Vintage Motorcar Company
  • Complete and Partial Restorations
  • Service of Antique, Classic, and Special Interest Automobiles
  • Mechanical Repairs & Rebuilding
  • Engine Rebuilding
  • Detailing & Show Preparation
  • Sheet Metal Fabrication
  • Fiberglass Repair
  • Bodywork & Painting
  • Trim & Upholstery
  • Tour Preparation
  • Enclosed Transport Services

 

 

Membership & Affiliations

Membership & Affiliations Antique Automobile Magazine The Buick Bugle

 

 

VMC offers group tours to preview our restorations in progress! Please call for more information

The VMC Restoration Process

The Vintage Motorcar Co staff is well-versed in the arts of preservation, as well as restoration. Whether you are interested in preserving the original features and integrity of an HPOF certified classic or incorporating the latest technical innovations into your retro-rod, VMC can help.

Safety is a top priority at VMC. Each project is carefully inspected and tested for operation and performance. Many times, older concealed damage is found that owners have no idea exists. Our restoration technicians document all findings and a written report is then reviewed with clients, item by item. Photos and drawings are made, carefully documenting original features as well as repair needs of the project. Photos are also provided to the clients at no charge throughout the entire restoration process.

Every project is meticulously disassembled. The amount of disassembly required is less for repairs and partial restorations; more for larger complete restorations. Each part is treated as if it is irreplaceable, because more often than not, it is! Parts and components are placed and stored in such a manner as to protect them—typically bagged, boxed and tagged so that they are accounted for throughout the project’s progress. As disassembly continues, parts lists and repairs required from outside vendors are tracked.

Following disassembly, the job of degreasing, stripping and cleaning each part begins. Each component is kept intact until it is time to address it. Because the objective of any restoration is to make the vehicle appear and operate as if it is new, years upon years of grunge, grit and grime must be removed carefully and skillfully. All parts and components being restored are stripped properly and cleaned using the most appropriate processes to avoid any unnecessary damage.

Use of improper solvents, abrasives and procedures can permanently damage any part of the project. This is particularly true of blasting media, such as sand, glass beads and similar air driven cleaning substances. VMC restoration technicians are extremely cautious if and when they use blasting media. If improperly performed, the intense localized heat created by the friction of the media against the surface will expand the metal. Sheet metal parts can be warped beyond repair, requiring replacement. Another concern is that air driven media may be introduced into any rotating bearing surfaces or interlocking devises, such as engines, transmissions or rear differentials. The list of possible offenses to these components is long indeed. VMC technicians, however, use extreme special care so as not to introduce any old or new grit to these parts. No abrasive, such as glass beads, sand aluminum oxide and similar media is ever used on any components or parts related to oil, air or fuel systems. VMC avoids this issue by using a relatively soft crushed walnut shell media for cleaning parts such as these.

After pre-cleaning, engines, transmissions and rear differentials are disassembled. All external and internal parts are thoroughly cleaned and inspected for wear and damage. Parts lists continue to be written, updated and reviewed. Further recommendations are made to owners and options are discussed. The parameters for each project are different from another. Once all options are discussed and course of action decided, proper mechanical repairs are set into motion.

Sheet metal repairs are required on almost all antique and classic automobiles. Unless your car as led a “charmed life”, it will require knowledgeable and highly skilled personnel to effectively reverse years of damage and decay. Many projects are rusted to the point of affecting safety. Even automobiles with previous sheet metal repairs may require work to be completely safe. If previous repairs were “just enough to get by” in the past, these repairs must be removed and started again. The sign of a well done repair is a repair that is invisible. Ignoring necessary repairs such as these needlessly puts owners, their families and others at unnecessary risk.

Rusted sections of bodies are cut and removed, one by one. As the process continues, repair panels are fitted and installed. Each panel is hand-fitted and shaped to match the original contours of the body. Many times panels are overlapped by the factory, such as inner and outer rocker panels. Each layer is removed and replaced to duplicate exactly the intended purpose. Welds and repairs performed at VMC are often superior to those of the manufacturer. Related parts and panels are fitted to the body as repairs are performed to ensure the accuracy of our work. Fitting the parts and panels together will save untold time, aggravation and money during final assembly. It is always best to have all adjustments centered during this procedure.

Once all sheet metal repairs and fitting are completed, all panels and fitted parts are removed. All shims and hardware necessary to achieve proper fit are bagged and tagged for reuse and reference during final assembly. The body shell, panels and related parts are then released to the boy shop. It is important to realize that all sheet metal components are reasonably straight at this time. There are no dents, dings or any major low spots in the body parts after sheet metal repairs. Any filling material used is only to remove slight imperfections and to smooth the panels. All panels are skim coated and block sanded to level and smooth. Successive coats of urethane primer are applied, sanded and leveled. After each application of primer-surfacer is applied, a finer grit of sandpaper is used, graduating up to 600 grit.

Only the highest quality epoxy and urethane products are used to refinish body, chassis and components. Epoxy and urethane products are durable and long lasting, resistant to shrinkage, fading and chemical damage. All parts are painted individually, unless otherwise painted as an assembly to duplicate original appearance. All components and chassis parts are also prepared and painted in correct colors and glosses. All exterior sheet metal body parts are color sanded and buffed to a glass like finish.

After refinishing, all parts and components are reassembled. All bagged and tagged small parts and hardware are cleaned and detailed. Chassis parts are assembled first, giving other parts and components their place to reside. Layer by layer, parts are detailed and assembled, revealing a more complete automobile each day. Items out-sourced for repairs/services are returned, refinished, detailed and installed. The body is installed on a completed chassis. Body panels, wiring, glass, dashboards, controls, bright-work and interiors are fitted and installed. Step by step it all comes together, until finally, it is time to test run the engine and related accessories. As assembly is completed, final adjustments, tuning and tweaking is performed. All projects are test driven to insure operation and performance prior to customer delivery. The grace, power and speed are returned to the restored automobile. The customer can show, drive and enjoy their pride and joy with confidence.