Buffers: Both stationary and handheld buffers were essential in restoring the stainless moldings and polishing many other parts. We use a Baldor stationary buffer with pads and compounds from Eastwood. The stainless restoration article mentions many safety tips when using this type of buffer. We can't stress enough how careful you have to be using them. We also found the Porta-Cable random orbit buffer to be a great help, not only for polishing the paint, but also for the final polishing of billet aluminum and stainless pieces which were too large to use on a stationary buffer. We used a foam pad covered with a microfiber cover and Mother's Billet Aluminum polish for those jobs.
Belt Sander: We found the Dynafile II handheld belt sander to be invaluable in preparing parts for polishing, and that 3M Trizact belts worked the best to provide a smooth finish. We also found the Multi-Tool bench belt sander to come in handy for work on metal parts. Again, Trizact belts worked the best for fine finishing work.
Short Handle Wrenches: We love these short handle metric and SAE ratchet type wrenches. They sure helped in many tight areas.
Engine Hoist and Engine Stand: Borrowed or bought, but necessary, for the heavy lifting and engine assembly.
Hydraulic Lift Cart: This is one of those carts on wheels you've probably seen that have a hydraulic lift table. We found this great to use when lining up the transmission for installation as well as making a moveable and adjustable-height work table. It also helped when loading or unloading heavy objects from the bed of the truck.
Chassis Lift: We've had a mid-rise lift for many years, and it's served us well to make it much easier to work on and assemble the chassis, suspension, and drivetrain as well as detail the finished car.
Scanning Tool: For electronically controlled engines, the scan tool comes in handy to diagnose problem codes. We have one from AutoXRay which has worked well for reading and clearing codes. Sometimes the "Tech II" scanner/programmer is needed for OBD-II systems to do more, but that's an expensive unit and probably more than you can justify for the home shop.
One-Purpose-Only Tools: If you've done a few projects, no doubt you've needed a tool that isn't available and have had to make your own. We have quite a few sockets, wrenches, and so on that had to be modified to fit a particular area. It's a good idea to label these so you'll remember what that odd-looking thing is in your toolbox.
Computer: Sometimes referred to as "that large electronic paperweight on your desk." How did we ever get along without one? From laying out project plans, researching sources, and ordering parts, to communicating with your friends in the hobby, it's become an essential tool for car projects.
Project Planning Theorems (new theories and a few old ones vividly reconfirmed):
A project plan is subject to change, especially for longer-term projects. True! You'll likely change your objectives along the way or come across different ways to do some things, which is to be expected. The longer the project, the more often you can expect this to occur.
The difference between something unforeseen and something unforeseeable is about a month. True! Something unforeseen is usually due to not doing enough research or planning. Then there are those things which you just can't foresee. It's guaranteed there will be some, but by definition, you don't know what they'll be. All you can do is allow for them in your project plan timeline.
Any major project will always cost more and take longer than you thought. True! Doubling your initial time estimate and adding 35-50 percent more to your initial stab at a budget is likely closer to the mark. This is one of the major variables that can be best controlled and contained by how much of the work you can do yourself.