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Classic Car Restoration

‘Should I restore my classic?’ It’s a question that every petrolhead who loves their car will ask themself at some point. But while the question is straightforward, the answer is often long and complicated by many different factors.

Of course, if we dealt in cold hard facts, the answer would be much more concise. ‘Will the car be worth more after its been restored?’ In almost all cases, the answer is ‘no’. Professional restorations are long and involved things requiring hundreds of man hours, expensive parts, and that's before you even factor in a paintjob. But as always, it depends on you and your car.

For example, if you’ve inherited a Jaguar E-type from a long lost relative, then restoring it might be an option. If you’re confident the car is solid and rot free, that the engine needs only a light rebuild, that the seats need cleaning rather than re-stitching you might have a case. Especially if you’re handy with a set of spanners, work in the trade and have a mate who can paint.

Sure, the more prestigious the car is the more it will be worth when sale time comes. But the parts will also be expensive. A front wing for a Mk1 Mini might be £105, but a front wing for a Mk2 Jaguar is £2390. You get the point.

But if you’ve got 1990s modern classic like a Mercedes-Benz 190, taking the car off the road and having it restored will cost you significantly more money than the car will ever be worth. In this case, you’re better off taking the MoT advisories list and adding jobs to it. Prioritise the ones that are urgent and will keep the car on the road.

While it might be nice to get those bubbles of rust over the rear wheelarch sorted, it’s a slippery slope. That splendid wheelarch will only highlight the car’s other shortcomings. First, it’ll be a wheel refurbishment and before you know it you’ll be getting quotes for a respray.

A scruffy wheelarch might not look great, but it won’t stop the car doing its job. More importantly, it won’t stop you being able to enjoy the car while it does its thing.

There are, of course, a couple of exceptions to this rule. If you’ve got an Aston Martin DB4 GT Zagato raced by Jim Clark that’s worth up to £15m, then a professional restoration shouldn’t take too much out of your profit margin.

But there are cases where restoring and using a classic would hurt its value. Ever wondered what happens to all those ‘just 200 miles from new!’ classics that go for stellar prices? Nothing. No, literally, nothing. They’re mothballed and most of them turn up at auction a few years later.

Let’s face it, driving it would devalue your investment so in these cases cars become collectors’ pieces. Their owners enjoy showing them off and once they’ve got their out of them, they move them on.

But there are ways to beat the system. We once met a chap who found a Morris Minor in a barn. It must’ve been there for 20 years – and it looked like it. He restored all the mechanicals and made it safe and road legal, but then had the body wrapped to preserve the patina. He did almost all the work himself, learnt new skills and made a host of friends along the way. His project made him happy.

Ultimately, only you can answer the question of whether or not you should restore your classic. You know how much it means to you, how much it’s worth, and how much a restoration would cost. But for us, there’s a much more important question to ask: ‘Should I enjoy my classic?’ The answer to that is an easy yes. How you do that up to you.

Top 10 classics to restore

 Land _Rover _SIII

Land Rover SIII

Being slightly more civilised than their SI and SII forebears, the 1971-on SIII Land Rovers make an excellent classic 4x4 choice. They retain the basic spec that makes these pre-coil-sprung models such great projects, yet offer real usability – as long as you don’t crave speed.

Click here to see how much it could cost you

 

 Mazda _MX-5 (1)

Mazda MX-5

The MX-5 has been a much-loved member of the classic car scene for a long time, with enthusiasts attracted by the MkI’s cute styling, eager performance and tenacious handling. It remained in production until 1998 – but don’t think that makes it a risk-free buy, as even late models can suffer from rust if neglected.

Click here to see how much it could cost you

 

 Volkswagen _Beetle

Volkswagen Beetle

The Beetle enjoyed a production run that ran from just after WWII to the turn of the 21st century, which means a vast array of different versions and specs to choose from.  Whichever type of Beetle restoration project you're looking at, however, steer clear of badly modified cars and buy as original an example as possible.

