by Dan Murphy
from someone who has learned the hard way so you don't have to.
- Never, NEVER throw
away parts you remove from your car. If the replacement part does not fit
correctly, you can use the original to compare it to. New parts might be
available when you start your restoration, but may become obsolete before you
finish the job.
- Know your history!
Research your car to find out what is original and what is not. Painting a car
the wrong color or even the wrong shade can cost valuable points in a show,
and perhaps even reduce the value of the vehicle.
- Try to make the
car as mechanically sound as possible before disassembling it for painting.
Make a trial assembly of the motor transmission and front axle before
painting. Sometimes superceded parts will require additional fitting, and
doing this on a freshly painted car can be stressful. So the more trial
fitting you do, the less stress you will have in the final assembly.
- Pay as much as you
can afford to purchase a car that is rust-free and complete. Look for a car
with as few alterations as possible. A complete car will save you both money
and time when searching for parts. This will also give you most of the
information you need on what was original on your car.
- Take photos or a
video of all parts of the car before beginning restoration.. Pull out the
trunk liner under the front hood and take pictures of the wiring. Take photos
of the engine compartment, headliner, seats and carpet. Shoot at least a
couple of rolls -- the cost of the film will be well worth it when you need to
remember how something was fitted.
- Purchase a box of
heavy-duty sandwich bags (Ziplock preferred) and bag and mark hardware as you
remove it from different locations of the car.
- Install wiring
loom AFTER the car is painted.
- Make sure you
provide your body man with all the small parts (taillight housings, license
housing, etc.) so they all match. I can't tell you how many times I've seen a
car with a taillight housing of another shade!
- For engine sheet
metal detail, powder coat as much as possible. Paint will not withstand the
extreme temperatures inside the engine compartment. Porcelain coat the intake
manifold -- this will prevent the heat riser tube from discolouring.
choose your service provider wisely. This includes paint and body shop, plating
shop, etc. Make sure they can handle the job, and ask to see an example of their
work. When you find the right person for your project, be sure to provide them
with written detailed instructions for ALL of the work to be performed. Be as
specific as possible in your instructions -- leave no stone unturned.