New Year’s Resolution: Don’t Touch It!!!

by | Dec 27, 2016

The majority of our restoration work at Sport and Specialty doesn’t drive or roll into the shop. Most of our work is pushed in on a transport dolly and unloaded unceremoniously in a variety of mismatched wood and cardboard boxes. Sometimes we even see parts loaded up in old laundry baskets.

The projects come to us in many shapes and forms

Sport and Specialty - Project Cars gone wrong

Sometimes, what starts out as a project car ends up as a parts car, sadly.

Mostly the parts are worn out, rusty and dusty. Occasionally, the pieces and portions were treated to some sort of amateur restoration, long lost its newly painted sheen, and was never tested for use afterwards in a running and driving automobile. Usually, if lucky, the original fasteners abound in discarded coffee and margarine containers. It takes more time and costs more to inspect and inventory all of these items when the car comes in this way.

Don’t get me wrong, this is our bread and butter, and I love seeing these pieces come in. What breaks my heart sometimes is that someone simply abandoned the project when they got in over their head, because this all looks kind of easy on TV.

Assessing the projects

One of my least favorites is going out and assessing cars that have been disassembled, yet have beautiful new wheels and tires. That’s restoration with a Visa card and just dumb. Many times, the new wheels are beginning to pit already and the tires show no wear – but expired two years ago. The last thing done in car restoration should be new wheels and tires.

My professional advice is simple on this topic – if you own or find a major restoration candidate, stop right now! Take a deep breath and think for a few minutes. Most projects start out with extreme enthusiasm and the best of intentions.

Getting some advice

Call someone who has done this before, amateur or professional, and discuss how to best go about this serious undertaking. A detailed budget, a plan, some working room, organizational skills, and patience are as essential as mechanical skills. Don’t explode the car and figure out the rest later, it’s a sure recipe for disaster unless you’ve done a few of these.

Before you start taking it apart…

Finally, I try to relate to the owners of new projects that once you take them apart, they’re worth even less than that great deal you negotiated. Remember, a car in a million pieces is called a project, and worth a small portion of the finished product. On the other hand, a car that’s really rough – but still assembled – is called a barn find and can somehow be worth hundreds of thousands of dollars.

So, take that deep breath, do a little homework, and leave the dust on until you’re ready!

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