The easy answer to this question is everyone one of them, from the tranny guy, to the rebuild guy, to the auto body technician.


But which one of these trades will figure most prominently into the final equation for you?


The question is wrapped around a restoration project concept, so the tasks are centered around the ability of the professional tradesmen to bring the showroom magic back to a tired old vehicle. The degree of difficulty is complicated by the ravages of time, hard miles and rust in every restoration.




The mechanical challenges to the project include availability of parts that will fit and technicians that can work on older vehicles. Old iron requires old school guys that can work on old school engines and transmissions that are not a simple computer diagnosis away from smooth operation, and both require old school parts for ultimate success.


The task is not easy for shops that handle older vehicles, but most of the good ones love the challenge of the hunt for parts and successful repair of the vintage rides. The sound of a smooth power-train, right from the smooth idle to the smooth shift of the automatic or manual transmission is the sweetest music ever played for the guys that look under the hood of an old ride.




They also like brakes that brake and steering systems that steer like the first mile on the road for the vehicle. They are cognizant of the limitations of these systems from the past, but they are anxious to get them back to their best days on the road.


The mechanical tradesmen are invaluable to every project because the vehicles simply will not get restored without their automotive services, however the one trade that will get most of the attention is the auto-body technician every time that the resurrected old set of wheels hits the road.


The worst part of every show is the static display where every vehicle will get subjected to extremely close scrutiny by a highly critical crowd of onlookers. They will leave no stone un-turned as they hover over every flaw in the paint and body work and they will be merciless in their critiques.




The mechanical work is largely invisible to the viewing public, unless they notice any leaks under the vehicle, but the body work is naked and vulnerable to very close gawking and heavy criticism, usually from tactless people who have never actually owned, invested (or actually been involved) in a restoration project.


As stated in the opening sentence, a car restoration is a process that involves numerous talented tradesmen to complete the project but the one tradesman that will take the most heat for their work is the auto body guy.




Their line of work never escapes the spotlight and, for this reason, the auto body guy will figure very prominently into the final equation of every completed restoration project at a car show. His work is right in front of everybody, so the auto body technician will be a very important part of every successful restoration.


Just ask the self-appointed experts at any show.


Jim Sutherland

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