First car restoration project

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  • First car restoration project
  • I’m not a mechanic by any stretch, but have a niggle to give restoring car learning as I go.

    So what would be a good basic car to do a bit of restoration on?

    Mk2 escort mexico… Its what my dad was restoring when I was little, 2.0 EFI Turbo, used to spit fire about 3 feet out the exhaust and all the power straight to the rear wheels… OOOOh yes.

    monkey_boy
    Member

    an old original ‘proper’ mini, had great fun messing with my old one

    trail_rat
    Member

    depends what kind of restoration you want to do …

    rivet count concourse special or functional weekend fun ?

    take your budget and triple it – thats a rough costing

    globalti
    Member

    A Land Rover. Cheap, simple, everything is bolted together, plentiful spares and you can have fun when it’s finished.

    dazz
    Member

    something simple, original mini, mg bgt, spitfire, anything from pre mid 80’s. Nice simple mechanics.

    Got a Triumph Herald convertable to get rid of…..?

    summit not needing too much work to start with as it could take up a stupid amount of time. Then see how you feel after that

    Gary_M
    Member

    Citroen 2CV6

    Weekend fun and to just to learn how stuff works…

    mossimus
    Member

    A VW Beetle, not as cheap as thye once were but plenty of spare parts around.

    bigyinn
    Member

    You’ll need a dry garage with space for 2 cars. 1 space for the car, the other for all the bits you take off!

    Gary_M – Member
    Citroen 2CV6

    I used to want a 2cv till i saw this.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LUIxMIyExqE

    LHS
    Member

    I would second the mini suggestion, purely from a simplicity, part availability, cost point of view.

    I have restored

    1986 Mini Cooper
    1972 Mini 1275GT
    1975 MGBGT
    1935 Austin Seven Nippy
    1938 Armstrong Siddeley

    The Siddeley was by far the hardest.

    Premier Icon TPTcruiser
    Subscriber

    Have a look at the various classic car sites. There must be loads for minis and beetles. I went to a UK 2CV meeting near Cambridge a couple of years ago, well organised. Autojumbles like they have at Beaulieu or near Warwick.
    Father in law has a Triumph Vitesse he is restoring to rallying condition.

    Premier Icon Speshpaul
    Subscriber

    Welding, painting and mechnics, are the 3 big areas. a complete basket case will require all 3. Now thats a big undertaking.
    A mini or a beetle could be a total rot box. if you can’t weld its going to be costly.
    rather than restoring maybe look for something to to impove. someting with a MOT that you can enjoy driving, but still work on.

    Premier Icon ourmaninthenorth
    Subscriber

    I’ve owned a 1975 mini (my first car), which was insightful when it came to mechanics. A PITA on a wet night when it conked out…

    For me, I’d love one of these, but only for driving round in – I haven’t the time to service my bikes, let alone restore cars..!

    sobriety
    Member

    Classic Car Ownership = Welding or expensive bills for welding. They’re not all rotboxes but they do all rot, it’s just the nature of classic cars, and I’d expect any that you buy with an MoT without a thick wodge of receipts for bodywork and/or photos of restoration (and these ones will seem expensive for a reason!) to have ‘some’ areas that are mostly filler.

    Thanks for all of the input, maybe I’ll search out a functional but untidy car to do up first to break me in, rather than jumping in at the deep end.

    Premier Icon scaled
    Subscriber

    Cheap and easy way to get into restoring cars then you cant go far wrong with a mk1 MX5, will be good to drive about for a bit afterwards, parts are cheap and plentiful and its not rocket science.

    trail_rat
    Member

    i wouldnt be scared of welding tbh ….

    ive had my mig for about 15months and my welding gets better every time i use the thing – i dont get a huge amount of opertunities to use it but my weldings once ground back and painted is hard to see and leaves a satisfactory finish but it isnt rivet counter perfect ive done chassis welding (4mm plate) and thin wall(1mm sheet) bulkhead welding and welded the sides back on my dads trailer

    what i find more difficult than the welding is the prep work – the prep work is key to a good weld finish and in hard to access areas it can be a chunt !

    although ive seen some competition ALRC tagged cages at events with some shonky looking welds (but just cause it aint pretty doesnt mean its not strong and converse)

    my only training on a welder was 2 afternoons on an arc at uni – a mig in comparison is a hot metal glue gun – the rest was from youtube /practice – dont go near your car till you have spent alot of time with scrap metal !

