The dream of many automotive aficionados is to buy and restore a classic car. The project will likely be pricey. Make sure you are buying within your budget and set aside dreams of making a quick fix. Car restoration may take a year or more.
If you are able to find a running vehicle in your desired make and model, the amount you will ultimately spend refurbishing the car will likely decrease dramatically. A running vehicle also means you avoid rebuilding a seized engine.
Be wary of buying vehicles that will require replacement parts that are difficult to find. These pieces will be more expensive and locating the pieces may set the project’s timeline back by months.
Your vehicle must be taken apart. Get a careful inventory of all the pieces of your car. Remember that after being dismantled, the parts will take up about four times the space of the assembled vehicle. Pull apart everything to bare metal. This way you can assess the damage of all the pieces and begin repair work or purchase new pieces as needed.
When it comes to upholstery and finishing the interior, many dealers will offer kits. Kits will cost a less than a custom build, so if project surprises left you cash-strapped, this may be a good way to go. The interior coils, springs, instrument panel, dash, steering wheel, and other parts will need consideration.
The interior will need painted, or more likely, dyed, to meet original factory standards. When looking for a good dye, ensure the product will last. Spending thousands on a restoration project will amount to nothing if the colors run, become spotty, or are susceptible to water damage.
Some restoration junkies skimp on replacing windshields and windows, making the cheapest choice instead of the best one. A properly installed windshield does more than deflect bugs, it helps hold up the roof and frame in the event of a crash. In fact, windshields are the most important safety restraint on your car. A low-quality windshield, poorly fit for your car, can pop out even in low-speed collisions.
More importantly, when getting a windshield installed, you will want a certified technician. The smallest problems may arise due to inexperience. For instance, by not wearing gloves during installation, the oils on the technician’s hands can compromise the sealant.
Be careful of rust. Extensive rust damage is typically unfixable, especially if the chassis is heavily rusted. You may find yourself spending a great deal of time sandblasting the pieces or worst yet, replacing the panels. Cutting out pieces of panels is an option. You can use an English wheel machine to shape your own pieces, and then reattach the panels to the original frame.
Line the doors and windows with rubber, then cover them with silicon spray so the moving parts operate more easily. Make sure any sealants, sprays, aerosols, and paints are placed in the proper order. Exterior paint can be damaged by certain final steps, yet cannot be placed over certain materials.