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How to Restore

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Guest cigarsmoker

I was curious if anyone and everyone could recommend a book or series of books that cover the "how to" process. Perhaps a textbook type publication that would cover for the hobbyist what is involved and how do I do a ground up restoration. Where do I start? What tools and resources do I need. What can I do and what will I need to sublet? I am not talking about a Chiltons or shop manual. Something that would cover things like interior removal. Your thoughts would be appreciated. Thank you for reading this.


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There are numerous books out there on restoration, many of them are marque specific, such as Model A and such.

In simple words, take the car apart, taking pictures and notes, and keeping all parts organized (large parts tagged, small parts in small paper bags, all identified with what it fits and where....never assume you'll "remember" how to put it back together).

After car is apart, start putting it back together again in reverse order, restoring each component to new, or in some cases better than new, before installation.

Farm out the big jobs you can't do yourself, usually this means chrome, paint, upholstery, and possibly engine work.

Have a big dose of patience, and a bigger balance in your checking account. Make friends with the UPS man, you'll see a lot of him as you buy parts and pieces from around the country.

Calculate how much you think it'll cost to restore, and how long it will take. Multiply each number by 4 or 5, and you'll be close.

Most of all, have fun, and drive the car once it's restored! These aren't paperweights we're collecting.....

Edited by trimacar
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Obviously a Marque specific that matches your needs would be ideal, but is not always available. There are a few "general restoration" guides but I would only buy one, as they are all pretty much the same and really, what David says in one post is what they will tell you, along with some specifics - regarding whatever the subject vehicle is.

If you are looking for a good one of these, check out Cars & Parts publication "The Ressurection of Vicky" which covers a mid - fifties Ford Crown Victoria, I am sure it is no longer in print but probably not too hard to find on the Internet. The subject vehicle is postwar, and you will get an idea from that.

Another thought, the magazine "Skinned Knuckles" is restoration oriented and very good. You can buy up a lot of 60 or so of these on the forum right now. Better money spent than a handful of redundant general guides.

One additional suggestion - even if you avoided it before due to cost, lack of interest or whatever, definately join whatever national and regional clubs are applicable to your car. If you plan something as major as a restoration, even if you do not do it yourself or plan on farming out a lot of it, there is no substitute for the knowledge of those who have been there with your car. Once into it your real sources of information will be club members, especially those clubs with a technical director, factory publications and forums like this one.

Good Luck with it!

Edited by Steve_Mack_CT
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