Together with the search for the ideal classic car to bring back to life, the beginner restorer should also invest some time, to make sure that they will have somewhere to store the car and work on it.

The ideal situation is having access to a workshop that can be used rent-free and close to home.

Beginner restorers who may the mistake of downplaying the significance of having ideal conditions to work on a car rebuild are liable to pay a heavy price.

The truth is that a large number of restoration projects do not succeed because the restorer failed to find or create a proper workplace to house their project.

The car to be restored must be housed in proper conditions, no matter how little time it takes to find a workshop.

The workshop should be in a favourable condition, with both heated or cooled facilities, fully watertight, well-lit and with level floors.

At least four meters long (13 feet) and as wide, the ideal workshop should provide space enough to comfortably house the vehicle as well as allowing ample space over at least two meters all round it.

What many beginner restorers fail to grasp is that a standard lock-up garage will inevitably not provide sufficient space to work on all but the smallest car.


The building should ideally brick-built, the most lasting and heat-insulating material. Walls should be strong enough to support medium to heavy equipment as well as simple storage.

Regarding services to this building, the best rule to follow is the more, the merrier. Water, gas, electricity are a must. Electricity supply should be three-phase, allowing for the use of powerful machine tools.

While powerful electric lighting is a must, no workshop can adequately function without access to artificial lighting, which should be as powerful as possible.

While buildings can have any plan shape, home workshops should preferably be either rectangular or square.

A long, narrow rectangle is sufficient if the access door for the vehicle is at one end of the space.

However, if any bodywork is to be carried out in the workshop, this approach is less desirable as clearance on each side of the car will be restricted.

The workshop building can either have a flat roof or, better still, a pitched roof with a floor above the garage, which can act as auxiliary storage.

The workshop floor should be as level as possible, allowing for greater accuracy during some of the more delicate operations on the chassis and engine.

In the final stages of the restoration project, being able to quickly road test the results before re-entering the workshop to make more changes is a significant plus.

Most working garage workshops come with roller doors that allow for maximum use of floor space, as well as providing greater clearance at the garage entrance.

Roller doors always open vertically and into the garage area, requiring no access to the total workshop footprint.

Retractable up and over garage doors are recommended for openings of eight feet or over, or where the doors are to be operated automatically.

The single principal disadvantage of fitting "up and over" garage doors is that the style does not lend itself well to ideal temperature retention, due to the largish gap between the door frame and the opening, allowing cold or warm air to flow freely into the workplace.

If money is less of an object, then if a workshop is available with first-class insulation, the heat generated will be retained and the vehicle and equipment will be protected from damp and condensation.

If the budget will supportit, if the restorer sees themselves as taking on other restoration projects in the future, investing in workshop insulation will be money well spent.

There are dozens of ways of organizing a basic workshop, and much will depend on what space is available and how it is divided between work space and material storage.

The most important thing is to create a safe and tidy working environment making for a pleasurable and successful restoration project.









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"Leanto" garage

Custom built stand alone workshop

Converted railway arch