Restoration Revelation (Part 2)

Previously, I posted about my four challenges with a major restoration. Today, I offer you three tips which should help you make it through your restoration job. Now, its true that I’m having my challenges on the new Beetle Project…but I’ve also got some great successes as well. I drove the car into my garage in the first week of September, stripped it down and now both the chassis and body have been restored and repainted. In fact, in just three months I’m fully into the reassembly stage. That includes over 21 feet of welding bead, and some major body and chassis modifcations!

We often hear a lot about stalled restorations, or the stressful race in getting the car ready for the Spring Thaw, so here are some tips to help you get it done on time…

Partner with your parts guy.
In this day and age most of us buy our parts online, but it’s high time we all went back to a local parts source. Through the Spring Thaw I met a VW parts supplier, and he’s really become a partner on this project. He’s seen far more restorations then I have, and often suggests parts or order of assembly that I hadn’t thought of.  And while his business is selling parts, with me he allows returns and works hard to be competitive at price. It’s refreshing to be able to pickup the phone and say “it’s rear brakes time, can you order in the stuff” and not have to click through 18 pages, only to find out when the parts arrive I totally forgot I would need flex lines. How do you find a good parts guy? First, ask around…and then commit. Make a series of orders with him, and show you’re a ‘return’ customer. If he starts to ask about how your project is going, and shows genuine interest…you’ve found one.

Post a build thread.
Stop wasting hours surfing other peoples threads and questions, and instead start a build thread. Every time you get frustrated or burn out, it’s great to go back and witness all the things you’ve succeeded at. Keeping the story going, also helps to keep you going on your project. And the best part? Build threads with regular post counts attract those experts who surf forums regularly. Stuck on a problem, a simple post about it will result in answers being directed right at your project. Lastly, the encouragement from other enthusiasts on your posts is a huge boost after a tonne of work.

Implement “The Harrison rule”
Years ago I was burnt out on a rally car project which had sat for a long time. My buddy Harrison finally snapped me into it, by implementing what became known as “The Harrison Rule”. The rule is simple: Spend a minimum of one hour each day in the garage. You are allowed to work more hours in a day, but you can’t “bank” or miss any hours. Thus, two hours tonight doesn’t mean I can skip tomorrow. During your one hour a day, you don’t even have to touch your project! You might clean the work bench, sweep the floor, I’ve even just sat looking at the car for an hour. After a few nights, however, you get bored and touch the project. You might just turn a few bolts. Soon you find yourself excited to get back in the garage because you can once again seeprogress on the project. Eliminate the TV. the internet surfing, the sitting back on the couch, and suddenly an hour a day becomes available. The Harrison Rule has saved me from more projects then I could count.

Hopefully these ideas keep you from having the perpetual “project” sitting in your garage!


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4 Responses to “Restoration Revelation (Part 2)”

  1. Duncan November 29, 2011 at 7:57 pm #

    Well then, time to implement the Harrison Rule and stop reading this kind of thing! Nicely written Dave, an inspiration to get something done is a good thing during these dark and dreary days!

  2. acp December 11, 2011 at 6:22 pm #

    Well said. Actually stolen from a writer’s bible thing, but absolutely applies. Keep it up.

  3. Iain Ayre June 21, 2012 at 10:04 am #

    When it comes to writing, stealing is regarded as an unkind word. The professional writer never steals anything, but is quite often influenced by other writers. That’s quite different from stealing ideas.


  1. 2013 CCA Event Dates Announced | Classic Car Adventures - December 5, 2012

    [...] collecting dust in their (your) garage? Drag them out, take the cover off, and perhaps teach them The Harrison Rule? It might just be the best gift you give all year. On a related note, we also want to encourage you [...]

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