Restoration checklist and planning
Starting a new or first ever project on vehicle restoration is as exciting as learning to ride your first bike. (For some of us)
We hope to give you some considerations and some guidance that may help with your car restoration or truck restoration along the way.
One of the most important issues to consider for your auto restoration is the space you will need. So many people get so wrapped up in the possibility of the project that they don’t consider the comfort and organization needs of a long-term project. Let’s face it, this will not be a few weeks and in most cases, you are going to go through a few seasons of inclement weather.
SPACE: It’s all about the space (Kinda)
The ultimate space for a project is at least a 2-car garage or equivalent space with a roof. Consider the vehicle, the tools, the need for power outlets.
You will be removing the interior, body panels (which also need to be stripped) and stored as well as new replacement parts and panels. You may also need space to remove and rebuild or replace the engine.
Consider the project parts, for a classic car restoration, that you may need to outsource. Do you have a painter in mind? Interior restoration, which will require specialized tools? Have you given any thought to the transmission and rear axles? Many of these items are best handled by experienced professionals. Including serious engine work, such as cylinder boring.
With automotive bodywork, if you want it done right, you will either need to learn to do it yourself or farm it out to a reputable shop. The same thing goes for welding.
To avoid a project that sits for years, give yourself a little time to sketch a plan and consider your options and what you will need. Some research on planning for the unexpected will help you a great deal.
Let’s do a little pre-planning and avoid the haunting dream of graveyard of cars.
Here are a few guidelines:
How do you plan on using the car when completed?
- Daily driver
- Car Shows
- High School Reunion
- Weekends and occasional cruise nights
- Barrett-Jackson (Wink, wink)
How much of the work will you do yourself?
- Some mechanical
- Most mechanical
- Some bodywork
- Most bodywork
- Are they an enthusiast like you, or just interested in money?
- Are they easy to talk with, and are they listening?
- Do they have a history of competence and quality?
- What is their timeframe for completion?
Including initial cost, what is your estimated budget for this project?
- Under $5,000
- Between $5,000 and $10,000
- Between $10,000 and $15,000
- Over $15,000
- Barrett-Jackson ($50k+)
How much time are you willing and able to spend on the project and when do you want it complete?
- 4 to 8 hours a week
- 8 to 16 hours a week
- 16 to 32 hours a week
- More than 32 hours a week
These are just some of the considerations. There is no one way procedure for doing all the individual tasks involved. You can separate the overall project into parts and give yourself some organized breathing room:
If you only have one work space, try to set up two separate areas. That way, you can work on two different things at the same time. When weather or parts availability stops progress on one, switch to the other. Eventually, everything will be finished, and you can reassemble the car in reverse of above. Make sure you document everything with photographs of before and after removal for your restoration car project. This will help you remember where everything sat in its original place. Don’t fool yourself into thinking you will remember in 15 months or 2 or 3 years.
Create a book and log everything. This will be of great value to you in the future and to the future owner, whether it is an heirloom build or to be sold.
Automotive enthusiasts are a supportive family of people. This holds true for most of the manufacturers as well as the builders. Don’t be afraid to ask for discounts and support in exchange for recognition on social media, at shows, etc during and after the build. Speaking as a manufacturer and enthusiast, I can tell you we are always willing to offer discounts for QuickTrick family in exchange for some social media and recognition. (You can email us when you are ready to start your project and we will back that statement up. Just email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org)
Now, to top all of that mind boggling info off from above, here is a basic checklist that we hope will help on your journey.
If there are other topics you would like to see, just email us at the same email above and we will see what we can do. We always learn new things when helping others learn something new. If you think we should add something to the list below, PLEASE, share so we can help others.