The most common mistake that I hear of when people are restoring their cars is, they didn't stop to think about what they want to use the car for after it's restored, most people don't understand the difference between a show car and a driver, there are a lot of differences between the two jobs for a person who is restoring the car, and this is why a lot of restoration projects never get finished.Just think for a minute, all the cars that you see for sale that say the car is 90% restored, it's usually because the person doing the work has gotten in over their head, and just can't finish the work, and this stems from not planning the job properly, so do yourself a favor and first, think about what your favorite car is, and then begin your hunt for that car.Once you locate the perfect car for your, the one that just makes you all giddy, just like a little school girl, then buy the car and bring it home, once you have it in your possession, before you do anything to the car think about the task at hand, is it more fun for you to drive the car everyday, or would you rather win some trophies and prizes at a car show, because one is not conducive to the other.It's a fact of life that your driver will get door dings, rock chips, and maybe some scratches, it just happens when you drive your car, a show car my see a journey to the drive in on a weekend, but for the most part, the most driving it will do is, on to and off of a car trailer, preferably an enclosed trailer, and therefore will not get door dings, scratches and the like, if it does, you won't have much luck winning those trophies at the shows.The restoration is a lot more costly for a show car also, due to the fact that, when you build a driver, you can get away with certain short cuts on the car, like rather then replacing quarter panels and fenders, you repair them, usually on a show car you'll opt to replace all the parts that you can with new ones, and a driver does not need a flawless paint job, whereas a show car must have flawless paint, interior, and mechanical workings.Below is a list get things done right.
.1) Get some plastic containers, and label them for the different areas of the car such as.A) Engine Compartment and place all the parts from the engine compartment in it, label each part with a piece of tape with the parts name on it, also if possible take pictures of the placement of the parts before you remove them from the car, and put these pictures in an envelope in the same container as the parts, or put them in a file cabinet in your hose with a label for each area of your car.B) Repeat this process for every part that you remove from the car, be sure to keep all the old parts for reference at a later date.C) You'll end up with a lot of labeled parts, but if you do this, it will insure that you'll be able to put the car back together. .
2) As your tearing the car down be sure to inspect all the parts thoroughly to determine what you can still use, and what needs to be replaced, remember that this is an old car, so it's pretty much impossible to get some of the parts, this means that you'll have to fabricate them yourself, or if you can't do that, you'll have to farm the job out to a professional. If your trying to save money, you'll want to do as much of the work as possible by yourself, if you have friends that want to help and have the time, you can draw off their knowledge also.3) You'll need to keep in mind that a restoration will take a long time to complete, so if your in a hurry, don't even start the job, it can take hundreds or even thousands of hours to complete the job, and if you rush it, you will end up losing some quality that you could have otherwise had.4) Now this is a big one, be 100% sure that the car that your planning on restoring is the right car for you, if you have doubts about rather you like it enough to spend the time on it and give it the love and attention that it needs to complete the job, maybe you'd better rethink the idea of restoring this particular car, it needs to be exciting and make you all giddy when you think about it, so you won't lose interest and just junk it.
This car needs to something that you can't live without.5) Give some serious thought to what your planning on doing with the car, because this will make a huge difference in the way that you restore the car, will it be a daily driver, or a show car, you can get away with a few things on a driver, but if you try it on a show car, you'll never win any trophies at the shows. A few facts about it are that a driver will get scared from daily use, it will get door dings, rock chips and the like, where the most driving a show car will see, is on and off the trailer, and it will get no dings, chips, or the like.
I've been in the automotive business for about 20 or 25 years, I have worked in all facets of the industry, from parts to restoration, all different makes and models, I just want to keep people interested in the old cars because it's where my heart is.
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By: David Atkin