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Restoration Project Planning

I have to admit that I hate this phase. I generally have an idea in my head of what I want to do with the car, and I'm more interested in getting started working than sitting around thinking about things. This being said, project planning is an integral part of the restoration process. Why? Because this allows you to ensure that you're doing the right things at the right time based on the desired outcome of the project.

Project Outcomes

Stock Restoration
From a planning perspective this is the easiest. You already know, down to each and every nut, exactly what the vehicle will look like. If you can find the original shop manual for the car and pair that with the technical services bulletin then it will not only be stock, but you'll be able to incorporate all the fixes and repairs that would have been done at the factory.
Councours Restore
While a Concours Restore is very similar to a stock restore, the differences can be very costly both in time and money. A Concours restore is generally done for a car that will compete for authenticity against many other vehicles of the same make and model. The idea is that the car is exactly the same as it would have been when it came from the factory/dealer. This doesn't just mean year/made/model specificity, but also highly specific to the vehicle itself. For example, if you have documentation that the vehicle came from the dealer with add-ons such as matching luggage or other items like that, you'll need to ensure that you can find/restore those items as well. This type of restoration can be hugely expensive. I recommend that you would only try to do this for a car with a very high value at project completion.
Resto-Mod
Resto-Mods are highly varied. What differentiates them is the number of items on the vehicle that wouldn't have been present in a stock vehicle. Some of these are minor items, which won't be noticed by anyone other than a competetive judge. Others may be very obvious, like putting a completely different motor in the car. Many of my restorations straddle the stock/resto-mod line. They have basic safety upgrades that drastically improve the vehicle, but still remain true to the original car. Some good examples of this are Brake system upgrades (converting drum to disk brakes, installing a dual master cylinder instead of a single), Basic saftey upgrades (adding or improving seat belts, adding an extra or brighter set of brake lights) and simple power/performance/efficiency upgrades (better spark coils, bigger cerburetors, MSD ignitions, 6 to 12 volt conversions).
Complete custom cars
These types of restorations may vary wildly from the original vehicle. Some common examples are chopping/modifying the body, wild engine swaps/upgrades, modernized interiors, computer controls, DVD players in the car, etc. etc. The outcome on something like this is limited solely by your imagination.

Planning Based on Outcomes

The reason why the final outcome it most important is it gives you a good clean picture of the final product in your mind to measure the existing vehicle against. With this in mind you can properly evalutate and dismiss ideas as they come during the evaluation. For example, if you know you're going to convert your car from 6 volt to 12 volt, worrying about the existing electrical system is a minimal item vs. an important item during the dissasembly. Also, it helps frame the types of costs you will encounter during the project.

Because In-Situ restorations vary from Frame-Off ones, we will discuss them on separate pages.

In-Situ Project Planning | Frame-Off Project Planning

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Contents copyright 2008, 2009 - Jody F. Kerr

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