Click here to see how much it could cost you

See which other models complete this Top 10 list

Ask HJ

Can you recommend a garage to restore my 1988 Volkswagen Golf Mk2 GTi?

I have a 1988 Volkswagen Golf Mk2 GTi, owned from new and untouched. I'm now looking to have it renovated. Can you recommend any restorers either in the South East or in the Midlands?
Volkswagen specialists like Oxfordshire-based Crazy Quiffs or Deutche Doktors in Stoke-on-Trent know the cars inside and out and should have most of the bits in stock, but they may be too far away for you. Garages like the Classic Coachwork Company in Broxted, Essex, are more local but don't necessarily specialise in GTIs. So you'll need to decide what's most important to you. Before you do that, though, decide how deep you want to with the restoration. Are you going to go full nut and bolt, stripping back to bare metal and rebuilding the engine - or do you just want to touch up the paintwork and have brakes and suspension refreshed? While Mk2 Golf GTIs have certainly appreciated in value over the past five years, a full restoration could easily run to more than the value of the car. And, to borrow a famous quote, 'there are things you don't know you don't know'. So, for example, you may decide to have the wheelarch touched up and find that there is more rust than you realised, which needs dealing with. Or you may have decided to treat the car to new brake pads, only to find the callipers need rebuilding and the brake lines replacing. Whatever you decide to do, make sure you see examples of a garage's previous work and speak to owners of cars they've worked on to find out about their experiences.
Answered by Keith Moody
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Ten Tips for a Sucessful Classic Car Restoration

If you want your classic car restoration to be successful, you'll need to bring your A-game to the party. Below are ten tips for successfully navigating your first project - but there are many, many more. If you only take one of these tips away, make sure it's this one - do your homework.

1Do your homework

We can't stress this enough. Take off the rose-tinted glasses and be brutal. What kind of project do you want? How are you going to restore it? Where are you going to restore it? How long will it take? Here's a clue - double come up with a number and double it. Be your own biggest critic.

2Choose wisely

An Iso Griffo might be a lovely thing to have. And restoring one might be the only way you'll ever get to own one - but be realistic. These are complicated cars with limited spares availability. If this is your first resto, don't be afraid to tread the well-worn path of trad British classic. There's a reason Triumph Spitfires, Minis and MGBs are so popular - it's because you can get virtually everything to make a new one.

3Join the club

Crucial to a successful resto is putting your squad together. Joining a club means you'll have access to spares, knowledge and support. If you're struggling with exactly how that widget goes back to gether, then we guarantee others will have as well. This is your shortcut to success.

4Build your dream garage

No, we don't mean blow the budget on fancy welders and plasma cutters. Your dream garage will be somewhere that has enough space to work in, is clean and tidy with lots of storage, good lighting and heat. Best of all, it'll be secure.

5Label everything

So you've chosen your project, you've got somewhere to store it, you've got the club on board and the Haynes manual handy. You're ready to start stripping... which is the fun bit. But remember - the effort you put in now will reward you or ruin you. So here's our tip - photograph and label everything. You can take millions of pictures on your smart phone and every takeway box is a decent storage pot. It could be years, decades even, before you have to put the car back together and you won't remember what goes where.

6Assess the damage

With the car in pieces, you'll be able to properly assess the damage. How bad is the rust? Do you need to rebuild the whole engine or can you just rebuild the top end? And don't guess here. Poke and prod to find hidden holes full of tinwork, measure and stress test to see if the crank is as good as it looks. Science is your friend.

7Plan proper

You've stripped, assessed, labelled - and now you know exactly what's involved. That means you can start to make a plan proper. Don't rush is an attack little bits until you get bored and move onto the next bit. Break it down if you have to: engine, brakes, body (doors, bonnet) etc. Under each section allocate time and money before making your time line. You might opt to regrind the crank, in which case you'll probably spend a day taking the engine apart and while you're waiting for the crank to come back you can tackle the brakes. There's nothing wrong with operating a 'just in time' parts policy - but all that postage could add up so it might be beneficial to do a supermarket sweep and stock up. Flexibility is crucial.

