Restoration: Getting Started


I’m restoring a 1962 Pontiac Catalina four-door sedan. This is my first time restoring a classic car and I need help with things like what other vehicle would interchange parts. Needless to say, I have searched the web quite a lot and can hardly find any information for the car.

I want to replace the front drum brakes with disc brakes—what other vehicle would have the parts required?

I need to replace the trunk pan—would two-door pans fit the same?

Would it be better to sandblast the body or have it dipped?

I appreciate any help you can send my way.

-Hector Losier


Congratulations on your decision to enter the car restoration hobby, and the ’62 Pontiac Catalina is a great place to start. Yes, you’ll need to do a little more digging to find parts for your car—unlike our friends with Mustangs, Camaros, and Tri-Five Chevys, but when you’re done, you’ll have a distinctive car like few others in any show.

Finding parts for these can be a challenge, but not an overwhelming concern. Your Catalina shares many mechanical parts and some body parts (like glass) with other GM full-size cars of the period. A great place to start is to get a Hollander Interchange manual that covers your years. They do offer a set of manuals that specifically cover 1954–1966 passenger cars and light trucks.

Here is a link to their site:

There are multiple resources for brake conversion for your ride, from component sources like those offered by Scarebird or complete brake conversion kits like those offered by Master Power Brakes. Both of these manufacturers and many others will get the job done.

In my experience, the trunk pans on two-doors are almost always the same as the four-doors. I am not personally familiar with the ’62 Catalina, but I suspect that is the case, and it may even share the same trunk floor as other GM full-size cars.

Media blasting versus chemical dipping? There is a subject that could easily burn through a 12-pack between car guys. I have done both. Chemical dipping is extensive… if you plan to do the whole car, it will have to come off the frame and be stripped clean. Dipping is a lot of work, time, and expense, and I would only recommend it for cars that will have significant value when completed. For most restorations I prefer media blasting, although it’s important to find a blaster with experience blasting classic car sheet metal, as there is a skill to doing it right without warping the sheet metal.

Best of luck with your project!!

Wrench safe,

Reply to Nick R
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10 Responses to “Restoration: Getting Started”

  1. myronslyke

    I am replacing rear manual brakes on 54 Pontiac, any videos in the archive? to many pages to search eyes are wearing ?

    • Customer Service

      Hello Myron,
      Here’s what the experts had to say about your question:

      I am sorry to say we have not specifically done a video on 1954 Pontiac rear brakes.
      But you may find this resource helpful:
      It’s a web site with many original factory service manuals available to view for free.

      Please let us know if you have any further questions
      Classic Car Restoration Club Video Membership

  2. Bertha Fernandez

    I recently purchased a 54 chevy belair for my daily driver. It had been sitting for 6 years, do I need to strip it down to just the body and get rid of all rust or is it something I can do little by little. I was going to get brakes down first and get it running first. Money obviously is an issue. I do not need it to be a show car, it is mainly for my daughter and I to run errands.

    • Terry Hulsey

      In my experience it is best not to completely disassemble the car. When you do that the project often becomes overwhelming. I prefer to get it running first because if it doesn’t run it won’t matter whether the brakes work or not. Be sure that after it is running all hoses (including brake flex hoses) are replaced. From there do the body work a spot at the time. Unless you are needing complete floor pans this will allow you to drive the car as you repair it.

  3. Jim Hoffman

    My parents had a ’62 Catalina. It was the first car I was able to borrow when I got my drivers license. And, the first car I (you know) with my girlfriend. Plenty of room in that front seat. Car pic looks great

  4. Leo Kiefer

    I have a 1954 Oldsmobile. Nice shape but the interior door handles and window cranks are pitted. Getting them rechromed is outta sight. Where can you buy new replacements?

    • Customer Service

      Hi Leo,

      Thank you for contacting us.

      Here is a web site for you to begin with:

      Good Luck and share the pic’s when it complete.

      If you have any further questions, please contact Customer Service at 1-855-706-3534, at your earliest convenience, or chat with us on our site.

      We greatly appreciate your business!


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  5. Bill

    I purchased a 1965 Barracuda 273 that actually runs! I redid all the brakes took it for a ride. Where is the best place to start a restore? Thanks