To be a good restorer of antique cars requires that you have the ability and desire to keep good records. Unless you have a photographic memory, it is very unlikely that you will remember all of the minute details associated with your particular classic auto. Plus, with all of the information recording tools at our disposal today, there’s really no good reason to not keep records of your progress.
Almost everyone has a computer these days with some version of a spreadsheet installed on it. As part of your restoration project, you’ll no doubt be studying parts catalogs and assembly manuals searching for parts that you may need. A spreadsheet is the near perfect tool for storing and accessing this information. It’s very simple to put together a replacement parts spreadsheet that will contain parts description, parts source, parts number, manufacturer, estimated price, and any other information that could help organize your parts search.
In addition to being a great repository for such information, a spreadsheet will also allow you to sort and re-organize your collected data with very little effort. You may not even have to create your auto replace parts spreadsheet yourself. There are many places on the Internet where you can download the perfect spreadsheet for your needs for a small price and sometimes even free.
Another excellent record keeping tool is the simple tape or digital audio recorder. This allows you to keep a running commentary of the condition of the auto, the parts that need to be ordered, what work has to be done, and so on. Most people find the process of talking into a recorder, much easier than having to stop every few minutes to write your thoughts down on a note pad. If you like, you can even have the recording transcribed into a written document that you can refer back to as you begin your work. Transcription services can be easily found over the Internet for very reasonable prices.
An audio recorder doesn’t have the advantage of giving you a visual record as a digital camera or video cam would, but it can still be useful. A remote start/stop activator will also be advantageous to avoid recording random shop noises while you’re working.
It can be a bit of a pain to record this info. But, a good restorer understands that it is important to keep records. And, in the long run, these records will make any restoration job easier.