This is a series of easy to read articles that I wrote with practical advice to help the auto enthusiast who is collecting and restoring classic cars. I share useful knowledge and information required to successfully manage and perform an automobile restoration and fabrication project.
Automobile Restoration 101
Automobile restoration and hot rod fabrication are costly and time consuming projects which always exceed the most sober estimates. Rarely is a special interest automobile reborn or born without the collaboration and scheduling of experts, extra time and funds. The value of the finished product typically does not equal the cost with the notable exception of rare cars — and particularly race cars with history — whose value usually exceeds the cost.
There are a few instances where an automobile in very good original condition is best preserved and not restored. When you seek advice and ask an owner who has undertaken a similar restoration or fabrication/build for their estimates of time and expense, they typically underestimate because memory tends to improve upon history, except when they are selling their project or completed car. A large part of the reason for this pitfall is that you will be doing things you have not done before and you do not really know the scope of the project until it is a pile of parts.
Restoring an automobile — or building and fabricating a unique hot rod as they used to be built before complete kits became available — is a collaborative effort involving many experts and specialized facilities, and the ability to network with and manage experts. A significant part of the cost (time and money) involves what is commonly recognized to be the roll of the general contractor.
Tech Articles to Review or Download (PDF Format)
Philosophical Choices — Defining Your Approach to a Restoration or Build
Essential Tools and Facilities — An Overview
Project Preparation — Preparing Your "Head" for the Project
Project Organization — The Organization and Steps of a Restoration Project
Project Management — No Car is Restored Without a Lot of It
Restoration and Fabrication Costs<— Knowledge to Guide Project Selection
Restoration Quality — Quality is in the Details
Auto Body Construction — History and Techniques
Basics of Automotive Electrical Systems — For Restoration and Fabrication
Modifications and Upgrades — Choices and Issues