10 Auto Restoration Dos and Don’ts – Barry Kluczyk @Hemmings


DO: Maintain insurance coverage

Anything can happen during the course of the restoration and, while the shop’s insurance will provide coverage for some incidents, it’s important to maintain your coverage for others. The shop could go out of business overnight, leaving you with only pieces of your car—or missing pieces of the more valuable components. Hedge your bets.

DON’T: Be afraid to ask questions

What kind and/or brand of paint does the shop typically use? Is it going to media blast the body or chemically strip it? If it doesn’t do its own engine work, who does it typically use? Get into the weeds of your restoration, so you’re clear about hows and whys of the work.

DO: Your homework

Be the champion for what’s correct for your car, particularly if the shop doesn’t necessarily specialize in your vehicle. Provide the guidance on surface finishes, model-year specifics, and other elements that will make the restoration more authentic.

DON’T: Hover over the restoration shop

Let the shop do its work. Helicoptering over the project, because you live nearby, invites stress on your part and the craftspeople doing the work. A few in-person visits to track progress is fine, but don’t make the shop your weekly haunt. You’ll annoy the staff and interrupt the shop’s workflow.

DO: Be clear about authenticity

Do you expect period-correct T-3 headlamps to be installed or are parts store replacements suitable? What about a date-coded fan shroud? Or NOS parts? The shop will build the car to your demands, so be sure to discuss and be clear about the level of authenticity you want in the vehicle.

DON’T: Change course midstream

It happens often: A simple repaint turns into a full-blown restoration, or standard resto turns into a concours-ribbon-chasing project. Changing course midway through the project inevitably requires the shop to backtrack and redo work. That adds time and money. Make your plan before the shop starts and stick with it

Read on.

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