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Restoration Step ONE or Step TWO?


1937hd45

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There is a good thread on restoring cars for a living, which leads me to ask the following question, do you totally rebuild the engine and running gear first or do the bodywork? Pre War and Post War cars may effect your answer. If the project dies, and you have to sell it half way through, would a great looking body sell quicker than an unrestored one with rebuilt mechanicals? Personally I like to do the fun part first and have a nice paint job to look at, it doesn't have to run to make me happy. Bob

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Guest dminer

We feel just the opposite as you, Bob. We like to have a running project. Being able to jump in and go for a ride keeps the interest going, especially for my wife. So I always do mechanical work first, painting and detailing it as we go, get her inspected and on the road. Of course everything we've ever done were all 60's models and have no problem keeping up with traffic.

And, honestly, I like to come back from a cruise, pull in the garage and saay, "All this baby needs is some paint and watch out!"

I have friends that're more along what you like and I always think what good is a fresh coat on a car that doesn't run? Seems like painting a condemned house or something. Everyone's different! Thaat's what makes this hobby fun. You get to do what YOU like!

Dan

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Guest Xprefix28truck

Too many variables in that question...LOL. All depends on if you are going to do a complete restoration, or a frame on restoration. There aren't too many people that would completely paint the exterior, and get all the bright work done, just to take it all back off to do the frame and everythig else. Too easy to scratch everything up in that process. Mine was easy to decide. It was already in 100s of pieces. I have a 1928 Chevrolet half ton light delivery with a York pick up body. To date the frame is done, as well as the engine and transmission.

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The only real drawback to doing the engine/mechanicals first is if you have life interrupting your restoration. The engine could sit for a few years and the rings can get stuck to the cylinder walls, the brakes can get gummed up, etc. Ask me how I know.

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mechaics first - no question. When you have to move the car, just start it and drive it. This way you can keep the space clean and Move it around without worrying over binding brakes, low tires and fragile body bits when you have to push it around. IMHO. Also, The hoodhinge rear support on my Marmon 16 broke on me the other day after opening and shutting the hood a million times while going through the drivetrain. Hood fell, scratched the fender, cracked paint on the hood and would have cost me days of work if I had done the paint first.

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Guest BillP

I think it depends to some degree on your own preference or experience. A friend of mine, after retiring from Fisher Body some years ago, got a Model A in reasonable, older restoration condition. It didn't run all that well, overheated, needed a lot of sorting. First thing he did was new upholstery, second thing a new top. I never did see that thing run and drive.

Another acquaintance had an older Rolls, the car was pretty but mechanically untouched. It broke down a lot for simple things.

I like machines and the way they work so on my Packard, the plan is a perfect mechanical and cosmetic restoration of all the functional parts from drivetrain to wheels to Bijur to electrical to fuel system, etc., and leave the original paint and upholstery to the next guy. I've had show cars, they were cool at the time but I'm not that way anymore.

There's no right answer.

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It all depends on the particular car — and owner.

My 1912 KisselKar was an eight year project. Without having it on the road as a driving chassis at year four, and annual trips to visit a fellow in California with the near-identical car for research and wheel time, my Kissel would still be an unfinished disappointment.

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How about both at one time?! My Healey is of monococque, meaning you need to do the body and running gear at the same time since there is no separate chassis. And, believe me, it is a huge challenge to do it that way.

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