8Be flexible

Like the army says, no plan survives for contact with the enemy - and yours will be no different. There will be delays with parts deliveries, issues with parts you've sent away for repair that may turn out to be unrepairable. So keep a diary and at the end of every day (and every week) revise your plan to make sure you get the most out of your time in the workshop. There will be many miserable and frustrating late nights so keep them to a minimum.

9Go to bed

Unless you're lucky enough to be retired and spending all your days in the shed, you'll mostly likely be tackling your project in the evening. So you've had a full day, you've had to cram in some family time and keep up with your chores, you may (or may not have eaten) so your battery light is blinking and now you're about to go for another round. We all want to get jobs done, that feeling of satisfaction is critical to motivation - but if you stay up til 3am rebuilding a diff' that's giving you a headache, the chances are you won't have done a very good job. So set yourself a time limit and get some shut eye. It's not about admitting defeat - it's about maximising your working hours. 

10Learn every lesson

Whether it's not tackling the job with the right tools, or not relying on your mate Steve from the Nag's Head to 'pop round' and lend a hand, treat everything as an opportunity for learning. That might even be some actual proper learning, like learning how to weld or paint. 

Ask HJ

Where I can find a classic Saab 96 two stroke engine for restoration?

Do you know where I can find a classic Saab 96 two stroke engine for restoration please?
You could try the Saab Club (www.saabclub.co.uk) or specialists like Two Stroke to Turbo (https://twostroketoturboparts.co.uk/) or keep an eye out on classified advert sites or eBay. You could also try scrap yards.
Answered by Keith Moody
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How to deal with rust on a classic car

It's a simple enough if there's rust on your classic, the metal is weaker than it should be. Sometimes, that not a huge problem and sometimes it is. A small patch in the middle of a front wing isn't normally dangerous - but if it's near a point where the suspension meets the body then the structural weakness could be catastrophic and the car could fail to protect it's occupants. So how you deal with rust depends largely on where it is and how bad it is. 

1Surface rust

The first signs of rust pop up in areas where there has been light damage - a bump, a knock, a scratch. Surface rust isn't terminal - but it needs sorting as soon as you can ideally. Of course, the trouble is that the repair can often be expensive, disproportionately so to the amount of damage it's currently causing. Left unchecked though, it will cause a lot more damage. The best repair is cut out the corrosion until you see clean metal, apply primer, paint and protect. However, there are products you can use designed to stop the rust in its tracks.

2Bubbles

Left unchecked, the surface rust will create rust bubbles. This is because rust molecules are bigger than steel, so the damaged area expands, ultimately flaking away revealing a fresh new layer of shiny metal so that the process can begin again. This creates a scaly surface on the body that you'll need to tackle wiht a wire brush and potentially an angle grinder. If you can get to fresh metal, smooth surface the surface down with sandpaper before priming, painting and protecting.

3Holes

If there's daylight shining through the metal, then it's decision time. Remember those bubbles? Well, they've now grown and taken out all the metal. So you've got two options - either replace the entire panel (there's a reason why it's nicknamed tinworm) or cut out the bad metal and weld in the new. In some ways, replacing the entire panel is easier - we've lost count of how many times we've attacked the rust with an angle grinder only to find out that it's much, much worse than expected.

Blasting & Dipping

If you're really serious about your resto, then you'll be looking at various forms of media blasting or even chemical dipping. Of course, 'really serious' could either mean that your project is very rusty, or you want to take all available precautions to prevent corrosion in future.

Either way, the result is the same - a serious commitment of your time and money. Media blasting has been around a long time and basically involves hitting the bodyshell with small pieces of things at high pressure. Sand, silicon, glass, aluminium.. there's plenty of choice.

Before you even think about media blasting, make sure everything is off the car and what isn't is protected. Grit can get in everywhere and ruin window runners and rubber suspension components as well as a host of other parts.

