The FREE Complete Bay Area Auto Enthusiast Guide

One thing most car collectors are familiar with is the ongoing need for restoration. Is it ever really 100 percent complete? Rarely. It is a labor of love to be sure. Our desire to get the old car looking and running the way we need it to so we can enjoy the ride is what drives us. Restorations can be a daunting task but can you can save time and money with a little foresight and planning.
In our shop, we are restoring a 1965 Ford Thunderbird. Here we learned the value of thorough documentation. No, we are not talking about your license and registration. We are talking about the where and how every bracket, linkage, coil, and connector was originally installed. This is the most important information your car has. Once you have restored the individual areas of your vehicle and the time comes to put it all back together, you will not remember where everything goes.
Before the first bolt is removed, take the time to snap as many photos as possible. Photograph each step of disassembly and, most importantly, be sure to sequence your photos logically. Once the time comes for re-assembly, referencing these photos out of sequence can become a frustrating time-consuming task. Want to be sure you have not missed a thing? Video the disassembly in real time.
When it came to the 1965 Ford Thunderbird, detailed documentation of the engine before stripping was crucial. A set of sequenced photos or video showing the pipe reticulation going from point A to point B would have saved us hours (and the client the hourly rate). Thankfully, expertise won out and she is reassembled and running beautifully.
Most restorers want you to drive away loving your “new” old car. We want you to turn her on and hear her purr (or roar if that is more your speed). We want the suspension to ride solid, and the horsepower to get you in and out of merging traffic as you take her on tour or down to the cruise-in. With a little planning ahead, you can be out on the road and your biggest worry will be those folks taking videos while driving down the highway aside your cool car.
We will bring you more real restoration tips to get those cars on the road. After all, cars were built to be driven.

Brando & Joanne Pistorius of Pistorius Collectible Autos, Antique & Classic Car Sales and Restoration Services, can be reached at (813) 917-9205 or visit