Restoring a Classic: A Guide for Novices

By Nik  Donovic, Special for   USDR

Can The Car Be Restored?

You must come to terms with the fact that every classic car-regardless of how beautiful, or how much nostalgia it brings back-cannot be restored or should be restored in some cases. At other times, the restoration work is best left to the professionals. Take the following points into  consideration.

  • The Condition: If the car looks as old as it actually is, you should avoid restoring the car yourself. You will also want to look over the history of the car to see if it has been in any car accidents. If the condition is good overall, you will find it easier to restore it  yourself.
  • The Era: Depending on the era of the classic car, you may find it easy or difficult to restore it at home. Usually cars from the 1940s or 1950s are easier to restore at home even for novices. Take into account the difficulty of finding specific parts for that particular make and  model.
  • The Skills: Restoration of cars, especially classic ones, is not at all easy. For classic cars, improper restoration can actually end up reducing its overall value. You must possess at least the basic mechanical, electrical and repair skills for cars before you attempt any restoration  project.

Restoring the  Car

After determining that the classic car is fit for restoration, that you have the skills to do it, and have a general idea of how to find the auto parts that you may need, you are ready to start the project.  Use the following steps to guide you towards the completion of the  project.

Locating the Right  Parts

 It will be impossible to restore the car unless you get original parts to replace the ones that are damaged or missing. If you are unable to get the exact parts, you can opt for similar parts from a different model or make. The Internet can be a good place to start searching. However, you need to ensure that you are not getting ripped off. Make friends with other car enthusiasts, visit car shows, join online car restoration communities, visit owners of salvage yards, etc. Be sure to take advantage of all available  resources.

Setting Up the Work  Space

The place you will be working in should be big enough so that all the parts can be kept easily. A dismantled car can take up approximately 2 garages in space. One will hold all the parts, and the other space should be large enough to work in. It should also be organized to make it easier to access the necessary parts and tools. Expect to work many hours on this project, so be sure to be properly sheltered from the elements-for your sake and the  car’s.

Utilize the Correct  Resources

Do not forget to check the owner’s manual regularly. You can ask your friends in the automotive industry for help or search the internet for reliable information on classic car restoration. Find magazines from that time period to get ideas on original paint colors and more. Do not be reluctant to seek out advice and guidance from professionals when you need  it.

Nik Donovic resides in the state of Arizona where he spends much of his time outdoors or traveling. When he’s not enjoying nature, he’s either working on his car, reading a good book, or keeping up to date with new  technology.

All opinions expressed on USDR are those of the author and not necessarily those of US Daily Review.