If you've taken suitable precautions on the car, you'll also need to take extra precautions off the car - because blasting is brutal. It takes no prisoners and exposes every fault with the metal. What might have looked like small pock marks of rust can easily turn out to be hole you can put your hand through.

An alternative form of rust protection is chemical dipping. This involves dipping the bodyshell into a chemical bath designed to remove rust. It's incredibly effective, but you'll need to move quickly - if you leave the unprotected shell out in the rain, you'll be back to square one.

If possible, speak to other owners who have treated their car this way. It's hugely effective, but everyone's experience is different.

Specialist profile: Rustbuster

Spalding-based Rustbuster is one of the biggest names in rust protection. It offers a wide range of rust remover and rust prevention treatments as well as rust proofing products to protect and prolong your classic's life.

If you're not sure what you need, you can give them a call on 01775 761222 (offices are staffed weekdays 9-5). Alternatively visit their website: 

And if you don't want to get your fingers dirty, help is at hand. Rustbuster can rustproof a classic using it's Hot Fog method. The company will also remove rust and protect components once you've got them off the car.

It can also coat whole vehicle chassis, suspension and floors, axels control arms and springs. Supplied in Epoxy primer finish or in BS or RAL colours in a matt satin or gloss finish.

Ask HJ

A friend has been left a Vauxhall Royale Coupe by her late father - who would be interested in it?

I have a friend who has been left, a Vauxhall Royale Coupe by her late father. It is a 1979 model in moderate condition and currently on a SORN notice. She would like it to go to be repaired and back on the road again. Can you please let me know the names and addresses of any Royale Car clubs or collectors who may be interested in this car? The lady is not too worried about value but would like to see the car restored and back on the road.
You could try the Vauxhall Monza and Royale Club (kenmonza@aol.com), there's also the Vauxhall Bedford Owners' Association (https://www.vboa.org.uk/club-directory).
Answered by Keith Moody
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What is a rolling resto?

Sometimes, it's not convenient to take your classic car off the road and fully restore it. For example, you might need your car to use every day. Or you might not have the funds. You might just want to concentrate on enjoying it and not worry too much about its scruffy looks.

Whatever, the reason, the process of keeping a classic going is with minimal time out of action is often refered to as a rolling restoration, and it's probably the most common way most of us keep our classics on the road.

Think of it a bit like Trigger's broom. In the classic BBC sitcom, Only Fools & Horses, Del's mate Trigger claimed to have had the same road sweeper's broom for 20 years, despite it having had 17 new heads and 14 new handles. 

But, make no mistake, this is a continnum. Some months, you might need to perform little more than a basic service, other months it could be a war attrition as you struggle to keep you steed on the school run and ready for a classic commute.

If you're opting for a rolling resto, it makes sense to have a contingency fund - a few quid that you put away on payday to help out with the running costs. We know only too well what it feels like to have a heater matrix and radiator go at the start of December when you have to dip into the Christmas fund to pay for a fix.

Of course, going down this route does allow for some fun projects - for example, you can book a week off work and finally give the car the suspension upgrade you've been dreaming of (and saving up for)... as long as you've got all the bits you need and don't hit any snags.

Tips for successful welding

Almost any restoration project is going to require some serious metalwork. There are many forms of welder, but metal inert gas (or MIG) is by far the most popular. These tips are only meant as a simple guide - if you're serious about expanding your skills, there are plenty of welding courses available. Safety is absolutely crtical.

1Installing the wire

Budget MIG welders are great - but they are often plagued by wire feed problems. So do your research and do your best to set up the wire properly. The wire feed spring tensioner should be tight enough so that it doesn't unravel while the wire itself should be as straight as possible. From there you'll need to align it so it feeds through to the torch - if any force is required, chances are it's misaligned. 

2Set up the power and speed

Wire speed is probably the most important setting - too slow and it'll burn back onto the tip, too fast and it'll be a mess. Speed and power settings will be determined by the wire and you should be able to get a ball park set up. Experiement with scrap pieces of metal to make sure you're happy and fine tune the welder.

