So you’ve gone and done it…purchased a rusted hulk of automobile that once was an Austin Healey timeless work of art. It takes a large and vivid imagination to envision what your hard work is going to produce, but it is possible to have a successful Austin Healey restoration… if you follow a few solid, well thought out guidelines that will help you keep your temper from flaring and the dog from hiding out when it erupts.
1. Do Your Homework
First things first, research, research, research. There is no step more important than this. Compile a complete list of resources before you start your restoration project, and your headaches will be minimized. For example, where are you going to get parts for a vehicle that’s 50 years old or more? Are they even available? If not, who has replacement parts? Is it going to be affordable for me to have them shipped from overseas, if that’s where I have to order from?
Are you going to restore your gem to original specifications? How about the paint colors, dials, fabrics, mirrors, knobs, tires, etc… The list goes on and on. Research is going to be your key to success and if you skip this part, it could be a recipe for disaster. Fortunately, there are many different avenues you can take while doing your research, such as the local library, the internet and possibly making friends with a car restoration expert. Either way, there are resources out there. Use them to your advantage.
2. The Handyman’s Garage
Another very important part of restoring your new project has to do with tools. Do you have what you’re going to need to complete every step of the rebuilding? Complete restoration projects will require a welder, specific wrenches, a hoist, just to name a few. It would be disappointing to get halfway through the process and find that you have to spend a large amount of money on another tool, let alone the cost of telling the missus. Be sure you have what you need, or know where to get it.
Unless you’re an old hand at restoring Austin Healeys, or any classic car for that matter, it’s a good idea to have some documentation on hand, whether it’s a large manual or videos specific to the car you’re restoring. For example, without wiring schematics, it can be quite a challenge when it’s time to get all the electrical components working correctly.
3. Let’s Be Honest
One final tip: Are you looking at this restoration through rose-colored glasses? Do you have the capabilities to see it through to fruition? Remember to be bluntly honest with yourself. Classic car restoration is not for the faint of heart. It will take perseverance and dedication to see it through, but what a fantastic gem you will have when you complete the project, as well as a well-deserved feeling of satisfaction.
It takes a special type of person to take on restoring classic cars. If you are intent on creating a beautiful piece of work out of a pile of metal and wires, don’t make the mistakes that rookies make.