Carl Heideman
Carl Heideman
9/18/20 9:00 a.m.

For the past few years, you’ve poured your life, soul and wallet into restoring your classic car. So far, things have gone pretty well. You’ve done most of the work yourself, hiring only a few professionals along the way when you haven’t had the time, skills or equipment. 

The day finally comes when you go for that first ride, and it’s quite a thrill. But the adrenaline soon wears off as one fact becomes apparent: The car isn’t quite up to your expectations. 

Subconsciously, you table the project. You drive it every now and then—you might even take it to a few shows and pick up some awards—but the reality is that you question whether all that time, energy, and cash was truly worth it.

This scenario is all too common. 

Of course, there are many variations on this theme. Sometimes it’s an at-home restoration, other times it’s a complete professional job, but the bottom line is that many classics end up this way. You’d think that hundreds—sometimes even a thousand—hours of work would lead to better results, but too often reality doesn’t match the dream.

There is good news: It’s rare that such disappointments are due to a failed restoration or shoddy execution. Usually they’re the result of stopping the work just a little too soon. Sorting should be that final step.

Sorting is really just a kind term for fixing mistakes and making adjustments. When we restore a car, we like to set aside about 10 percent of the budgeted time and money for this process. Generally speaking, the most important part of a restoration is not the first 90 percent of the job, but the last 10 percent. That 90 percent must be done well, of course, but topping it off with the sorting process makes it all worthwhile.

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9/19/20 2:02 p.m.

I turned 16 in 1970 and bought a blue MG 1100 from Larkin Motors on 9th Street in Bradenton, Florida.  I got hired by them to be their errand boy and car washer - a  job that I loved.  In 1971 I traded in the 1100 for the 1968 MG Midget shown below (unfortunately, this is my only photo of that car).  Seeing the article above brought back so many fond memories and fun times that I had in that beautiful car.  The Primrose Yellow exterior with black interior has always been my favorite combination, and I love the stripped bumper with fog lights on the car above!  I wish that I had the skill to do these things, but it is not my gift.  I now get to drive a 2008 Miata MX-5, which is the closest thing to my old MG.



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