Over the past several years I’ve received lots of e-mail from viewers of this site – many of which were sent with questions. I’ve noticed that I’m often asked the same question by numerous people. Therefore, to help folks find answers to these questions, below is a compilation of my most frequently asked questions. If your question isn’t covered here, please feel free to e-mail us by clicking the “Resources” button on the top menu bar and then selecting “contact us”.
Q. Can you suggest good places to look for a project car of my own?
A. There are lots of great places to find a deal of your own. Try looking in your local auto trader magazine, car shows, online forums, craigslist, and even on E-Bay. Even if buying a car off E-Bay isn’t something your interested in doing, you can learn a great deal by reading the ads, looking at the photos, and watching what the selling prices are.
Q. What should I look for when shopping for a project car of my own?
A. This greatly depends on what your ultimate goal is, what you should be looking for varies whether your looking for a finished show car or a project car. Either way, there are several areas you should keep an eye out for including rusting along the windshield frame, frame corrosion (especially around the trailing arms) and areas of damaged fiberglass. Beware of any musty orders in the cars interior as this is a tell tale sign of a water leak and could also be an indicator of more serious corrosion problems on the windshield frame. For a more comprehensive listing of what to look for check out the Corvette Buyers Checklist. Also, if you can manage, take someone familiar with Corvettes along to look at the car with you. After all, there’s no substitute for experience.
Q. What books and manuals do you recommend for someone planning a restoration?
A. There are numerous books available that document individual restoration projects and, although I’ve found several to be an interesting read, not many are detailed enough to provide significant guidance on completing a restoration. On the other hand, I’ve found the Corvette Assembly Instruction Manual (AIM), GM Chassis Service Manual, and GM Chassis Overhaul Manual to be tremendously helpful. Anyone contemplating any significant amount of work on their Corvette should own each of these manuals, they are invaluable references.
Q. What did you use to sandblast your frame?
A. For sandblasting the frame I purchased a cheap sandblaster off E-bay and used a product called “Black Beauty” that I bought from my local rental store. Black Beauty is blast furnace slag and is a very aggressive media that works well for removing rust scale from the frame. If you check around at a few body shops or rental outlets you can likely find it for a very reasonable price.
Q. How did you learn to do all this work yourself?
A. Believe it or not, this has been a learn-as-you go sort of project for me. Granted I’ve worked on cars my whole life, but this is the first restoration project I’ve undertaken. I’ve found the key to a successful project is knowing when to ask a question, and where to look for a good answer. I’ve found the above noted manuals to be great resources, as well as numerous online forums where folks are always willing to offer advice.
Q. How much does the body of the Corvette weigh (without the frame)?
A. Although I’ve never taken an official weight of just the body, the body alone (without the chassis and engine) likely weighs somewhere in the range of 600-800 pounds.
Q. Can you provide any guidance for folks looking to do an all original restoration?
A. I certainly admire anyone who’s goal is to complete an original restoration, it’s quite a different process that involves intensive research and attention to detail. Folks planning to go this route should visit the National Corvette Restorers Society www.ncrs.org where you’ll find numerous like-minded folks who can provide valuable advice and insight.
Q. What color are you going to paint the car when you’re done?
A. No final decision has been made yet, but right now I’m leaning toward a red exterior with a black interior. Regardless, the dark green interior needs to go!
Q. Where on earth do you find the time to do all this?
A. Finding time is not always easy, but devoting a few hours each weekend adds up over time. Many of the tasks involved with completing a restoration can be chipped away at by completing a little bit here and a little bit there. Provided you don’t mind the project continuing over a long period of time you’ll eventually get things wrapped up.