to modify or restore your car, for beginners.
Picking your Project
So you've decided you want to make some custom modifications to
your car, or attempt a restoration project. This series of articles
can help anyone who is intent on modifying, customising, or tailoring
their car to their own tastes.
This information is intended for a complete beginner to automotive
bodywork.Throughout I will try to explain everything clearly with
pictures and examples so even if you have never touched a spanner
you can get some decent results for little price.
First of all, and this is very important, you need a plan. I have
worked on many varying projects and learnt the hard way that plans
are essential. Oh, yeah you will make mistakes. Here is what you
need to figure out for your plan.
Is it worth it?
There is nothing more depressing than seeing some clapped out
rust heap 1.0 litre shopping cart come screeching around a corner
with a ridiculous rear spoiler and comical paint job being driven
by some 18 year old freak of nature. Don't do it.
What do I want?
Do you want a piece of automotive art with immaculate gold dipped
exhausts and a million dollar paint job? If so, don't do it yourself,
at least not yet. If you try to do something like this first you
will inevitably end up disappointed, think small.
If however you are looking to really improve your car and have
something you can be proud of, and also learn a new rewarding
and valuable skill, this is a good start.
What is realistic?
Most people are going to be constrained by a budget of some sort.
However with a bit of lateral thinking and common sense you can
get a long way on relatively little. I'll try and tell you all
the tips I have learnt. If you know of any more please e-mail
them to me and I will add them to this article, and credit you
with the information.
Another common constraint is time and skill. If you need to drive
your project daily as you work on it you're going to have to keep
the jobs bite sized.
Ideally you need a fully enclosed garage with room to move around
the car, something to think about when your buying a project car
is: How big is my garage?
If you do have the luxury of a large garage and another mode of
transport you can tackle some of the serious stuff and really
get your hands dirty.
What are my goals?
Do you want a custom interior, exterior, or both. Do you want
to stop rust, or do a simple restoration? Decide what your goals
are for the project, while remembering the other steps to a plan.
As I said before, most people are going to be working to some
sort of budget. Budgets are a relative term when it comes to vehicle
customising, for these articles I'm going to keep the budget as
low as possible. Only because there is so much information already
out there for high budget builds, obviously, there's more money
I will try and give price estimates in both US dollars and Pound
Sterling just so you have a rough guide which can help you with
One of the most important thing to remember about your budget
is: You will go over budget. Unless you set your budget stupidly
high you will almost definitely go over budget.
Write out your goals and plan clearly and neatly and put them
up in your garage ready to work to and then go look for a project.
You may need to alter your plan once you get the car home, but
it does act as a guide.
Picking your Project