Restoring old cars is a hallmark American tradition. The United States of America has one of the deepest cultures rooted in vehicular manufacturing. From Buick to Cadillac, to Chevrolet, G.M.C., and Ford, average American consumers have turned their heads to cars since the turn of the century in the 1900s. It is a successful product of the Industrial Revolution. It has always been fashionable. Until the dawn and wave of international car brands, the average American sported and donned the old steel.
Restoring these brand cars became a niche movement in the 20th century. Every family who has had a car passed down and not sold made these cars a family project. Reuniting the rusty steel bars and noisy carburetors with their true and authentic parts is always a dream for restoration owners. As a person who knows absolutely nothing about cars, how can you preserve your family’s legacy and restore your prized car to its pristine condition? How do restoration shops do it?
Plan a Budget
The first thing you must do before restoring a car is to allocate a budget for it. It might sound basic to do so but setting your budget will gauge your expectations of it. You cannot expect to restore a car within a year. Some restoration projects take decades to finish. Restoring can take as much as $40,000 minimum when done correctly.
Set a Timetable
Now that you’ve allocated a budget, set a timetable to frame how much time you’re going to spend on the project. Some parts might be too difficult to acquire or replicate. With a timetable, you can set back some of the things that you might be behind with.
Remove What You Dislike
Removing parts that you want to be removed or restored will trim down the time it takes to restore them. Some of the car parts may even be beyond redemption. Write these down on a checklist and run them down with your craftsman to ensure that it will get covered.
Choose a Trusted Professional
Trusting your mechanic might be hard, especially if the car is a family heirloom. Make sure that your restorer has a great reputation to back his name on. Speed, cost, efficiency, and decision-making are all characteristics you should consider with your shop of choice. Make sure you choose the correct one because sometimes, it might be too late to change it. You don’t want to end up a horror story for other hopeful car restorers. Even if you choose to do the restoration yourself, advice from a reputable restorer will be helpful in the long run. A professional is called a professional for a reason.
Replicate or Reinstall
A full restoration with original parts might prove to be extremely expensive for an average Joe. Most of the car parts are either obsolete or are still attached to pristine ones kept in tip-top shape. Replicating parts might be ideal for you. There is an endless supply of steel for you to mold the part that you need. Finding a steady and reliable supplier who can replicate the parts like the original ones will be a godsend. You can coordinate this with your personal mechanic, or do it yourself so you can keep costs low.
Patience in rebuilding your metal baby is required. Restoration is a lengthy project that will certainly take more than a few months to do. Keep your head above water and you will reach that point eventually.
Document, Document, Document
Documenting everything is a no-brainer. Putting your project and the steps you are taking is essential to know where you are currently in the project. Sometimes, steps can take months in-between before you can move on to the next one. Having your project documented will not only save you time and money but will also help you backtrack and trace if parts go kaput.
Restoring your vintage car is a momentous task. However, with the right amount of patience, not only will the project be a remarkable feat to achieve, but it will also be your own pride and joy.