Category: Car Restoration Tip

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.

What to consider when reassembling your first restoration project – Thomas A. DeMauro @Hemmings


We’ve already covered 12 questions to ask yourself before tearing down your first project car. Now, once you head down that path (or if you’re already there), here are some additional tips for reassembling the object of your admiration once the paint and bodywork have been completed, and the powertrain and other individual parts have been restored. It’s an exhaustive list, because a full restoration is no small task. As always, the more planning and care you take, the better the results will be.

Whether you choose to do much of the work yourself or have the pros perform some, most, or all of the restoration tasks, your ride still requires careful reassembly. And that process can prove satisfying for first timers and repeat restorers alike.

For the teardown article, we spoke with Jamie Cooper and Joe Griffith of Super Car Restoration in Clymer, Pennsylvania, but for this one, we consulted with Brian Henderson and Joe Swezey of Super Car Workshop in Latrobe, Pennsylvania, to learn more about efficient reassembly processes and to acquire some additional time- and aggravation-saving tips.Coincidentally, both shops have “Super Car” in their names and both have partners named “Joe” in their respective ownerships, but are separate entities. They are friendly with each other, and Super Car Restoration does the body and paintwork for Super Car Workshop.

Brian and Joe have been restoring award-winning first-generation Camaros and other models for nearly three decades, and though the order of assembly provided here may require slight revisions in a few areas for differently designed and/or full-frame cars, the rest of the information will still help you with your project.

Budget, Parts, and Supplies

Consult that budget, which has likely increased several times since you first developed it prior to and during teardown. Also check your parts and supplies lists to see where you’re at and what you’ll still need. Before you begin reassembly, make sure that you have everything on hand to complete at least one of the specific segments in an order that provides the fewest slowdowns or repeat work. For instance, if you are doing a body-off restoration, before rejoining the body and subframe (or full frame), depending upon your situation, you may be able to break the project down into a few large assemblies that can be built separately from one another, such as:

Front chassis: Bolt the suspension, brakes, wheels and tires, and engine and transmission onto the subframe (or full frame).

Rear chassis: Install the rear end, suspension, and wheels and tires on the frame of full-frame models. These components can be added to the underside of unitized- or semi-unitized-construction cars, but only do this if the body will be mated to the front subframe while the rear tires are on the floor and the front of the shell is held up with jack stands or another safe method. Don’t install the rear suspension and rear end on a unitized car at this point if a lift will be used later to lower the body onto the front subframe, because adding the rear end will increase the rearward weight bias of the body and will likely make it unstable on the lift.

Body shell: Install the firewall items, glass, wiring, and interior, etc. Keep in mind, however, that Brian and Joe typically load the shell with these parts before mating it with the subframe because they have the benefit of a lift for raising and lowering the body easily. If you’re trying the rejoin the body and subframe (or full frame) using jacks and jack stands, or by another approach that doesn’t include a lift, adding the weight of these items to the body can make it more cumbersome to work with, so you may choose to reinstall them after the body and subframe are bolted back together.

Seek Advice

Members, model year tech advisors, and the research library of the same club you joined and consulted when buying and/or tearing down your car can also provide assistance when you’re reassembling it. Don’t underestimate the value of the knowledge base available from this resource.  Also discussed in the teardown article, if you used a restoration shop to do any of the previous work, you should be able to request some reassembly advice

Read on

Restoration Conundrum: Keep it in driving condition, or give it the works? – Matt Litwin @Hemmings


In October 1998, somewhere in the vast sea of Hershey vendors, I was looking at fabric samples assembled in book form by Bill Hirsch. My all-original 1952 Buick Roadmaster had seen some miles under its two prior stewards, which had caused the fabric behind each door handle to fray, while the floor carpet and driver’s-seat back had seen far more glorious days. With a snippet of the car’s upholstery in my hand for comparison, the debate running through my head was, “Which do I start with; what would be the easiest?”

At 26 years old, I was determined to take the next step in automotive restoration. I had replaced the brakes, fixed a power steering fluid leak—the system an option on the Roadmaster that year—and replaced a few weather seals. Upholstery seemed simple enough. Especially floor carpet. Frankly, I was a little more than proud to own, drive, and display the car—I wanted it looking its best, despite my meager budget.

As I pondered my ability against a “close enough” color match, I was asked if I needed help by—I assumed—a staff member. Instead, I found myself talking to Bill Hirsch himself. He must have taken a keen interest in the plight that I had to have exhibited. After explaining the situation, Bill asked, “Do you enjoy driving your Buick?” Yes, was my quick reply, to which he said, “Then drive it. I’d love to sell you upholstery today, but honestly, I can tell by your enthusiasm that you enjoy using the car. You’re young; there will be plenty of time to restore it later when the whole car needs to be done, and we’ll still be making upholstery for it. When it’s ready, call me.” And with that, he shook my hand, slipped me copies of the samples I had been ogling, and flashed a reassuring smile.