    I’d buy a running and driving car, little bits break or fall off regulalry enough to keep you busy without having to deal with an actual resoration, it’ll also be cheepr as most parts can be reconditioned, whereas a ‘mostly complete just TLC needed’ resoration project will be missing one million and one parts that each cost a few pence, a fiver, fifty quid to replace and soon add up.

    I’ve a MG Midget I might think of selling soon. Heritage shell (so I can practicaly gaurentee there’s no hidden rust), only one 2p sized rust bubble where 2 pannels have rubbed on the front wing. Something like £8kl of recipts from it’s resoration, and a few hundred since then, recently had a new clutch system, new pads, disks, rear pistons and pads, and hub bearings all round.

    MOT and tax just about to run out this week.

    Hardtop
    Sort top
    toneau (zipped so you can just open up the drivers side)
    softop cover

    ‘Issues’

    For the MOT:
    New tie-rod ends need fitting (rubber boots split on the old ones and they’ve siezed)
    Brake seals need lubeing
    Handbrake (beyond saving, it’s a complete replacement cable, pivot and rods needed)

    Cosmetic:
    That rust bubble

    Handling:
    Could do with new springs up front as the drivers side is sagging (good excuse to lower it) and the rear’s could do with refurbishing (new ones are appaling quality apparently, much better (and no more expensive) to get the original leaves bent back into shape).

    mcmoonter
    Member

    A Series Land Rover would be my first choice. A IIA is a great, retro resto proposition. Parts cheap as chips. Minimal welding. Only the chassis, bulkhead and front panel are steel. Loads of forum help, and a practical usable and still desirable classic when it comes to resale.

    Minis are similar, but a nightmare bodywise. I did this pickup years ago.

    Volvo Amazon are good practical cars too, but some parts are expensive.

    This Dennis fire engine was swapped for a series Land Rover. We ended up selling it on.

    This is my Morris almost complete and roadworthy again. A lot like an old Land Rover under the skin.

    Go for simplicity on a first project. You’ll need space to work on and store parts. Budget for tools and parts. Buy quality stuff and it’ll last you a lifetime.

    +1 for the beetle. Loads of cheap parts about.

    vdubber67
    Member

    +1 for Beetle. Very easy to work on. Engine comes out with a 17mm spanner, a trolley jack and a skateboard (ok maybe some swearing as well!)

    Pick your project well, whatever you go for. Working with rot really isn’t the fun bit, so the less you have the better. Take someone who knows that particular sort of car when you go to view a potential project, and DON’T let your heart rule your head

    Restos=moneypits if you’re not careful!

    Good luck

    Premier Icon Gee-Jay
    Subscriber

    spitfire/gt6/herald/vitesse

    lots of people make spare bits, access to everything is easy, cheap and a spitfire with gt6 underneath is a nice soft top and sounds good or is that a GT6 with spitfire body or vitesse engine etc etc

    Premier Icon Tiger6791
    Subscriber

    Land Rover.

    Parts are cheap
    Bolts are big
    Plenty of room to work on them

    You’ll need Land Rover special tool #1 though

    Premier Icon maccruiskeen
    Subscriber

    I’ve a MG Midget I might think of selling soon. Heritage shell (so I can practicaly gaurentee there’s no hidden rust), only one 2p sized rust bubble where 2 pannels have rubbed on the front wing. Something like £8kl of recipts from it’s resoration, and a few hundred since then, recently had a new clutch system, new pads, disks, rear pistons and pads, and hub bearings all round.

    See that – the receipts mount up. And if you’re not already a mechanic then for every receipt you count for a part thens a receipt you don’t count for the tool(s) to fit that part.

    And you know how modern vehicles work better and last longer (my 2001 merc is going to hit 300,000 miles in the next few weeks on original engine and running gear and is likely capable of another 100,000) well old cars didn’t work as well or last as long.

    Even if you renew and restore it to better than factory its still exactly like a car from the 60s/70s/70s and well wear out and rot as quickly as it did back then(as a kid I remember my dads 5 year old cortina had rust holes I could get my hand into)

    I bought a newly restored MGB with £10k of receipts, for a fully photo documented total strip/weld/seal rebuild. Newly restored I paid £6k for it, meaning the restorer lost £4k, plus his time plus the original cost of the car. I had it for 5 years, regularly repaired and maintained, which is enough time for a car of the era to totally unrestore itself. Sold if for about £700 for a guy who was looking for a project to restore 🙂

    trail_rat
    Member

    “Land Rover.

