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Simple question: If you are a regular FORUM READER do you have a car/truck/motorcycle that you are doing a TOTAL ground up SHOW RESTORATION on? In light of all the anti Hot Rod threads I'd like to know if Antiques are in fact dead. My '37 Harley will be stone stock, what are you restoring? Oh, and how long has the restoration been going on, my Harley project started in 1996 with the purchase of a rear fender and tail light, today I have a mocked up roller in primer. I don't think I've put a wrench on it in five years.

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Here's another perspective. I don't know how many professional restorers are active on these forums but I am starting my 30th year in the business. Started as a hobby then grew into a business. I constantly hear that "people aren't restoring cars anymore" and that all the interest is in street rods yet we have a shop full of restoration projects. Not saying we don't do any street rod work, we do, but it amounts to something like 2% or less of our work load and consists almost entirely of paint and body work. Anyway, currently in the shop, for restoration to original, we have;

1932 Packard Conv

2nd 1932 Packard Conv

1937 Ford 60 HP Sedan

1951 Jag Mark VI

1927 Kissel Brougham

1949 Volkswagen

1915 Milburn Electric

1949 Bentley James Young Sedanca Coupe

1929 Cretors Popcorn Wagon

1937 Buick S&S Carved Side Hearse

1959 Cadillac Hearse

1953 Packard Henney Ambulance

1937 GMC Rescue Truck (Original owner)

1937 Packard Super 8 Sedan

1909 ONLY

1928 Cadillac Dual Cowl Phaeton

Also, contrary to popular wisdom, most of these vehicles are not owned by "old timers", nor are they usually "checkbook restorations". They certainly aren't being restored with profit in mind.

Reports of the death of the antique car hobby have been greatly exaggerated.

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You read my mind. I though about creating just such a post. A lot of my rants and raves are about the unrestored projects that are wasting away while the monied baby boomers buy completed cars, many with chromed up engines and aftermarket wheels but otherwise fairly stock.

In my case, I prefer to restore projects for the fun of it, for cost considerations, for variety and stewardship. I currently own 5 old non running cars, this past year 3 of them had the bodies pulled off using a wood buck so yes I am doing body off restorations on currently 3 cars:

1949 Buick Roadmaster 2 door Sedanette. I actually traded a running, driving 72 Centurion convertible for this true basketcase. The fellow who traded showed up with the interior filled with parts and the back of his truck. But it's a Roadmaster, desirable and cool so what the heck. I have become depressed on several occasions and tried to sell before slowly moving forward. At this pace, my ETA is about 6-7 years, hopefully 350 to 400 points on the BCA Judging scale.

1963 Pontiac Bonneville 2 door HT. ($600) This was a field car that the seller gave up on, put on ebay and ended up not getting any bids AND was 20 miles away. So I got it because I have a 3 car garage and it must be filled! That was a mistake. I need the space. BUT I went through with it, the body is off, it is getting a frame off on a fairly ordinary body with virtually no options.

1968 Buick Riviera ($400) Came from new Mexico, nobody wanted it, was offered on the BCA Buy/Sell forum. Rust free and missing the drivetrain, therefore, another basket case. Totally stripped, lifted using the wood buck in August.

So there you go, 3 underway. If every forum member did 1-2-3 frame offs of the non running projects, we would increase the supply of restored cars in the hobby. The alternative is hot rodding/further deterioration, etc.

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Yup. We've been doing them for about 20 years.

- From 1986-1990 we did a full frame off restoration on a 1929 Whippet 96A Coupe.

- From 2000-2001 we did a full frame off restoration on a 1937 Plymouth Pickup. This truck is a Senior Grand National Winner that is currently on loan to the AACA Museum.

- From 2001-2003 we did a full frame off restoration on a 1940 Plymouth Woodie Wagon. This car is also a Senior Grand National Winner.

- From 19991-2004 we did a full restoration on a 1978 Ford Mustang II King Cobra - will be going for a First Grand National Award in March.

- From 2003-2007 we did a full frame off restoration on a 1942 Ford / American LaFrance fire truck. This truck won a Senior Award in Binghamton back in June.

- From 2006-2007 we did a full restoration on a 1947 Empire Tractor. If AACA ever accepts antique tractors, we're ready to go. If not, we'll use it for tractor shows and parades.