3Prepare the metal

You can be the most awesome welder in the world, but if the metal ain't clean then it won't matter. You need to get rid off all the paint and the metal, otherwise it'll act like an electrical insulater - not what you want when using an electric welder. Don't forget to make a nice clean spot for the earth clamp, too. An angle grinder and/or a dremel is your friend here.

4Holding the torch

How you hold the torch will make a big difference to the quality of your weld - one hand is good, but two hands is better. Ideally, use your other arm to steady and brace the torch. Next, place the torch at 90 degrees to the metal and drop it back to 70 degrees. Finally, 'push' the weld rather than try and push it and get as close as you can to the metal without actually touching it.

5Welding masks

Which welding mask you use is very much a matter of personal preference. We don't recommend the hand held ones as that's an extra hand you could use better. For masks with visors, some people find the knock down marginally knocks their set up, while others find the that the auto-darkening masks 'blind' you for too long. 

6Practice makes perfect

When it comes to welding you need to practice as much as you can before you commit. It's much easier to spend 20 minutes getting a feel for it than 20 minutes angle grinding a duff weld because you messed it up. 

7Go slowly

Like the saying goes, slow and steady wins the race. Unless you can weld in your sleep, we always reckon the best approach is to go step by step. If you can, weld small, pinhead-sized joins (called tacks) along the metal every couple of inches of so. After each one, inspect your work. When you're happy, you can add in new tacks between each old one and then start to join them up.

8Be safe

Welding can be dangerous unless you know what you're doing. Without proper protection you damage your eyes, the vapours and fumes can damage your lungs, and the UV light (and molten metal) will burn you. So make sure you have a full face welding helmet, plenty of air coming in, and cover your arms and body... no one wants a trip to hospital because they got weld spatter in their eye.

9Still struggling?

If you're still struggling, work back through the following checklist. Is the metal clean? Have you got your wire installed properly? Is the feed speed working for you? Is the power right? Are you holding the torch to close (or too far away) from the metal? Are you moving the torch too fast (or too slow)? If you're still having trouble - try practicing on different thicknesses of metal. Start with 2mm or 1.5mm and then go thinner. If all else fails, down tools and put the kettle on.

Top 10: Welders for under £300

If you’re about to embark on a restoration project, you’ll need a decent welder at your disposal. And the good news is that whether you fancy a MIG or an arc welder, there are some great buys right now. Our selection here covers a wide price range, starting from less than £80 – which means there’s something for every budget.

So check out which welders we think offer particularly good value with specifications that should satisfy most DIY restorers’ needs. And if you’ve got experience of any of the models featured here, don’t forget to leave a comment below to let us know what you think. 

 1-draper -gasless -turbo -mig -welder

Draper Gasless Turbo MIG Welder

Normally retailing at around the £195 mark, the current promotion on this gasless MIG welder means it offers excellent value at the price shown here. Using flux cored wire means that no gas is required for this particular MIG, obviously making it ideal for use outdoors or in windy conditions. 

Buy it now

 

 2-clarke -135te -mig -welder

Clarke 135TE MIG Welder

Perfect for the DIY-minded classic car owner is this great quality MIG, its professional style non-live torch being fine for the inexperienced welder, while its turbo fan means those with major tasks ahead can weld at full power for long periods. The 135TE also comes complete with everything you need to get started, including CO2 gas (390g), mild steel wire, torch assembly, earth clamp, face shield and a full user guide. 

Buy it now

 

 3-sealey -180xt -arc -welder

Sealey 180XT Arc Welder

Improving the value for money of this particular arc welder is the fact that the quoted price includes an accessory kit comprising an electrode holder, cables, earth clamp and a combined chipping hammer and wire brush. As for the welder itself, this features a forced-air cooling system to enable extra-long periods of usage. It also comes with an ergonomically-friendly carrying handle for maximum mobility. At this price it’s an excellent buy, one well worth considering if an arc welder is your preference.

