Auto restoration may be just a hobby for some classic car-lovers, but for many auto shops restoring old cars is a full time job that brings in big profits. It could be a love of handiwork, an interest in the history of vehicles, or even just a plain old love for cars that inspires you to follow this fascinating career path.
Anyone considering an auto career or with a specific interest in say, automotive painting may be curious about the art of restoration, and what exactly goes into rebuilding a car. Here’s a quick overview of the basics:
Steps for Restoring Classic Cars
Choosing Your Car
- Finding a partially restored car can save you labour, but a completely unrestored car will save you money
- The internet is an excellent place to source rare finds
Most Popular Cars to Restore
- 60s Chevy Camaro
- 80s Chevy Corvette
- 60s Ford Mustang
Be Wary Of…
- Rust – Could force you to strip the entire chassis
- Dead Engines – You may need to rebuild the whole engine
- Rare Models – Specific parts will be very expensive, or extinct
- Disassemble the entire car for cleaning and damage assessment
- Most classic cars need engine replacement parts
- Some manufacturers may still produce certain parts
- Dents are hammered out or corrected with body filler.
- Corroded parts may be treated with sandpaper or replaced entirely.
- Always use a professional auto painter.
- Reference old pictures to reproduce the original paint job – authenticity matters for collectors!
Trim and Moldings
- Keep and use the original trim and moldings for a more authentic restoration.
Pro Tip: Reuse Parts
- Cleaning and reusing original parts (even just bolts!) will increase the overall re-sale value of the car