- From 2006-2007 we also did a full restoration on a 1952 8N Ford Tractor. If AACA ever accepts antique tractors, we're ready to go. If not, we'll use it for tractor shows and parades.

- In August we started restoring a 1967 Ford Mustang Coupe. Hopefully the restoration will be complete in a couple of weeks. Because of the tires, rims, radio and headlight bulbs, this won't make the grade to take an AACA award.

- In the spring we will be finishing a restoration of a 1940 Dodge convertible for another club member. Target completion date for this car is fall Hershey.

- Once the '40 Dodge is finished, we have a 1950 Willys M-38 US Army Jeep waiting to get restored.

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Depends upon your definition of restore. I'm fixing my 26 up to the point where it's mechanically sound and safe to drive. I'll do the body work and interior to where it looks good. I don't need, and can't afford, a 20k paint job.

Taking the body off will depend on how involved I get in doing the body work and paint. It's a driver now and it'll be a driver when I'm done.

When I'm done most everything will be new or NOS. It should look real good but will never be a trophy winner. I have absolutely no desire to put it in a judged show.

For me the enjoyment comes in doing the work as best I can, finances permitting, and driving it.

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No restoration this winter however I have been busy in the past with a 72 Corvette, 67 GTO, 55 Pontiac and a 67 Amphicar. Remodeled the entire house last winter.

Next winter I will hopefully start my final full blow restoration, another 67 Amphicar to AACA standards.

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Right now I'm on my third Metropolitan, a 1960 coupe. The first one I restored was my red & white '57 hardtop. After that one I re-did my son's '56 yellow & white convertible. Although he's in his own business of restoring cars, he never has enough time to do his own toys, so I helped him out by doing his Met. Besides the Metropolitans I've done three Buicks, a '55 Special, '62 Invicta and a '66 Skylark. I enjoy doing the Mets because they are small and I now know them inside out. Here are photos of the Metropolitans

I hope to be painting the '60 by the beginning of the year.

Oh, BTW, my son does mostly originals. He just finished a 68 Corvette and is now working on a '57 Cadillac convertible, frame off.

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I guess I'm "one of those hot rodders". I'm working on a 51 DeSoto coupe with over 80,000 miles on the clock, and which was not original when I bought it. Among other things it has a Dodge pickup truck engine.

When I get done it will be basically stock with a stock looking flathead 6 engine and a McCulloch supercharger and a few mild custom touches, as the car might have been done up by the original owner in the early 50s. In other words "contemporary accessories".

I certainly favor the stock restoration and even more, the preservation of well preserved original cars. But there are lots of run of the mill cars like my DeSoto, which are not worth restoring but which someone can have some fun with anyway.

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Well, I cannot say I am actively involved in a full restoration right now. I did one, a long time ago and would very much like to do another one, but only when I have the time. I plan on re-restoring my '30 A Tudor, which had a "parade quality frame off restoration" in the early 70s. I don't anticipate this will be too difficult as the car has no rust, and I have attended to a lot already, but at some point I would like to completely take it apart. I am undecided if I will go for a driver or high point car. I am accumulating much of what is needed now, to minimize the parts chasing and expense when I want to be working on it.

I think running out of steam midway kills off many of these projects. This was the case years ago also, I remember looking at many half done projects in the 70s - 80s. I think good projects are much tougher to find today, which is part of the reason there are fewer restorations being done out there, experienced hobbyists or pros may pass on a car a novice may want to try out. Also, today a good original is much more prized than in the past.

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Bill works when he can on our 1963-1/2 Ford Falcon Sprint convertible. It will be fully restored when it comes to it's first show.

The 1939 Dodge Deluxe 4-door will not be restored but will nicely done and modified just enough to enjoy it without breaking the bank on a car that would NEVER be worth what it would cost to do a full, proper restoration. Nothing will be done that can't be easily undone if someone does want to make an AACA show car out of it someday.

