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Choosing The Best Classic Car Professional

Choosing The Best Classic Car Professional Published: 26th Apr 2018 - 0 Comments - Be the first, contribute now!

Choosing The Best Classic Car Professional
Choosing The Best Classic Car Professional
Choosing The Best Classic Car Professional
Choosing The Best Classic Car Professional
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Never be ashamed to admit you need professional help. In fact, clever use of employing a professional in the right areas can actually save you money.

Bodywork rectification is the most obvious no go area for many as are involved chassis repair work where skilled, accurate welding is demanded for safety’s sake as much as anything else.

One specialist we spoke to typically charges £5000 to fully refurbish a chassis frame to better-than-new standards that should, if regularly cared for, last the life of the car. Trim is another skilled art and craft that looks easier than it really is and can make-or-break a top restoration.

Most home restorers gladly tackle the oily bits with relish, if for no other reason that on the majority of pre-1980 classics they are of pretty simple design That said, even then a good marque specialist may know some wrinkles and ‘tricks of the trade’ picked up over the years which will make a good job even better.

Even if you had the enthusiasm for it, there are some jobs that you’ll never be able to tackle at home, such as engine machining work like cylinder head skimming, white metalling, metal spraying, pressing, and such like. And it’s here that you will need a proper engineering shop as many garages won’t have the skills or equipment to carry out this work either. Sadly, they are in decline and you may need to search long and hard to find these services.

As a rough guide, a typical cylinder head skim costs £60, converting to unleaded £450 (that’s the machining work including valve inserts costing £15 each) and a crankshaft regrind is typically in the £150- £200 region, depending upon engine and state of wear.

When it can become pricey is on a vintage engine, such as a simple Austin 7 unit, where a full reconditioning, employing special skills, can cost as much as the car.

For instance, White Metalling a crankshaft or piston connecting rod to ‘reclaim’ them (perhaps because that part is now obsolete) can become pricey; Expect £200 per con rod and perhaps over £600 per crankshaft journal if you want it done properly using top quality metals.

Transmissions, hydraulics and steering assemblies are other components that may demand a professional touch, especially if a hydraulic press is required to remove and refit bearings, or a specific-re-load tension is demanded upon reassembly.

For all that, it’s surprising what you can make do and mend in your lock up using a simple lathe or milling machine – both which can be bought fairly inexpensively.

A large, heavy-duty vice on a similar stout workbench are essential tools no matter how involved you intend to become in your project. The big question is how do you find a trusted reconditioner? Word of mouth or via owners’ clubs is a starting point followed by how long the company has been around.

Best mods

Head work

Always advisable to have a head skimmed to remove rust and any warping, especially if you buy one second-hand. Raised compression ratio; more power


A specialist overhaul may be needed if parts are obsolete; many companies will rebuild with modern materials to make it perform better


If new suspension springs (coils and leaf) are not available, the originals, if sound, can be re-tempered (teamdeville. to normal or a harder setting

Top five tips


Replace or repair? That’s a problem you will face at some point and apart from weighing up costs, there’s originality to consider but by and large it’s more cost effective to purchase an overhauled assembly than repair piecemeal

Old parts

They may not work without specialist help first. For example, a crankshaft will probably require the block to be ‘line bored’ to accept it properly; speak to an engineering shop for advice

Mobile help

If you can’t get your project to a garage, remember that there’s plenty of mobile mechanics around to help you; many are older one-man bands and know classics quite well


Why not check out your local colleges to see if they have special tutorials which may be of benefit to you?

Expert eye

Having an expert check your handiwork may save you a lot of wasted time, effort and expense – perhaps a fellow enthusiast or owners’ club member, for example?

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