Steps to Restoring a Classic Car

If your dream has always been to restore a classic car to its former glory, make sure you go about it the right way from the start. Nothing is more frustrating than having to redo work that wasn’t completed properly the first time around.

Document Everything

Everything that comes out of or off of the car needs to be carefully documented with notes and pictures and diagrams. You can’t take too many pictures. Even if you have years of experience working with classic cars, there are details that will get lost over the months of restoration. Take pictures from every angle and before and after removing bumpers, dashboard instruments, door panels, engine, etc. Keep two systems of documentation for every piece you remove.

Fix What You Can

Keep everything that you plan to refurbish or rebuild yourself and send the rest of the parts off to experts who will do the same. For example, you may be able to rebuild the engine but prefer an expert in car paint restoration Decatur IL to repaint the frame. Make a list of whatever can’t be made new again and send off for replacement parts immediately so that you have all the pieces as you’re ready for them.

Put It Back Together

Once the frame is complete, it’s time to start putting the internal pieces back in one-by-one. Complete the installation of the mechanical systems like the engine and transmission before moving onto the electrical systems. Check each system with a portable battery as it’s installed. Move onto the interior trim and carpeting and then the windshields. After the doors are on, install the door glass and the seats. Finally, put the bumpers back on.

Once your car is ready for a spin, keep it on neighborhood streets for its first few outings just to make sure it really is roadworthy. Once it’s 100% up to snuff, enjoy your classic car on the highway and at numerous classic car rallies across the country.


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