Do you love the sight of classic cars lined up with sunlight glinting off their chrome details? Do you long to not go to car shows empty-handed?
It may be time for your first classic car restoration. Restoration is exciting but it’s also a long process. Here are a few tips to help you be efficient with your restoration.
Choose Your Car Well
If you’re going to do a car restoration right, you will spend a lot of time on it. For that reason, you should choose your car with care.
Some cars are easier to restore than others simply because of the availability of parts. Part of the thrill of restoring a car is to find that iconic original grill in the junkyard. But if you have to go rummaging for every filter and lug nut that will get old very fast.
MGB’s, VW Beetles and Triumphs are all popular cars to restore. The reason for this is the relative ease of finding parts.
Also, pick the make and model you want to work on. Lots of people get into restoring muscle cars, but if that’s not your thing that’s okay. You can even look at used trucks if you want to. Consider availability of parts, budget, potential return, but in the end, pick what you like.
If you don’t it is very likely your car will forever remain unfinished. Car restoration takes a lot of time and effort. If you only feel half-excited to work on it now, imagine in a few months.
Join Your Car’s Club
Once you pick out your car, join the club. You have every reason to do it. The club will be full of people passionate about your car.
Many will have already restored, or are in the process of restoring the same car. They have a wealth of information about what parts to use, and how best to go about things. You can find the answer to virtually any question that comes up during the process.
The emotional support is handy as well. Your family may not be as excited about this project as you are. That can feel defeating when you don’t have anyone who will get excited with you. The club is full of folks who will encourage you on your journey.
On a more practical note, the club can also be a great resource for car parts. Some of them even have their own supply. They also will often know where to find parts that are rarer.
You’ll also need to learn a lot if you plan to do a lot of the work yourself. You may already know how to do some of the things involved in the restoration. Unless you’ve done a restoration before, you’ll run into tasks you’ve never done before.
The folks at the club can give you pointers and tips. Some might even be willing to help you on occasion. At the very least, they can recommend a good place for you to go to learn the necessary skills.
Do Your Car Restoration Right
You’re going to spend a lot of time, effort and money on this project. You might as well get it done right.
Take some time before you begin to plan out how you want the car to be. Restoring a car isn’t just taking it apart and putting it back together with new parts. Sometimes you should add things that weren’t there before. For example, if it’s an older car that has a ton of freeway noise, plan to insulate it better.
If an important part isn’t in your budget yet, it’s better to wait a little longer to get the money for it. You will thank yourself later for not compromising when you finally have your shiny ‘new’ car.
Set Your Timeline
Set up a timeline to help you keep track. The best way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time. Set up what you think will be a reasonable timeline for your project. Then add a few months.
There are always unexpected delays with waiting for parts or life getting in the way. You’re in this for the long haul, but a timeline will help you stay organized. Knowing when you are falling behind is very helpful for keeping yourself on track.
You can set your timeline up either on an old-fashioned paper calendar or your smartphone. Your phone is handy for auditory reminders every now and again.
You can even post your progress on a social media site like Facebook or Instagram. A little peer pressure goes a long way to keeping you on track!
Pay Attention to the Details
When it comes time to start winding down, pay attention to the details. Many of the accents on your car like wheels, badges, lighting, etc. have sat on your garage floor for months. Maybe even years. They may have developed rust spots or insect or rodent damage.
Shine those up, replacing parts as needed. You don’t want to go to all this effort only to have a couple distracting pieces on the outside of your car.
Don’t Give Up and Enjoy the Journey
Car restoration is a long-term task. While you may have to discipline yourself to get through parts, it shouldn’t be through all of it. Enjoy the journey. If you’re not into it for a couple months, take a break and come back to it fresh.
If you’re like most people, you’re excited about having that spiffy ‘new’ car to show off. But having that spiffy car is only worth it for the effort it took to get there.
Start Your Journey Today!
Do we have you chomping at the bit to get started? That’s great! Check out our classic car info page to learn about different models. That will help you decide on a car to restore if you don’t know which one you want yet.
We also have a huge selection of service repair manuals to help you on your journey.