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Thank you Peter! This may help motavate some progress on long neglected projects. Requests for missing bits & pieces should be allowed IMO. I've got a factory Studebaker air conditioner that a current project may need. grin.gif

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My project is a 1955 MG TF-1500, last of the T-series. Currently all disassembled with the frame ready for refinishing. The pro shops quoted 2 years and $50,000 for a show quality restoration. What with $18,000 to buy a really solid car to start with, that seemed unreasonable, sooo! All is going well after I developed a Microsoft Project template to track all part removal, condition and planned restoration, storage location, outsourced work, etc. I found local shops competent to do all the mechanical work and plenty of sources for the parts. Any AACA member interested in the tracking template is welcome to it.

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  • 1 year later...

hi y'all, i'm restoring a 1938 Lincoln Zephyr Coupe frame off .1953 Harley fl panhead,, pictures on my album profile page for the lz .i bought it in 1989 started it in aug 2008 money slowwww ..need pictures of inside door handles & window cranks

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For those of you who hate to see a car "wasting away"...I have had one of my 1931 Dodge coupes since I was 15 years old. I am now 56. It was my very first car. It is still only half restored. Between having children, a divorce, loss of job, moving and other circumstances, it may never get done. Oh well...it's mine and I can dream. I may have the chance to finish it. If I don't, at least I have saved it from getting chopped and rodded.

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  • 3 weeks later...
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Had my 1958 Buick Special since High School, drove it when dating my Wife in 1974, never really could afford to make it show (Judging) worthy and finally have had to do a second brake job. With way too much collecting of parts finally cleared (more to the point organized) some space to work and hope to get it back on the road soon. It really is a work in progress and I guess I work too slow but eventually my boys will get a good amount of stuff when I'm done. Next on the schedule will be my 1958 Buick Limited 2dr which I had before the Special.

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Just finishing up a 1950 Buick Super Estate Wagon. I bought it 10 years ago and it spent 7 years getting wood and paint. Now, except for a few fit problems, it is done and it is up to Buick Judging standards.

Bone stock except for an aftermarket fuel filter that I have since found the original one for.

Funny thing is, I was going to Hot Rod it when I bought it, but it was too nice of a survivor.

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  • 3 weeks later...

This forum has been of great interest to me; as I am presently in the process of restoring and maintaining several cars in my care ( i.e. having fallen into my hands). This forum has helped me locate parts, solve restoration problems, motivated me to work on the cars, been a great source for leads; I could go on ......I think this forum fulfills the basic pretex of the AACA "Preserve Automotive History".

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  • 2 months later...

New to this forum, but have been a member of AACA many years. I am currently restoring a

1946 Hudson Commodore Eight convertible. I have owned this car for over thirty years, and kept putting other projects ahead of it It was in sad shape but very sound basically. I now have all frame work and suspension done. Most body work finished and back on the frame. I have managed to find most of the pot metal chrome and stainless, and plastic parts NOS over the years, so that helps immensly..Will try to post some pics when I get how figured out..

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in this day and age it could be difficult to do an immaculate restoration and also have it as a driver.certain things just wont stand up to regular use. the 27 studebaker i'm starting on is not intended to be a show car ,things like wiring and controls,parts made of pot metal will have to be reworked in order for them to operate properly and i will do my best to make parts look like they belonged there from the beginning.best of luck to anybody that resurrects any vehicle 80 years old.beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

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Yes I am! I'm doing a nut/bolt restoration of another Amphicar. (a couple actually) I purchased this red car while in the hospital, got it paid for and delivered to a friends house in Wisconsin for storage until I was well enough to pick it up. I'm in the dismantling stage right now. Progress is slow as I have other irons in the fire. The red one is the "before" of the current project and the green one is the last nut/bolt resto I did.

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well i just finished my first restoration a late 23 t doctors coupe it was a four year project,and now i'm working on a 29 a sport coupe.One thing I noticed about some of these posts is`people talking about restorations being show worthy,the AACA has one of the best non-competitive classes in DPC,so enjoy car enjoy the hobby

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I am a beginning restorer, and I am beginning to restore from the ground up, a 1928 Overland Whippet. I found a shed in Canada full of parts, which I now have. I plan to get a building this next spring, and set it up just for restoring. At the present, I've done nothing to the car but obtain parts. I know its value, but I'm going to restore it any way, since I have almost every part and then some. Willy

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Most of my cars are stock(notice I did not say 100% stock). My two Packard Patricians do not have authentic upholstery because of the high cost of the original material. My 65 and my wifes 64 Dodge Dart convertibles are bone stock and will remain so. My CLIPPERROD came to me the way it is and that is what I am going with. The COPPERHEAD is my one deviation from stock. I have always wanted to Customize a 64 dart GT Conv. Once I finish up the current project I will post some photos on a webtv web page and send you the link, I don't want P.G. to get mad at me. As far as the Full Resto, I will NEVER do one. First because of the money angle and second because I do not have the patiences. If I ever had a 400 point show car it will be beacause the Ga lottery commission picked my numbers instead of someone else.

