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Classic Motor Vehicle Restoration Checklist (Part Two)

Having decided on your project vehicle it is time to get the ‘show on the road’. With luck there will not be too many surprises ahead, though frankly you can be certain that there will be some hiccups to come, no matter how careful you are.

Where to look

The best place to look for a future classic might be your mate’s dad, a local classified column or online auction website. You can be sure that if it is listed in a classic car magazine or classic car website, you will pay a premium for it. The best deals are found where people are just looking to clear out something that they don’t want and have not properly researched its value.

When a family member dies or goes into a nursing home, people have different priorities. Frequently they are under pressure to dispose of things in a hurry and wherever there is time pressure there are usually huge opportunities.

If searching on the internet, try looking for expressions like “tow away”, “must sell”, “non-runner”, “last started”, “passed away” together with the make and model, it can produce surprising results.

Planning the rebuild

Okay, you have bought your project vehicle and you should already have a fairly clear idea what needs to be done. You will have a budget in mind and can now start by creating a basic timetable, it is always best to set targets for yourself, it will help you to overcome problems as they arise.

Starting with the basic structure and shell of the vehicle, the chassis, floor pans, engine compartment, boot etc. should be examined for earlier repairs, corrosion and damage. For a thorough inspection carpeting, seating, door cards, kick panels and suchlike need to be removed first. Once the bare metal is revealed, expect to find unforeseen issues, don’t be tempted to take shortcuts they never pay dividends.

Dents and Corrosion

Very few dents can be pushed out without leaving evidence behind and corrosion should never be covered over.

Replace corroded metal, filler and fibre glass repairs with metal. Only use filler on very small areas to disguise minor damage affecting line and shape. As soon as you have completed a repair, put some primer on it, it will help to seal it and prevent corrosion taking hold.

Paint can be very useful to treat minor scratches, so even if you plan to repaint the vehicle later, a coat of paint is generally a good idea. Any scratches that you can feel with a finger will need to be ‘sanded down’ and primed, while very small scratches will disappear with polishing or when a final coat of paint is applied.

More haste generally lowers quality – Part Three

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