How Car Restoration Works

Restoring the Car's Interior

The scope of your interior restoration job depends on your car's original condition.
The scope of your interior restoration job depends on your car's original condition.
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Before we discuss the logistics of restoration any further, let's pick a car to use as an example. For this purpose, we'll use a 1965 Ford Mustang to explain some aspects of the job at hand because it's a popular car with plenty of parts readily available on the market.

Even if a car looks perfect on the outside, if you step inside and the upholstery is torn and the gauges are falling out of the dashboard, the restoration job can hardly be considered complete.

The work required depends on the condition of the car. For instance, a Mustang that's been carefully cared for in a garage since the 1960s will obviously need far less work than one found in a junkyard. This means that you need to take stock of what you need. Does the car need all new seats, or do the current ones need to be re-upholstered? Can the switches and gauges on the dash be fixed or do they need to be replaced? What about a sound system -- do you want an entirely new radio with modern capabilities like a CD player or will you go the purist route and re-install the original factory radio?

A complete interior restoration job usually involves completely vacuuming out the car, removing the floor panels and inner door panels, thoroughly cleaning the inside with a solvent or other cleansing solution, taking out the old seats and re-installing the new parts you've ordered piece by piece. You also have to carefully clean and restore smaller parts like the glove compartment and sun visors [source: Mustang Monthly].

Luckily, restoration doesn't have to break the bank -- that is, if you're smart about it. Door panels sometimes can be saved and restored if the vinyl is undamaged. Chrome spray paint can touch up the chrome trim inside the car. Also, every part doesn't necessarily need to be ordered brand new. In fact, you could find many parts in a scrap yard [source: Mustangs and Fords].

We've covered the inside; now, let's take a look at the exterior. In the next section, we'll discuss restoring your car's outer surface.