Top 10 list for restoration
1. Don’t completely disassemble the car the first weekend! Make a plan
a. Make a decision on what kind of project this is. Resto mod? Nut and
bolt resto? Nice driver? Your budget, time and resources will dictate this.
b. Create a working timeline that allows you to visualize the order in
which you will complete the car. Body before paint, engine rebuild before
c. Every time you go into the garage to work, have a list of what you
want to accomplish. You will dream about this stuff…helps to get it on
d. Repair one part at a time. This keeps the project small and feasible.
Rather than looking at the engine bay and passing out….take on the
windshield wiper motor, then the wiper fluid tank, and so on.
2. Buy a set of shop manuals specific to your car. This is key to
understanding how parts go together and apart:
3. Get Organized:
a. Buy a Good DSLR camera, and take lots of photos…you never have enough.
Document the before, during and after. Organize them on your computer.
b. Plastic divider boxes for hardware. This is a better way to keep and
organize parts. Sandwich bags are only good when you are doing the initial
deconstruction. Clean them up and get them into the plastic boxes:
c. Get Shelves: in your attic, garage, closets, etc. Label boxes, group
parts and shelve them. A disassembled car takes up way more space than an
assembled car. I liked to use plastic totes…as they don’t fall apart and
d. Take Notes/drawings. lots of them. Keep questions together.
e. Keep a binder. Put all your questions, notes, drawings, vendors,
receipts, etc, in a binder.
f. Keep a list of vendors, with notes about each. Network locally for
guys who know what they are doing. Ask around at car shows about painters,
engine builders, etc. Do lots of interviewing. NPD is a Mustang parts
supplier…many of their parts interchange with Torino and are much much
h. Start a Spreadsheet with expenses/source. Nice to see what you’ve got
into the car and also a running list of what you have and haven’t bought
4. Don’t rebuild the drivetrain too early: these parts come with
warranties…which run out if your project drags on. My engine sat rebuilt
for 3 or 4 years. That’s not good.
5. Bench fire/tune your engine. I didn’t do this…as I didn’t want to mess
with it. Would have been much easier and less of a headache in the long
run. For many reasons…
6. Tools: Some really nice tools to have include; Quality Air compressor,
Sand blasting cabinet, ratcheting box wrenches, dremel tool, bench vise,
good socket set, shop to work in. Harbor Freight is great for the
expendables: sand paper, rubber gloves, zip ties, etc. take your chances
7. Learn how to paint. “Spray bombs” (spray paint) are ok…for some things.
But using a spray gun or powder coating is preferred for high impact/use
items. You can do this with a good compressor and gun…and some trial and
8. Cheapo: Sometimes going cheap is not good. I learned this the hard way
with a distributor. Pay a little more for key components that are rebuilt
9. Use the TC Forum: ask lots of questions; refer to past posts, etc. I
learned so much on there!
10. Have fun: easy to get caught up and frustrated. Take breaks, work on
easy stuff and come back to the hard stuff. These projects are not easy,
cheap or perfect…otherwise everyone would do one.
Top 10 list for restoration