June 2010 Resto Shop

Getting It Right

Tony Huntimer Jun 1, 2010 0 Comment(s)
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There is a word overly misused in the car hobby these days-one that's even more incorrectly used than the adjective "Pro Touring" when used to describe a stock Camaro with four-wheel drum brakes, 18-inch wheels, and bolted-on tires. The word is "restoration."

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What is a restoration? I looked it up online at Merriam-Webster; two of their definitions are, "A bringing back to former condition" and "A representation or reconstruction of the original form."

The word "restoration" has turned into a buzzword of sorts, and now its meaning is watered down. I see it all the time on eBay and even on hobbyist websites where people label their pride and joy as "restored," but most of these factory-looking cars better fit the definition of words such as "rebuilt" or "modified." There's absolutely nothing wrong with having a car that's rebuilt or modified but, for the sake of being correct, it would be better labeled as such. Only a small percentage of knowledgeable builders can truly claim a restoration.

Painting every car part a color or finish (gloss level and texture) not originally offered from the factory should technically be disqualified as a restoration. Until recent times, the factory finishes of parts have been kept close-to-the-vest and somewhat guarded by restorers attempting to keep a "leg-up" on the competition at judged concours-type shows. Some of those finishes have been publicly exposed in a new book, How to Restore Your Camaro 1967-1969, just released by Cartech Books, written by me (Tony Huntimer) and Brian Henderson (from Super Car Workshop). The details of paint finishes are buried in the text, so you're going to have to do more than look at the pictures. The book is currently the most comprehensive book available with "restoration" and "rebuilding" tips, and includes non-factory information as a practical guide for restorers, rebuilders, hot-rodders, and even the Pro Touring crowd.

Unknowledgeable restorers make some glaring errors; for example, painting all the suspension parts and inner fenderwells gloss black. They also restore cars by spraying all the steering components and suspension parts with one can of cast-coat grey or all the parts underhood with the same can of semi-gloss black paint. Not all black paints are the same. There are all sorts of black colors with brownish, reddish, and bluish hues. The same goes for painting parts in grey and aluminum colors.

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It would be great if the term restoration wasn't so loosely used, but the best I can contribute is a column and restoration book, which will hopefully raise the bar a little on future "restoration" projects, at least.

Special Thanks: Super Car Workshop, Arone Auto Body, and David Boland.

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