Buy it now

See which other models complete this Top 10 list

Prepare and painting your classic car

With all the metal work repaired and ready to go, it's time to tackle the paint. This is probably one of the most common jobs people pay a specialist to do. And it's easy to see why - painting a car is hard; but painting a car at home if you've never done it before is harder. Harder, but not impossible.

1Panel prep

The secret to a good paintjob is great preparation. With all the welding finished you'll need to prepare all the panels - that's most likely to include a skim of filler to get the shape right, sanding it back and preparing it with primer. Here is where the professional bodyshop will bake the car and the rest it for a few days, before sanding it down again and re-priming it.

2Are you really ready for paint?

If you haven't done so already, now's a good time to protect the underside from rust with a coat of stoneship that you can paint body colour later. Now the shell's been prepared, you're ready to get to work. Spend some quality time degreasing the metal and masking up the car ready for paint. It's tempting to rush this part, but don't. It's here where the pros really earn their money.

3Proper Paintjob

Take your classic to a paint pro and this is where the magic really happens. They'll apply a base coat followed by a couple of laquer coats before baking the - 65C for 40 minutes should do it. If you're after a really fancy finish, then the baked shell will be flatted back, flow coated and backed again. It's this final stage that gets that glossy, glassy shine.

4Sanding and polishing

With the paintwork done, it's now time for a bit of elbow grease. You'll need to sand the panels to get rid of all the orange peel and paint imperfections before machine polishing it. Don't worry, you can splash out and buy some machine's to do the hard work. Once it's all done, then it's time to hit it with a deep coat of wax.

Retrimming your classic

Arguably one of the hardest parts of any car to restore is the interior. There's a number of reasons for this, but it's mainly due to a combination of fragile plastics and hard to find items. 

1Seat repairs

As is often the case, it's sometimes easier to retrim an older car than a new one. A talented upholsterer can repair the split leather bolster on your Mk2 Jaguar - but if you need new cloth seats for your humble 1980s Renault 5 then sometimes the only solution is to find a better set and swap them (easier said than done).

2Dashboards

Plastic dashboards on many classics often split and crack thanks to long exposure to the sun. How you fix this will depend on how bad the damage is, but the process will roughly involve the following steps. First you'll need to sand and clean the damaged area, before applying a heavy duty plastic filler. Once that's dry, you'll need to add another layer of filler on the top and sand it back. Then it's a case of painting it the right colour and adding texture to it. Put like this, it might sound easy but it takes some skill and patience to do a decent job.

3Replace your headlining

When it comes to headlining, there are two basic types. One involves securing the headlining material via hoops and rods and is often found on older cars. Repairing this often requires some sewing skills and plenty of patience. The second type of headlining is where the material is glued on to a board and is the kind you find on more modern classics. This droops where the glue has dried and there are some quick fixes, which won't please everyone (staple gun, ahem). To do a proper job, you'll need to get the headlining board out of the car - sometimes this isn't possible without breaking the board... not to mention all the bits of plastic securing trim that will snap.

4Clocks and dials

Repairing your classics dials is a job that many people often entrust to a specialist. The specialist will strip, clean and repair the item. Depending on how you do it, they can even make adjustments. This is handy if you've had to swap a gearbox or differential and the dial is now inaccurate. Most of the time, you can just post the item and get it back when it's fixed. If your dial is broken beyond repair, then you can try and search out a secondhand one via the club or at an autojumble - or you can opt to replace it with something similar.

5Repair or replace your hood

If you own a classic convertible, chances are that you'll need to give the hood some TLC at some point. That could means just cleaning and protecting it, or require something more involved such as a repair or total replacement. There are plenty of products on the market to help you rennovate it, but when it comes to repair and replacement, many owners find this is a job best left to a specialist. That's not to say you can't do it at home though - but you will need a strong friend and plenty of patience. 

