Why do you own (or want to own) a Mopar musclecar? Don't think about it. It's not a trick question. You own your car because you love the car, and you want to drive it and show it off. But you also know that getting your dream car the way you want it is going to take some work. You're not afraid of getting dirty, but perhaps the thought of completely disassembling your car and then taking years to get it back together is a bit intimidating.
Yes, it's true that the most efficient way to restore a car is to do it all at once. You tear it down, find out what is needed, and then methodically restore or replace each component as it slowly goes back together. But that usually can't be done in a single winter season, and after what could turn into years of all work and no rewards, it can be tough to maintain momentum. Perhaps the restoration of every last detail is not your top priority. After all, you bought it to enjoy it, not to work on it all the time.
So, we would like to introduce a new series of articles to help you restore your dream car one bite-size piece at a time. The inspiration for this comes from our friends at Muscle Car Restorations (MCR) in Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin. Owner John Balow, responding to a need in the restoration market, has started a new program called Progressive Restoration. The basic premise is to do only what can be done during one winter season so the owner gets his car back in time for summer cruising. The car is done one section at a time as the owner has resources available. It doesn't matter how many years it takes to finish what the owner wants done; every summer he is behind the wheel enjoying his ride. As John's personal '68 Barracuda goes through the process, we'll pick out selected parts of the restoration to provide you some inside tips that you can use for your project.
It's unlikely that you are going to find a car that doesn't need some level of rust repair, so let's start there. This is often the toughest hurdle for most first timers to get over. The best way, of course, is to completely disassemble the car and have it chemically stripped to completely remove every last speck of rust, but that requires complete disassembly of the car, which is what we are trying to avoid. Since many of you are going to end up patching the rusty areas of your car, we'll start by showing you the best way to do that.