Part 2 of 5 – Is Your Pride Ride a Goner?
Here are some rules of thumb and warning signs you can use to help discern the hard-won victory of a beautiful showpiece from a never-ending money pit.
Chassis and Body
In terms of car restoration, there are certain areas where simply replacing parts and panels can go too far. A warped undercarriage, totaled frame or similar large-body details can seem easy to fix, but when dealing with such large pieces of metal, it’s often the case that internal stresses over many decades can destroy the body so fully that what appears to be a show-quality machine is nothing more than a thin memory of the car’s original state.
It’s important to stay in touch with your original plans for undertaking this project: Are you after a street-legal vehicle you can drive? Are you looking for a classic show or collection piece that doesn’t move? These decisions are essential at the outset and should remain at the forefront of any financial decisions that you make.
Problems that can come into play, other than the body and frame, is in the large-piece panels that make up the roof, sides and the car’s insides. Since you’re repairing and rebuilding your machine in order to be looked at, it can be easy to overlook the quality of these panels as long as they’re repaired and can be painted in a pleasing way.
It can be difficult to find panels that haven’t been nearly rusted through. Repairing these damaged parts can be tricky, and most of us have neither the skills nor the inclination for doing the large-scale metalwork necessary to repair them. Even tracking down better versions and having them shipped can become difficult and costly, thanks to their size and scarcity. Remember that back doors, hoods, sides and roofs are all exposed to the elements for decades, and finding the perfect piece could verge on impossible.
Be smart! Keep your budget in mind. It’s not giving up if you decide the expense and labor aren’t going to be outweighed by the pleasure you’ll get from completing the project.