Cure the winter blues with these restoration tips

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This week’s issue of Old Cars Weekly is packed with how-to stories to inspire you to head into the garage, whether you’re in warm or cold climes. Gerald Perschbacher covers the replacement of a leather top on his 1937 Packard Formal Sedan, while John Gunnell shows you some tips on replacing the heat duct work on postwar Pontiacs. You’ll also be able to follow the procedure for replacing floor pans in a finned Chrysler Corp. products, although the process is the same for nearly every type of car.

For collectors living in areas where winter means sub-zero temperatures and several inches or feet of snow, this time of year is often looked upon as an opportunity to catch up on improvements and maintenance of an old car. For those who are even braver, this down time is seen as a chance to dive wrench first into a complete restoration.

With my Cadillac engine at the machine shop this winter, I hoped to proceed with several small projects around the engine compartment. There is a bundle of wires that need replacement, correct hoses and clamps to order and some engine decals to search out. My progress has been slow, but here are some things I have done during the cold to help my project move along that may also help you with your project:

Order catalogs and check Web sites: Now is a good time to make a list of all the parts your vehicle needs and perhaps even those you might want. While searching through catalogs, you may find parts you didn’t know your vehicle even needed.

Research: To the benefit of its members, the Cadillac & LaSalle Club offers authenticity manuals for several eras of the cars it represents. Perhaps your club offers a similar product. Use factory photos and literature and compare the pictured features with questionable items on your car. Unanswered questions may be directed to a club technician.

Used parts hunting: Even in northern climates, winter weather lets up every once in a while, providing great opportunities for hitting the local salvage yard.

Restore components: If you have the appropriate space and ventilation indoors, sand and paint the parts to your vehicle and re-install them when the weather warms.

Perhaps these ideas will get you started or help you complete a few projects so your vehicle is ready for the road on the first, nice spring day.

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