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Guest ChopShopCustoms

Here's another perspective. I don't know how many professional restorers are active on these forums but I am starting my 30th year in the business. Started as a hobby then grew into a business. I constantly hear that "people aren't restoring cars anymore" and that all the interest is in street rods yet we have a shop full of restoration Reports of the death of the antique car hobby have been greatly exaggerated.

I agree- I have everything in my shop right now from bone stock restos for both American and Eglish vehicles to full on custom work on musce cars... Been in the business for almost 30 years as well and my shop is the result of many years of my own private work !

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I am currently restoring a 1929 Cadillac Dual Cowl Sport Phaeton. This car has been in my family for 40 years. We enjoyed the car for many years as a driven very original car. After 81 years it was time for some restoration work which of course started as a small project and has turned into a complete chassis restoration. I started the project in the fall of 2005 and the speed at which it progresses depends on time and finance which is probably true for most.

To date we have removed all sheet metal and removed the body. The chassis was completely taken down with every part inspected and restored. The engine was rebuilt and balanced.The Buffalo wires were all trued blasted and powdercoated with rechromed snaprings and Hubs. We will be putting Denman blackwalls on the car as I believe it to be more authentic. All accessories have been restored with only the carb and starter to finish. We are currently working on the reassembly of the chassis components. The body is a full polished aluminum body never painted and in very good original condition which I currently plan to leave as is.

I attempt no short cut in the restoration process because I feel responsible to caretake it correctly. We also attempt to be as accurate to authentic as is possible. I use Clayton Restorations LTD in Castle Rock Colorado for any work I do not feel qualified to attempt. I recommend this shop highly!

I find this site has kept me motivated even when things start to look overwhelming.

One of my favorite aspects of the hobby has been in the research of any history pertaining to this car. I have spoken with many member of various clubs who have helped me enormously. Earliest known history has the car in the hands of Ray Wolff in the early 1950's. I have an early painting of this car which was displayed in the late Henry Austin Clark Jr. Long Island Automotive Museum.

I am very interested in anybody that can share any knowledge of this car with me.

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  • 4 weeks later...

I am a newbee, but am restoring a 1948 Desoto Custom. Just in the process of clean up and acquiring necessary parts and books. I will not have pictures for a while since I am out of town and will not be home for a few weeks, I hope. I do love this website.

Thx,

Roger

I have restored the upholstery, but not to original, am working on the steering wheel with POR 15 epoxy stuff and it was very bad. It is beginning to look very good, but still have 10 or so hours to go on it. I will try to post pictures of the upholstery, if I can. I have all of the rubber for weatherstripping and will put it in as soon as I paint it. Have to do a little bodywork and found a good article in "Auto Restorer" magazine with other books and friends willing to contribute. I am having catheretization Monday or Tuesday and may have to have the ole zipper surgery(bypass), so may slow down my progress. Have brakes to do and need to buy a wiring harness and redo the wiring. So, if anyone can help me with where to get certain items, I would appreciate it. I would like to put in a dual Master cylinder, etc., and could use some recommendations. Great site!

Thanks,

Roger

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  • 3 weeks later...

Hi Brian

I am also an Aussie but on the other side, in Victoria. Why not start a post of your own so we can follow your progress with the Stude. You may be amazed at the support and encouragement that you receive!

Cheers

Oldcar

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I'll gladly report on the Stude's progress as she emerges, Oldcar! I bought her in Sydney in 1964, for 25 quid. In 1975, I drove her to Perth but have had to wait for retirement to find time for this labour of love. I will have many questions to ask. Cheers.

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Another Aussie here!! I'm restoring a 1929 model 96A Whippet tourer. Want to keep it original and am doing as much work myself as I can. It's a joy, hunting for parts, bringing an old tired looking part back to looking new. I've learned so much so far and it's a very cathartic process for me.