    Parts are cheap
    Bolts are big
    Plenty of room to work on them

    You’ll need Land Rover special tool #1 though

    for what macruisekeen says is good enough reason to go land rover – oh wait i did :D. but if i started again id get a 2a leafer !

    Premier Icon spandex_bob
    Subscriber

    How about something where the welding is chassis rather than shell? The two that spring to mind are Reliant Scimitar and Ginetta G15; or a kit might make a lot of sense. Does it need to have more than 2 seats, a roof, fit in a small garage? What kind of car do you want to have at the end; going to be a lot easier to motivate work / spends when you really want the end result.

    RichieBoy
    Member

    I’ve done 3 minis, and on my 4th. Honest advice? Don’t bother! They are total money pits and even if you can weld you end up spending far too much.

    The only reason i do it is because i’m totally addicted to how much fun they are to drive, and cant stand the thought of a ‘normal’ car…

    Oh, and i’ve had 2 people and 2 full-sussers on the inside 😉

    like £8kl of recipts from it’s resoration

    Forgot to mention, I’m after about £3200 for it, or £3700 with the steering and brakes sorted, MOT and tax.

    Premier Icon ononeorange
    Subscriber

    If you go Land Rover, I have a Mark II with good gearbox / engine but chassis has had it in the South-East. Good for parts and I just haven’t quite been able to bring myself to scrap her.

    Premier Icon brassneck
    Subscriber

    Cheap and easy way to get into restoring cars then you cant go far wrong with a mk1 MX5, will be good to drive about for a bit afterwards, parts are cheap and plentiful and its not rocket science.

    +1 – really enjoyed working on mine and it was my daily drive too. I did a few performance mods, learnt a lot and it wasn’t massively expansive in any department. Neatly avoids the worst of welding issues too, which I’ve got down as something to learn when I retire 🙂

    edlong
    Member

    Minis have the advantage that you will still be able to get around one in the garage, and parts are easily and cheaply available. They are a PITA to work on however.

    Beetles are basically easier – if you ever worked with mechanno as a kid, you’ll be fine with a beetle – it’s all bolt-together. Parts also cheaply and easily available. Not nearly as much fun as a mini to drive though.

    No experience of land rovers..

    Well just spent the afternoon browsing eBay, probably going to go the Land Rover route if I can find something in budget that isn’t a wreck.

    ononeorange – I’m also in the SE so we maybe able to work something out?

    Although I did get side tracked by old Posches, MGB GT’s, old XR2s,3s, Golfs, Spitfires… so we’ll see 🙂

    Premier Icon ononeorange
    Subscriber

    SilentSparky – emailed you.

    Cheers

    b r
    Member

    Avoid original Mini’s, they were rustboxes (and crap to work on) 30 years ago – god knows what they are like now.

    Forgot to mention, I’m after about £3200 for it, or £3700 with the steering and brakes sorted, MOT and tax.

    For this price you could get a track car and pay for a years’ trackdays – shunts and breakages would teach you all you need to know.

    http://cars.yakaz.co.uk/peugeot-mi16-for-sale

    Taff
    Member

    Mini or mk 2 escort would be awesome.

    Helped my old man with a triumph GT6 and spitfire. In the past.

    Crell
    Member

    You’ll need Land Rover special tool #1 though

    Once described to me as the “Mechanics’ Friend”.

    Useage: “Time for the Mechanics’ Friend” … just before he laid in to a stuck CV joint.

    alpin
    Member

    surely you should be thinking about one of these (or similar)

    lo-cost.

    buy a donor car, rape it and knock up something that is properly yours for about 5-6k….

    alpin
    Member

    surely you should be thinking about one of these (or similar)

    lo-cost.

    buy a donor car, rape it and knock up something that is properly yours for about 5-6k….

    Premier Icon Rubber Duck
    Subscriber

    That looks delightful Alpin, what is it! Any other picks/ details. What donor car?

    konabunny
    Member

    I’ve done 3 minis…Oh, and i’ve had 2 people and 2 full-sussers on the inside

    Where did you put the elephants, though?

    Taff
    Member

    This topic has me looking at MGBs and spitfire again. My mrs won’t like you guys today! The other plus side to restpring a beetle is that you should know how to fix it when it brakes down when going to Run to the Sun!

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