No one is born with the skills to restore a classic car; rather they are gained over time and through trial and error. But there’s no argument—we all started in the same place. Mark Simpson discusses with Terry Wright what it takes to get started in the hobby and be successful at it.
It begins with a level of self-analysis and understanding what skills you have, what skills you want to learn, and what tasks you prefer others to take on. Developing a plan that includes a budget of time, space, and money is an important first step, as most classic car body restoration projects take longer and cost more than expected, and any car will take up two to three times more space once it’s completely disassembled. Terry stresses it’s important to fully educate yourself on the restoration process before turning the first wrench, whether it’s online videos or advice from other car enthusiasts.
Of course, there is no substitute for hands-on learning as well: they stress the importance of actually rolling up your sleeves and learning by doing. They point out that you’ll make a mistake once in a while, but with every mistake comes an opportunity to learn and become a better car restorer.
Both agree technology today has made it much easier to learn the processes to restore almost any component on a classic car, and it has also made locating hard-to-find parts much faster. Anyone with unlimited funds can have a car restored, but there is a different level of pride in doing most of the work yourself.