I've had people tell me on more than a few occasions not to waste my time restoring, just buy one finished. I totally disagree!!

Oh, and Larry, that Caddy is stunning!!

Edited by longman
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Some 30 plus years ago my late dad, a stock and station agent, told me about a car he saw on a farm. It was a 1930 Dodge Brothers DC. 8 cylinder. It had been uted and was in a terrible state having been used as a paddock basher by the original owners grandchildren.

The ute body was partly burnt. A wooden spoked artillery wheel was partly collapsed, the gearbox was split open and in the process had smashed the bell housing. The upholstery consisted of a banana case. Petrol tank was a one gallon oil drum sending fuel via gravity to the early model Holden carburettor. No fuel tank. A lot of rust. Left front guard badly mangled. No rear guards. No side lights. It was a sorry sight sitting on the side of a hill with rusted chains on the back wheels and a crow bar jammed through the spokes of one wheel to prevent it from rolling away.

I made enquiries at the local antique car club and was told initially that Dodge never made an 8 cylinder car at that time so I knew it was rare. They said it must have had another engine put into it. I knew this wasn't the case as Dodge Brothers Eight was cast into the manifold and it had a Dodge 8 badge across the radiator.

I bought it for a minimal amount and trailered it out to my dad's farm together with part of a roadster body. I tried to start the engine. It did run but on 7 and half cylinders.

I took it then to a friends house and started working on it. I pulled the engine down and found one of the pistons had a lump out of it, had the piston rebuilt, ground the valves, and had it running. I I did meet the son in law of the first owner who said the engine should be OK. "Elizabeth" he said. "I was doing up the engine and listening to the queen's coronation at the same time." That was in 1954.

He said it done about 400,000 miles and had been a good car. It had been uted in 1939 when fuel for private cars was difficult to get, and later still was run on a charcoal burner.

I was now married and transferred interstate with my work. I took it out to my dad's farm and left it in the shed.

It was then stolen from the farm but I was able to relocate it and get it back. No further work had been done on it. I only found it as a friend recognised a part from it left at the gate of the farm where it had been taken which was only about 5 miles away.

I was determined to restore it again one day. On a trip back to my parents I heard of a wreck out in the bush that had been sitting in the open since the war and it had a T.J.Richards body like the original. It wasn't a Dodge but the body was almost the same and could be modified to fit. I don't know what make the donor car was. It had an Essex 4 cylinder engine bolted in with lots of angle iron forming a frame. The radiator and bonnet had gone. The guards were different and the rear wheels had been wires. It had also been vandalised and was of course very rusty. I took it out to the farm.

Many years later I returned back to Brisbane, brought the car from the farm and started work again. I adapted a 6 cylinder gearbox and bell housing to fit, and took it for a short drive down the street.

I am now working on it again in earnest. I have now retired and have a bit more time.

The donor body has been straightened and the lower section replaced all round. I have managed to get a proper bell housing and gearbox. A new radiator has been made. At a swap meet I bought some tourer guards. I have modified them to fit.

I now have most of the parts to finish the restoration. It is looking pretty good with the body sitting on top of the chassis at last. Wheels have been remade and new tyres fitted. I can now see light at the end of the tunnel!

When finished I will have a nice drivable car, and quite a rare car too. It will have been a challenge but will be worthwhile.

To those out there that feel like giving up on a restoration. Don't. With access to the Internet and so many clubs and helpful people out there almost anything can be done. 30 to 40 years ago it couldn't.

Jim Haydon <mini1132@yahoo.com.au>

1930 Dodge Brothers DC 8. Richards bodied roadster

1961 Morris Mini.

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Jim,

Your story is a great tribute to the AACA. I am so impressed by your persistence to accomplish completion of such an interesting project. I am so anxious to see pictures of it. Thanks you for the story.

Respectfully yours,

Roger

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I Agree, Jim that's a fabulous story, I love stories like that, particularly when they don't end in "I had to sell it before finishing it". Oddly enough, I was just up in Brisbane picking up some parts for my whippet! I also found a guy in Inverell NSW who was a paddock full of 1000+ rusty cars, many dodges, chevs, fords and whippets to be found.

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