see at the first, these will show up as you tear the car down, and you’ll need to note these also.
Once you have don this you’ll have an idea of where to start as far as the money that you’ll need to perform the restoration of your car, after you finish this part you’ll need to arrange some sort of ordered storage, some kind of labeling system for the parts that you remove from the car.
I use plastic bags for the nuts, bolts and small parts, and I use a sharpie to label them so I know where they came from, if I think it will be a problem I take a picture and put it with the parts so I can see where the parts cam from.
Once you get this done you can begin the restoration work on the car, it all starts with the tear down of the car, and during this time is when you’ll be adding parts to your list of repair parts, or replace parts, this takes to up to the tear down, have fun with your car.
[tags]car restoration, muscle car restoration, classic car restoration, muscle cars, custom cars[/tags]