russde New Reader
6/17/11 11:36 a.m.

Not a British military medal

Let's say you picked up a classic that hasn't run in 12 years (make/model doesn't matter, pick one). Everything needs attention, suspension, brakes, steering, engine, transmission, interior, paint, etc. In what order would you repair/replace major areas? Are there any spreadsheet type lists/checklists you have found useful?

Specifics now. I purchased a '70 Corvette coupe, automatic with base engine. Numbers match, but it will be getting a 5 speed and I'll most likely pull the original engine and keep it safe while installing an aluminum headed generic 355 maybe a 383 stroker. No other firm plans at this point just assessing the damage (some rust repair in the windshield frame so far).



rconlon HalfDork
6/17/11 11:51 a.m.

Russel: It depends on whether you plan a rolling restoration or all out attack to get a finished product before driving the car. For rolling restorations, I would suggest that you get the car into very good mechanical shape first. This would be year one. When it is reliable, then you tackle the body and interior. I have seen too many beautiful cars that constantly broke down and frustrated the owner when they made it pretty first. The all out restoration can take a several years with it off the road but you end up with a finished car that you can drive 500 miles to a show. You strip the car and do the body work while you assemble/rebuild/purchase the mechanicals. Cheers Ron

Leo  Basile
Leo Basile Reader
6/17/11 3:42 p.m.


Start from the inside out.

racerdave600 HalfDork
6/17/11 4:27 p.m.

I'm on restoration number 3 and I will tell you what has worked for me. No idea if it is correct or not. I start by stipping the car entirely, or as far as you are going to take it. I label and box everything and take pictures of every task before disassembly.

I tackle the bodywork next and then send it to the paint shop. At this point, I may have done the suspension. I've done it both ways and didn't notice much difference.

While the body is away, I do the motor and other mechanical parts. When the body returns, I rebuild the brakes by starting the master cylinder install and go from there. Then I reinstall the motor and mechanical bits, the interior, and then the exterior pieces last.

Like I say, not sure if it is correct, but it's worked for me.

russde New Reader
6/18/11 9:33 a.m.

Thanks for the input so far guys R

Karl La Follette
Karl La Follette Dork
6/18/11 11:39 a.m.

oldtin Dork
6/20/11 9:36 a.m.

I've got a 63 triumph tr4 that's getting a budget makeover. The bodywork is getting attention first - mainly because it's going to take more time than the mechanical end of things. While the body parts are still off the car, I'll go after the mechanical bits. They will be more accessible and I won't have to worry about screwing up new paint. Once it's working, I might pull the engine out and redo the engine bay and clean up the eng/trans. Not planning on pulling the tub off the frame at this point - but you never know when the "might as well" bug hits (and the bug that can instantly multiply your restoration costs). Definitely use baggies and photos for parts/bolts. You think you'll remember how things go won't.

AngryCorvair SuperDork
6/21/11 3:20 p.m.

my recipe for success is not much different from the first few posters: - get it running - if it's got brake pedal, flush fluid through all four corners. - drive it to see what else needs fixing, make a list, prioritize it, and get to work - if i haven't lost interest and sold it by then, i'd send it out for paint (i've done that twice in 30 years of driving, LOL)

russde New Reader
6/27/11 1:01 p.m.

Thanks for the input folks. I have the interior torn apart right now to rid it of mouse nests and squirrel 'leavings' (you'd be amazed at how many pecan shells they can stuff in the storage compartment) but did decide to reverse gears on the engine plans...almost got it started this weekend, needs a little ignition troubleshooting. I've ordered all new (rebuilt) brake parts so that when I get it started I'll be able to stop it. Cheers! Russel

Our Preferred Partners