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10 Tips for Your Next Restoration

Thinking about tackling a new project? Moss has some tips to turn those thoughts into success. As Home Depot says, you can do it, we can help. Summer is closer than you think, so now is the time to start preparing for those late-night cruises and fun weekends spent with family, friends and a great British classic.

1. HAVE A PLAN: Before you even pick up a wrench or place that first order, do you have a rough idea of where the project is heading? Will it be a full restoration, or just a quick fix to get a car back on the road? The better the initial plan, generally the better the final product.

2. Know the Rules: Whether your ride will be a street car, race machine or concours star, there are rules to be followed, so make sure you know them up front. Depending on the city and state, street cars have to meet specific standards regarding emissions and safety equipment. No matter what the sanctioning body, all race cars are bound by volumes of rules. Even if it’s going to be a show car, there are standards to meet regarding originality.

Keep your goals realistic. Sure, maybe you’d like to do a frame-off, ground up restoration, but the fact that you work 60-hour weeks means that a simpler path to summer drives is more prudent.

3. Be Reasonable: Don’t bite off more than you can chew. Your daily schedule and workplace can dictate the pace and scope of the project. Keep your goals realistic. Sure, maybe you’d like to do a frame-off, ground-up restoration, but the fact that you work 60-hour weeks means that a simpler path to summer drives is more prudent. If the body is okay, for example, why not just get the mechanical bits up to snuff and enjoy a little patina?

4. Budget Wisely: Create a realistic budget for time, money and workspace—and then add in a fudge factor since projects always seem to devour more of all three than planned. For a list of the needed parts and their current prices, your Moss Motors catalog is your best friend.

5. Keep Subassemblies Together: When it’s time to start the project, there’s an urge to disassemble the entire car. Don’t. Keep the major subassemblies bolted together until you’re ready to tackle that part of the project. First, the method saves space in the garage. Second, you won’t forget how the brakes go back together while you spend a few months redoing the engine and interior.
6. Know the Catalog: Even though our classics left the showrooms decades ago, there are constant releases of new replacement parts. Before you spend hours restoring a tattered part or dismiss a project as impossible, consult the Moss Motors catalogs. You might be surprised how often new parts are added to the ever-expanding lineup.

7. Regularly Work on the Car: A stalled project is a doomed project. Set a regular schedule for working on the car. If you just have an hour per night to work in the garage, only plan jobs that take an hour. And if you get stuck, seek help from a trusted friend or local pro. Don’t let one roadblock stop the entire project.

8. Make it Social: There’s no reason to do this all alone—get your friends and family involved. Even if they’re new to this, there are plenty of easier jobs available that make great starter projects: buffing, bead-blasting, or just cleaning up the workspace. Even if they don’t have any interest in getting their hands dirty, sometimes a little companionship in the garage goes a long way. Remember, family time doesn’t have to always occur at the kitchen table or in front of the TV.

9. Have a Goal: Having a definite deadline can help keep the project on schedule and make it reasonable. While planning to take a just-restored car on a 1,000-mile rally might result in some sleepless nights, getting the car drivable enough to attend a local British car day or cruise-in might be more realistic.

10. Fine-Tune: Most projects come up a little short because they’re not properly sorted out once they’re put back together. Leave some time and money in the budget for testing and fine-tuning, either by you or a shop. Consider professional dyno testing so you can check readings and tweak performance to perfection. Sure, it costs a few dollars, but the money spent might make the difference between owning a cranky old car and having a purring kitten that provides years of enjoyment.

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