A classic car restoration project should be carried out in stages.
The first stage will be sourcing a suitable car to restore, followed by finding a suitable workshop to work in, acquiring the tools and equipment to do the job, bringing the car home, and taking the time to get to know it before starting work.
Once these stages have been completed and the car is safely in the workshop, the restorer should carry out a thorough inspection of the vehicle to attain a clear picture as possible of the challenges that lie before them.
Theoretically, from that point, the restoration project can get underway, although caution should always be exercised.
Too many beginner restorers, overwhelmed by enthusiasm, make the classic mistake of rushing in with both feet to get their dream project underway- without giving too much thought or planning of how the stages and costs involved in the project
Unfortunately, this lack of restraint can prove to be a massive mistake. A mistake that can cause, at best, a temporary hold-up and, at worst, the complete cancellation of the restoration project in its tracks long before it can be successfully completed.
This regrettable situation is s caused by the restorer’s lack of interest or capability to create a work schedule or a comprehensive budget for their project.
Restorers who work on purely on instinct, without a basic work schedule, will very soon find their project in a state of confusion—working in the dark while not necessarily fatal, will take a lot of pleasure out of the project, as the restorer spends more time putting out fires than actually working on restoring the vehicle.
Getting underway without having a proper in-depth budget can amount to an even larger confusion and crisis -enough even to force the restorer to abandon the project when their funds dry up mid-stream.
Although it might detract from the glamour of restoring a car, the reality is that a joint budget/schedule must be put together before the job gets properly underway - although funds should be set aside to leave some “wriggle room” for the unexpected.
Anyone with reasonable planning ability and sufficient technical knowledge should soon find that setting up a restoration project that will adhere rigidly to its restoration plan should not be an impossible task. Before a screw is turned, whatever time and expense it will take to prepare such a plan will be more than justified.
With the car safely in the workshop and after the owner/restorer has completed a thorough inspection of all aspects of the vehicle, they should have a pretty accurate picture of what needs to be done and in the order in which it should be carried out.
With an eye to the budget, crucial decisions will need to be made is how much of this work can be done in house. While the prospect of saving money will always be appealing, what must always be considered is the restorer’s skill levels and the equipment and tools they have at their disposal.
Assuming that the restoration schedule demands that some of the work be farmed out to more expertise. In that case, the restoration plan and work schedule must be closely coordinated to prevent or at least minimise any overlaps, preventing costly and annoying hold-ups.
As is the case with preparing a restoration budget, the restorer should never feel that it is beneath their dignity to take advantage of advantages in digital technology to help them prepare the restoration schedule. The days of scribbling notes on the back of a fag packet should be well past us. There is no shame in arriving at the workshop or a potential sub-contractor carrying a laptop or tablet.