If your dream car is a classic 1948 Ford F-1 pickup, then restoration may be the only way for you to have the truck of your dreams. If this is the case, then you might need some information to get you started. After all, tracking down the body of the truck and those necessary classic Ford truck parts is only one part of the process. Be prepared to pour your body and soul into restoring that classic truck which you have your heart set on.
How to Choose the Truck to Restore
The experts from classiccars.about.com recommend that you have at least five different makes/models for your original decision. The reason to have so many choices available is that you'll quickly find yourself ruling out trucks when you find out just what must go into completing the restoration.
- What do you want to do with the restored truck? If you hope to sell it, then you need to make sure that it is a popular auto which has a good history of selling.
- How much will it cost to make that initial purchase?
- How hard or easy will it be to locate the classic Ford truck parts which you'll need?
- What type of maintenance will be necessary?
- How much of the restoration will you be able to do yourself?
You may also want to consider how comfortable the truck will be to drive after the restoration is complete. The amount of room you have for the restoration will also be a factor in your decision. You'll need storage room as well as space for working. Do you have a work area which is protected from the elements? Just because you found a great old classic rusting out in the field doesn't mean that you can work in the same conditions. If you don't have room to work on a truck, you may need to downsize to a smaller classic.
Sticking to Your Budget
In order to take your project from start to completion, you'll need to be sure that your budget lasts as long as the project does. In order to do this, you want to carefully inspect that old Ford classic before you buy it.
- You'll want to evaluate the amount of work for both the body and the insides to determine whether you'll be able to pay for all of the classic Ford truck parts which you'll have to find.
- Next, decide whether or not you can use parts which aren't the original parts. If you can compromise on some of the parts, then you'll have more money to spend on the authentic parts that really matter.
- How much of the work will you be able to do yourself? You might save a lot of money if you don't have to pay for someone else's labor, but if you have to pay a professional to fix something which you've broken, then you may pay more than you originally hoped to save.
- Expect to spend more than your estimate. Most restorations end up costing more than was initially planned. Give yourself some leeway by adding about 30% to your estimate.
- Find a reliable source of help. The very best help will be a friend with some restoration experience under their belt, but there are also some pretty helpful sites on the Internet and some great guides have been put together in book form, for a handy resource. One example of an Internet site with helpful information is this Ford site.
Finding the Parts You Need
The search for your classic Ford truck parts may lead to some of your greatest frustration, but might also be some of your greatest excitement. Searching through a salvage yard for parts from similar vehicles can feel like a very real treasure hunt. For much lower prices, you can sometimes find the parts you need and plenty of parts that you might need in the future.
For those really hard to find parts and for the parts which must be new (or close to), then an Internet search may be your best resource. There are some sites which cater to classic Ford restoration projects and some sites with access to parts from many different brands. There are also sites which specialize in classic and antique parts. Don't rush into a purchase until you have spent some time comparison shopping, so that you are sure you are getting the best value for your money.
One other option you may want to try is on car collector groups. These virtual gatherings of other enthusiasts can be a great source of classic parts, tips for your restoration, and advice from people with more experience in restoration.
Give Yourself Plenty of Time
From the time you spend tracking down the beautiful truck which is a great restoration specimen to the moment when you snap the completion photo you can expect to spend at least a year. It may even take longer than this if you have a pretty busy lifestyle. Don't try to rush this process. Take your time to get the best prices for parts, to complete parts of the project correctly, and to really enjoy the time you have to spend with a great classic Ford truck.
Enjoy this view of some old Ford classics.