Almost every motor enthusiast has a deep fondness for a classic car or two! You may dream about driving an automotive masterpiece, but a lot of hard work goes into making it a reality. Classics often need heavy restoration- auto body repair for classic cars requires effort.
You don’t have to look at classic car restoration as a challenge. Think of it as a project that you can tackle with the right information and guidance.
Here’s what you need to know about classic car restoration.
The Overall Condition of the Classic
Before you read further, it’s important to know that most professionals rate classic cars on a 100-point scale.
In terms of restoration, if a car scores a 100, it’s in perfect condition. On the other hand, if it scores anything below 20, you cannot restore it to functionality.
There are four general conditions that you can achieve when restoring your car. Each of these is ideal for different purposes and fits within different budgets.
If you aim to drive your classic car, you need to restore it to running condition. It will most probably need professional help, cosmetic adjustments, and some replacement parts.
You may also want to add some customizations for convenience. For example, tweaking the exhaust system with mufflers or more.
Street Show Condition
Are you hoping to impress professionals, judges, or onlookers? In that case, your car will have to look brilliant and run well. You’ll have to focus a lot on the outside appearance of the car too.
On the 100-point scale, street show condition cars fall between 80 to 89 points.
Show Car Condition
The difference between street show condition and show car condition is that the latter requires even more attention.
Your restoration efforts will have to be more than just good looks and decent performance. Professional assistance and repairs will be important, as every aspect will require extra hard work.
Show cars are at least worth 90 to 95 points on the condition scale.
Concours condition is almost equal to perfection when it comes to auto body repair for classic cars. Such a condition is usually for cars that you don’t intend to drive. These classic cars go for auto shows or into private collections.
These cars have a rating that exceeds 95. You’ll need a seasoned restoration professional with the necessary equipment to reach this condition.
Restoring A Classic Car
Auto body repair for classic cars involves a lot of intricate steps. You’ll need skills and a keen eye to achieve ideal restoration.
It may sound daunting, but you need to break down the car and work on individual components. Once you’ve handled the repairs in distinct, orderly phases, you can readable the automobile.
Below, you’ll find the phases of auto body repair for classics.
First, you need to disassemble the car in an organized way.
The extent of taking the car apart varies according to the requirement of your project. It ranges from unscrewing a few parts to stripping the entire car down to the frame. You’ll most probably have to spend hours laboring during this stage.
It is vital to maintain an inventory of every component. Additionally, you may want to jot down the type of repair or replacement each part needs.
2. Sheet Metal Repair
You will find various techniques like beading, bending, or stamping for specialized metal forming in this phase.
- Beading: Suitable for crafting details on the classic car’s panels or edging
- Bending: Creates curved surfaces on the sheet metal; it can involve intricate work with machinery
- Stamping: Uses a stamping press with multiple dies and allows specializations in shapes or forms
3. Classic Car Fabrication
In terms of auto body repair for classic cars, fabrication can include several processes. Here are a few examples of the actions that come under fabrication:
- Repairing parts affected by corrosion
- Panel form corrections
- Fitting the suspension with the tires as well as wheels to ensure verification of the necessary clearance
- Taking care of anything affecting the engine, like removing broken bolts
The most significant task that’s a part of classic car restoration is the bodywork.
Your classic most likely has scratches, dents, and external damages or blemishes. These depend upon the age and general condition of the car. Additionally, you may also have to deal with corrosion.
When it comes to corrosion, you can handle smaller parts using acidic rust treatments. However, larger segments will need removal and replacement with fresh metal plates. Sill panels or arches are the most common areas that need such efforts.
Bodywork needs a lot of patience, accuracy, and skill. So, it is best to let a professional take care of this phase.
5. Paint and Touch-Ups
It is fun to paint, but things can get tricky when you’re painting a classic car. Car paint also poses a risk to your health. That is to say, unless you’re sure about what you need to do, let a professional take over.
A professional sprayer will ensure the originality and quality of the colors. They may also use a good primer or rust converter to remove the rust.
With a pro paint job, your classic car will look great and more authentic. An excellent paint job will boost the resale or show-value of your vehicle.
Finally, you need to put all the pieces of your classic car back together. It is similar to solving a puzzle- but you know what goes where.
You’ll be able to note all the work that the car has received. Assembly is time-consuming and complex. It can quickly turn into a nightmare if you make a mistake!
While this isn’t to discourage you, it’s better to let experts manage the assembly for accuracy and safety.
Have you set your sights on a classic car restoration project? That’s an exciting prospect, but make sure you are clear with what path to take. Auto body repair for classic cars is an intricate matter. So, keep in touch with seasoned professionals for the best results!