Putting it all back together

Hopefully by now, you'll have a good idea about what's involved in classic car restoration. If you're just taking on one job at a time with a view to keeping your car on the road, then it makes managing the jobs slightly easier (as long as your classic isn't your only car).

However, if you're buying a project or taking your car off the road, then you'll have a lot of aspects to focus on. Here, it's crucial that you take as many photos and make as many notes as possible. You may be confident in your abilities to remember what goes where, but why make it hard for yourself?

There's nothing wrong with hoping for the best, but you should always plan for the worst. It's impossible to know what the future holds. You might need to move house, or get sick, or the resto might stall if you run out of funds or struggle to track down a hard-to-find part.

With so much technology at our finger tips, we can easily make a video diary, take photos as we go, record voice memos... whatever you need. And there's a variety of journaling apps that can bring them all together. 

If you need a bit more incentive (or accountability) then why not make your diary public? You can use a social media site like Facebook or just post in a thread on your club forum. Don't underestimate the power and drive that this will give your resto - with every project there comes a point when we need to rally the troops.

Fettling and fine tuning

So you've stripped, repaired painted, rebuilt, re-trimmed and got your restored classic ready for the road. Chances are that it's still going to require some fine tuning.

If you've rebuilt the engine, then there'll be a period of running in before you can really enjoy the fruits of your labour. In an ideal world, you'd just need to replace the oil and the filter and away you go. What's more likely to happen is that you'll find the timing needs fine tuning, the carbs balancing and the throttle cable adjusting. 

Most of us can do this at home (you've got this far, after all) but if you're happy then you could get your car set up on a rolling road. While this is an excellent way to fine-tune your motor, it is not for the feint hearted and there are plenty of horror stories of imperfectly rebuit engines failing as the revs creep up.

There are many different types of carburettors (Weber, Dellorto, SU, Stromberg) and the tuning process will be different for each one.

Ask HJ

Is my rusty 1977 Daimler Double Six Coupe worth restoring?

I own a low mileage 1977 Daimler Double Six Coupe which as you know are now rather rare with only 300 odd were made. The problem is, it has been standing for nearly 20 years and has rust in all the usual place and probably a few more. I had intended it to be a retirement project but its beyond my skills. It would break my heart to break it up but is there any market to sell this as a restoration project? Which is the best club to advertise it?
Cars registered before 1978 are now exempt from both MoT and car tax - which is definitely something in the Daimler's favour. While the bodywork might be beyond your skill set, if you're handy with the spanners you might want to spend a few weeks recommissioning the car. This is an article in itself, but there are few basic steps you can follow - first of all, try to rotate the engine by hand - not that easy with a V12. If it's stuck, fill the bores with penetrating fluid to see if that helps. If the engine turns, you can go ahead and clean and gap the spark plugs, check the HT leads, rotor cap dizzy arm. Fresh fuel and a fresh battery (as well as a squirt of engine starter spray) may be enough to coax it back into life. From there, you'll be able to see if the clutch and brakes are working. If you can get it up and running, the car will be a much more attractive proposition to any potential enthusiast. You may even be in a position to insure it and take it to a (very) local garage - but if in doubt have it trailered. It may cost you a few quid, but having an inspection will give you a proper idea of what's really involved in making the car roadworthy. Who knows? You mind find that you can handle a lot of the mechanics yourself and then outsource the bodywork if you decide to hang onto it for a few years. As you righly point out, there aren't many cars like these left - but they are desirable, which means people are willing to pay up to £5k for 'good' project that's complete. Going down this road also means you won't sell the car and see it broken for spares. There are plenty of Jaguar clubs you can get in contact with, such as the Jaguar Enthusiasts' Club (https://jec.org.uk/) and the Jaguar Drivers' Club (www.jaguardriver.co.uk/html/). A specialist is most likely to pick the car up via an auction. Again there are plenty of classic car based auctions, but which one you choose will most likely depend where you are in the country. H&H Classics have one at Sandown Park in Kent and there is also Historics at Brooklands.
Answered by Keith Moody
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