The Fifties and Sixties were decades of tremendous technical innovation for the car industries of the UK and Western Europe.
So many remarkable cars were developed, while production hit unprecedented levels.
It is impossible to provide an accurate figure, although estimates are that around seven five million cars were produced during these years with more than forty million during the Sixties.
Approximately half of the vehicles produced during these two decades came out of UK factories with the remainder from mainland Europe.
While owning a car in the pre-war years was a privilege of the middle class and upwards.
In the immediate pre-war years, private ownership became increasingly common, as prices fell into the reach of all thanks to the wonders of mass production.
For a young person coming of age during these the Fifties and Sixties, these were exciting times.
All these gleaming new cars, each of them with their own personality and style must have left an underlying impression on so many. An impression, which in later years, sparked a revolution in classic car restoration.
Very few individuals who take on a classic car restoration have the necessary skills and access to the specialised equipment to handle a classic car restoration from beginning to end.
My Classic Cars Blog was established to provide an informal guide for first-time restorers through the critical stages that come together to make up a successful restoration project.
Decisions made during the early days of the project be spot on as mistakes made at this stage could have a disastrous knock-on effect on the project.
The first step is to source the best vehicle to restore.
The factors that determine which car are a combination of price, condition coupled with the financial capabilities, skill levels and time available to work on the project.
Before taking the plunge into classic car restoration it is essential to spend as much time on research as possible to attain a clear picture of what is involved.
What's sure is that after the car has been acquired, it must have a place to come home to.
A suitable workshop must be ready to begin the restoration, as well as tools to work with.
Cars left in the street for any length of time will be rapid targets for theft and vandalisim.
If the project is in any way time-sensitive, the restorer should try and get two or even three of the significant segments of the project taken care of simultaneously.
These will always be the engine, gearbox and clutch, which will probably need a major overhaul or even replaced.
The car’s body will inevitably need repairs, as rust damage, very commonplace in vehicles of the Fifties and Sixties that have had to endure a few decades of British or European weather conditions, will have taken is toll.
In cars with lots of chrome exterior trim, it is also wise to remove the parts and send them off as early as possible for replating which is a time consuming and expensive) process
Once the car’s major mechanics and bodywork problems have been taken care off, then other significant stages of the project can get underway.
These include bringing the brakes, suspension and steering up to scratch as well as revamping its auto electrics system.
At this stage, the car should be in running order paving the way for the final stages of the restoration.
Signs that the restoration is approaching completion is when the car rolls into the paint booth where it will undergo a full or partial respray.
Before it gets to that stage, hours may have been spent preparing the car, filling, and sanding the bodywork till it is level and smooth and free of any traces of rust.
After that, the vehicle will be sprayed with primer, an undercoat and often two topcoats to make for a perfect finish.
Back from the paintshop, the car will be ready to have its interior trim brought back to standard, with a full upholstery refurbishment, dashboard and steering wheel recondition, gauges and instruments repaired and replaced where need be, head linings and door panels renewed, carpets cleaned or most likely replaced.
At this point the car’s electrics will receive their final touches, with any accessories either added or repaired for maximum passenger comfort.
For passenger safety and in order to comply with legislation imposed long after the car was originally produced, the restored vehicle will need to be fitted with a full set of safety belts for both the front and back seats.
Also to comply with the law, the vehicle should be fitted with a set of licence plates, which can be of either the traditional black and white of the Fifties and Sixties or black on a gold background which is much more common today.
Almost ceremonially the concluding stages of the restoration project, which may have taken weeks, months or even years to complete will be marked by carefully re-attaching all of the chrome trim, which has been completely refurbished.
That's when the owner/restorer can proudly take a step or two backwards and proudly admire the completed restoration car which, as a result of their skills, determination and tenacity has had its life extended for at least another half a century.