LAST month, we started the final phase of classic car restoration by talking about servicing and re-fitting various components including the drivetrain, suspension, brakes as well as wiring, which is the lifeline of an automobile.
This means, that now, you would have a gorgeous looking classic with a fresh coat of paint and most importantly, with a perfectly tuned engine that starts at first crank.
Basically, everything underneath the car, as well as in the engine bay is now fitted, with the exception of other bits and pieces, as well as a refurbished interior that will add character to your classic.
These parts include exterior parts such as the grille, bumpers, door handles and so on.
These parts can be replaced with brand new ones, or you can get away by refurbishing or re-chroming them.
Refitting these parts is actually the best part of the restoration, other than actually driving the restored car.
This segment is also very straightforward. When you refit these parts, please make sure that you do it carefully.
The last thing you need right now is a scratch or a dent on the bodywork. Just like the rest of the restoration phase, take your time. Be as gentle as possible.
You are also advised to change all the nuts, bolts and screws and make sure to use spring washers to ensure that these nuts, bolts and screws don't come lose under pressure in the future.
Older ones are most probably worn, with tired threads. You can get new ones at specialised hardware stores that offer a wide range of sizes and types.
When getting these often-taken-for-granted parts, it would be worth spending for high quality. Lower quality hardware may look good, but will rust within days. Some may even break under pressure because of questionable material quality.
When fitting them, also make sure to tighten them equally, and don't over-tighten to prevent fragile parts, such as the tail light lens from breaking.
When fitting electrical parts such as head lights, ensure that both positive and negatives ends are appropriately connected. For some parts like chrome linings, try to use original attachment clips and if possible do not modify, by way of re-riveting them to fit.
For some cars that have chrome linings that are rather long in length, it's better to get it professionally fitted. Without experience, you can end up ruining the delicate part.
This is the same when installing windshields. Also don't forget to use original rubber pieces that will last longer.
Good quality rubber pieces are also recommended for door rubbers and for other areas. After fitting, perform a leak test by pouring water on various parts of the car.
If there is leakage, be sure to get it rectified before moving onto fitting the interior of your classic.
|Low grade materials can fade after a couple of days of parking under the sun.
Although you can actually fit the above mentioned parts on your own, the interior requires a professional. It is difficult to get hold of brand new interior parts and if you can't, you will have to settle with fabricating new ones.
Before the car is sent to the re-upholsterers, you would need to select the colour of the interior. Perform a quick check on the Internet for original interior colours of your vehicle, and make your pick.
I advise you to use high quality materials.
Certain low grade materials can fade after a couple of days of parking under the sun.
Do make sure that the upholsterers use heat-resistant mats before fitting the carpet and the headliner. Certain upholsterers can fabricate seat covers as well as door cards that feature original designs.
However, for some classic cars, such as the Mercedes W123 or the Mini, you can get original seats and door cards in good nick at scrappies, or even on eBay.
You can also do the same for other parts of the interior, such as the dashboard, and you may be amazed with the results.
Also make sure you are buying or ordering the right part for the right model.
Overall, I advise you to keep the interior as original as possible, as you would spend most of your time in the car.
The interior feel has to evoke the nostalgic atmosphere of the original classic.
You are close to getting your classic car on the road.
We are almost done.
Next month, we will talk about what to look out for when you test-drive your classic for the first time.