The restoration of classic cars is a dream that the majority of motors port enthusiasts wish to cherish. Although the adventure is often captivating, it requires a lot of commitment, time and money. Since such an adventure represents a monumental task, the preparation of the project will be essential before starting. To begin, ask yourself the right questions and then determine the work and the budget.
The right questions before you start
Carrying out a classic car restoration project requires patience and money, but also a lot of time and above all, extensive mechanical skills. For all these reasons, it is important to think about the whole job and to ask yourself several questions before starting. Indeed, to avoid wasting hours and days repairing the old car of yourdreams, youwillstill have to make sure that the projectis reliable.
First of all, do you have the space required to park and work on the classic car or motorcycle safely ? If the answer is no, it will be essential to rent an adapted workshop. However, the most economical solution is still the loan of a relative’s garage.
Secondly, how much time per week can you devote to refurbishing? At thislevel, it becomes mandatory to make sure that the completion of the project will not conflict with your other commitments. Please note that a complete refurbishment of an old vehicle can take several months, or even a whole year, if not longer.
Third, do you have the skills required to carry out the work ? Since restoration requires a certain expertise, taking the time to take some training in metallurgy and weldingis essential to perfect the finishes. Otherwise, a professional can be considered.
Finally, do you have the financial means to complete the project ? Even if the exact cost of the work cannot be determined, since it may amount to several thousand euros, you should never the less make sure that your budgets will be able to finance the purchase of the required spare parts and equipment.
Finding the right car and preparing you requipment : how do you do it?
When it comes to self-reserving a classic car, the first big decision is the choice of model to be restored. Whether you’re considering refurbishing an American sedan, a legendary roadster or the minivan of your youth, it’s essential to make the right choice from the start. Parts obviously differ from one another. In fact, the search for spare parts proves to be the hardest step of a restoration and usually these components depend on the model to be worked on. For example, it will be easier to find accessories for a Ford Mustang from the 90s than for an Alfa Romeo from the 60s.
Since the work can quickly become a night mare without the right tools, it is better to get professional equipment to avoid damage. Among the equipment to be provide dare: sockets and wrenches, pliers and screwdriver, jack, wire brushes and drill, sheet metal shears and basic power tools (air compressor, tension meter, etc.). Depending on the condition of the vehicle and the work to bedone, you will probably need other equipment such as candles, flashlight, welder, grinder and shop crane. Usually, you can get these items from a specialized store, but to reduce expenses, why not opt for a rental of this equipment? This way, you not only avoid buying the equipment, but you can also benefit from professional advice on how to use it.
Patience and organization : two essential qualities
To bring a classic car back to life, you’ll also need to be patient. Indeed, restoration requires an investment in time, energy and money. The completion of the project will therefore depend on the state of your finances and the time you can devote to it. Do not underestimate the work to bedone, as it can take more than 500 hours. In some cases, it may take longer than expected. The same goes for the budget. In order not to slow down your progress, it is advisable to plan a larger budget for the unexpected.
Staying organized is also imperative. Note that a car is made up of thousands of parts that you will need to memorize and store. So remember to take notes during dismantling. Also consider working in a spacious, well-lit workshop (or garage) where you can store spare parts and tools with peace of mind.
Above all, avoid over estimating your abilities, since in mechanics, a good notion is not enough. The use of equipment may require the mastery of particular techniques. For complex and delicate tasks, itisbetter to seek the advice or intervention of an expert in the field.
How to ensure that the work is done properly?
As for the work to bedone on your jewelry, be aware that it can be of a very varied nature : repair of seized parts, removing mold, repairing the bodywork …). First of all, know that even if the exterior appearance of an old car looks excellent, there are always elements to be repaired under the hood. Indeed, when a vehicle is not driven for a long time, it tends to deteriorate and its parts are eaten away by corrosion or end up seizing up. These parts will then have to be repaired or replaced directly. If you have to work on very old and deteriorated parts, be aware that these parts are often unique and difficult to find. In this case, it is best to leave the repair or refurbishing of delicate components to a professional.
In some cases, there is mold in the passenger compartment that needs to be treated with a suitable product. While these fungi are often easy to remove, their presence may indicate a lack or defect in the seal. It is therefore the sealing problem that must be corrected to prevent the mould from reappearing.
Restoration of the body and paint work remains the essential step for a finish and results that meet your expectations. Since this work requires a mastery of techniques and training, training to acquire the necessary skills is essential.
Specialists to contact if needed
Even if the passion for car restoration lies mainly in the fact of assembling each part and component of the vehicle oneself, the interventions of an expert are essential for some works. If you don’t have the skills and knowledge required for projects such as body repairs or the restoration of electronic devices, the best thing to do is to contact a specialist in the field. Among the experts and professionals who can intervene throughout the restoration process are : the body repairer, the mechanic and the electrician.
The body shop specialist or sheet metal worker is in charge of retaping the exterior structure of the vehicle to obtain a quality finish. The mechanic is mainly responsible for the engine. In addition to disassembling, cleaning and repairing the engine, he can alsobe of great help when purchasing missing parts or designing new parts.
Electronic parts require a qualified intervention, which is why the use of an electrician is recommended for the installation of appliances (electrical and electronic) and accessories (head lights, turn signals, etc.).