Read on

What a DIYer can learn about engine turning from the restoration of the one-off Ford Thunderbird Italien show car – Daniel Strohl @Hemmings


For a feature that has appeared on so many high-end cars for decades, engine turning requires a surprisingly basic set of tools: something that turns, something that’s rough, and something that’s slick. The real challenge to creating a gorgeous, intricate engine-turned panel, however, comes in clearing your schedule for such a time-intensive process and in the preparation work. Concept car restorer Tom Maruska can’t help us much with the former, but he was able to show us how he managed the latter when turning some panels for the Thunderbird Italien show car.

While some call the process “damascening” or “guilloche” – both of which describe slightly different processes with similar effects – engine turning creates a dazzling, almost three-dimensional pattern used to great effect on dashboard panels, body inserts, and other expanses of bright metal that would look too plain otherwise.

Maruska – who prefers the term “jeweling” – encountered a number of such parts during his 2006-2007 restoration of the 1963 Ford Thunderbird Italien, a fastback show car that Ford had Dearborn Steel Tubing build for the Ford Custom Car Caravan. In addition to the dash, the door panels, the rear interior panels, the doors, and the fenders all featured engine-turned aluminum sections. While some people claim that engine-turned panels should show some variation to reflect their hand-crafted nature, the Italien’s panels – original but in need of restoration – showed far more precision.

Read on

Considering an Ultrasonic Cleaner?


Recently purchased a budget Ultrasonic cleaner

Really good value listing is here

I can highly recommend the use of one of these well priced cleaners which have a number of uses, for me the parts and tool cleaning aspects will be the best value

A tip to start with, save the need to keep cleaning the machine, the items have been put in various containers. As the machine works on cavitation the cleaning isn’t really hampered.

Results after about 10 mins, these bolts had 90 years of junk on them!

All that’s really needed for pretty good results is washing up liquid or a non bio washing machine soap (my result) but you can use a number of different detergents dependent on the item in question and the results required.

It’s not really crucial to have the lid on if you have a heated unit.

As you can see the results are quite impressive,. these items had about a 1/4 of an inch of oily residue attached. This is after 20 mins at around 49C. The container is a cut off water bottle, pegged to stop it rolling over.

These are the crucial photos to take during the car restoration process – Thomas A. DeMauro @Hemmings


Have you ever attended a family function, a car show, or a race intending to capture all those special situations that arise through the course of the event only to realize when you got home that you missed many of the best opportunities? That same scenario can easily present itself during a restoration.

It’s understandable. You get so involved with what you’re trying to finish that you forget to take photos of the most consequential and satisfying accomplishments. Since I’ve done the same thing on projects large and small more times than I care to recall, this article is offered simply as a quick reminder for you to immortalize in pixels certain magic moments during your car’s restoration before they sneak by unnoticed.

These photos can make the album you show to family and friends or display with your finished car at shows more dynamic and cohesive, and they can do the same for the project thread you may decide to post online.Keep in mind, however, this article isn’t about listing every item you should shoot to document your restoration, such as the overall teardown and the sub-assemblies to show how they came apart, so you have a guide for putting them back together.

It’s also not covering all the photos you should also take of special markings to replicate, or the cleaning, stripping, repairing, repainting, and reinstallation of most of your project’s powertrain, chassis, body, and interior parts. Instead, these are the big moments not to be missed. The ones where you want to take a moment to really capture what’s going on

Read on

Classic Car Restoration Tip 7 — Tisket, Tasket, Who’s Got a Gasket? – Second Chance Garage


More tips from Second Chance Garage, this time the subject is gaskets and what the options are.

It never fails. Just when you need a certain gasket either the stores aren’t open or they don’t have one to fit. Worse, you just ruined the one gasket you had, and now you have to stop the project.

Read the rest here

Classic Car Restoration Tip 6 — Can’t Find Sheet Metal? – Second Chance Garage


The latest tip from the Second Chance Garage Classic car restoration tips series, this time it’s sheet metal.

These days most of us live in urban areas that, while well represented by big box stores and strip malls, are devoid of sheet metal shops and other industrial supply stores. When you need sheet metal for that welding repair on the fender, where do you go?

Read on 



Classic Car Restoration Tip 4 — Whitewall Preservation – Second Chance Garage


The latest car restoration tip from Second Chance Garage is how to preserve your whitewall tyres, read the tip here

I can also add what I use to clean my whitewalls which are the Vanish or Mr Clean sponges

You can view the post here