The Psychology of Classic Car Restoration, Part II

Classic Car Restoration Tips

So now that you have your newly owned classic car back at home, what next? Well, first thing’s first: before you strip down the body to powder coat the frame you’ve gotta’ ask yourself some very important questions, questions that will dictate how this build will ultimately turn out. Consider the following vintage auto restoration tips:

1.) Will this project become by daily driver?

If the answer is yes you want to concentrate on the drive train and deal with the cosmetics later, think reliability: think brakes and wiring, differential, transmission and engine. Get it up and running in such that you feel confident to drive it anywhere. Then, and only then, should you determine whether or not you want to sink more money into it for the interior and exterior cosmetics.

After taking inventory of what’s required to get your baby back on the road, you need to consider all the aspects of the build, from glass, interior, exterior, chrome, drive-train, restoration modifications i.e. disc brake kits, 5-Speed, converting from Straight-six to a V8 whatever you want to do get the big picture.

Hop online and order the catalogs for your particular make and model. You’ll want to buy in bulk to save on shipping, find out where your local salvage yards are for your particular vehicle. You want to have a pretty clear picture of what you’re getting into.

2.) How much time do I have to devote to this project?

You will need to devote time to make any headway with your project, it will take a considerable amount of time, weekends, holidays need to find out what obligations you have that will take you away from your goals.

3.) Do I just want to restore and flip this car/truck for a profit?

This is a very tricky question because it might be more profitable just to clean it up do a mild tune-up then sell it again do your research find out what they are going for in the condition you’re vehicle is in and go from there. Most buyers are looking for two types of projects, the one that is completely done and the ones that are “unmolested” original in every aspect.

4.) Do I have the necessary tools to perform the necessary repairs?

You will need a good set of wrenches, sockets, screw drivers, set of jack stands and a good jack, pliers and anything else that is needed to make your life easier and most important, a gallon of WD-40.

5.) Before you answer the above questions, consider these key factors:

  • No matter how much you think it will cost to restore, that number will double if not triple, if not money, time is a huge factor.
  • There will be times when you will want to pull your hair out and run screaming through the streets naked. At those special times it’s important to take a breather and reassess the situation at a later time. If all else fails get help. Again the internet is a great place to find vintage auto restoration tips.  Of course, you can always talk to your local shop depending on where you’re at in the build.
  • Know that majority of projects rarely if ever see the light of day. Unfortunately the odds will be largely against you and what you’ve seen on T.V. is the result of decades of experience between several guys assigned to the project.
  • Other key factors are no matter what kind of car/truck you are about to restore know that there are people who loved to share their experiences and tips so that you won’t make the same mistakes they did.

Once you’ve considered the above, all that’s left is to swallow your pride and find folks who’ve been there and can show you the way. Be they on the internet, members of car clubs, or those who’ve taken out ads in magazines, they’re out there. Find someone with whom you identify, folks who’ve felt the pain of these projects will always be eager to offer up a healthy helping of vintage auto restoration tips. If all else fails feel free to contact us with whatever questions you may have, we’d be happy to steer you in the right direction. Next month we’ll take a look at