Our previous two articles explained that a properly executed car project be well-thought out in advance. Again, ‘know your outcome’ before you begin, and budget resources wisely.
Now, we’ll explore another key consideration that’s necessary – who will do the work? Obviously, because the first two rules are intertwined, the project will mandate that certain criteria be met. Either you are going to do some or all of the work, or you’re going to pay someone else to do it.
If you’re going to use ‘sublet vendors’, i.e. other garages, to do the work, then our discussion here would be limited to allocation of the proper resources to achieve this. You’re gonna pay the man! And, if he or his crew is any good at what they do, you will gladly pay them. They have years of experience that comes with a price called ‘mistakes’. They’ve also amassed an impressive collection of tools, equipment, and insider knowledge such as knowing who to source parts needed for your particular project. They probably have a body rotisserie (we examined one in the previous article). Maybe a paint booth or frame rack.
Watch out for Free-lancers
There are shops out there that specialize in strictly Corvettes. Some shops will only work on Mopars. Some only work on classics, and won’t even discuss with you how to install that late model computer-controlled LS 6 engine into your 1984 Chevy El Camino. Some homework here will save grief, aggravation, and wasted dollars. Plan on ‘interviewing’ several shops that you might wish to use. Get references! The value of this alone cannot be overstated. Personal experience taught me this lesson. A ‘free-lance’ restoration and fabrication man might produce an outstanding example of ‘his work’ on his own private project, yet other customer-pay work may not be up to those same high standards. Been there, done that. We had to cut out an entire roll cage because of poor design and execution, lousy welds, and numerous other problems (such as steering the car!). A severe crash and rollover with this cage installed would not have protected the car’s occupants.
You’re going to do what?
Many, if not most auto enthusiasts want to get dirty and take a direct hands-on approach, rather than using their wallet to accomplish the same thing. We’ll explore this in greater detail in the next article. A primer here would prove useful. So, do YOU possess the requisite mechanical skills to work on this car? Really? (honesty counts!). Do you know a Macpherson strut from a ball joint? Let’s hope so! (if not, see Sublet Vendors above).
Let’s suppose you do possess the skills & mechanical aptitude. We still need to look at a few other critical pieces of this puzzle. The other resources in question are ‘the place, the time, and the money’.
You’d be amazed at some of the most incredible machinery that comes out of a total hole-in-the-wall shop. Likewise, dismayed with poor workmanship that comes out of supposedly high-end custom shops complete with in-house soda blasting, powder coating, and temp-controlled down draft paint booths. However, having a garage to work out of for the duration of the project build is very important. Cars that are relocated while disassembled don’t go back together so well. Perhaps you can rent the space reasonably. And, of course you’ve got this dollar figure factored in to the overall project build, right? But, will both the landlord and local ordinances allow you the freedom to perform the messy work needed?
We’ll be exploring many more pitfalls to avoid in coming articles. Questions? Comments? Please email me @ [email protected]