6 Tips for Restoring Your Classic Dodge Vehicles

1964 Dodge Power Wagon

Recently, renowned Los Angeles auto shop ICON made headlines for restoring a 1964 Dodge Power Wagon, taking it from a beat-up old pickup to a show stopper. The shop completely transformed the Power Wagon, making it look as good as new and making viewers feel like they had been transported back in time.

The story may inspire you to think about the possibilities for your own classic Dodge or perhaps to buy a classic Dodge and restore it. By restoring your vehicle, you can potentially gain a huge return on your investment and have a cool car that will earn you bragging rights for a long time to come. 

Working with the right Dodge Miami dealership can help you find an older model to restore or can offer you advice and support on your project, including ordering the parts or performing some of the work for you. Here are a few other tips for restoring classic Dodge vehicles:

Determine Your Goals

Not all restoration jobs are created alike. There are actually several categories of restoration work, and each requires a different level of commitment.

A driver restoration gets the car driving again, and it can include some minor cosmetic repairs. This is the minimum level of restoration work that can be performed.

The next step up, the street show restoration level, gets the car in fully working condition and involves major cosmetic repairs.

If you are interested in showing the car, you’ll want to take on the “show car” restoration level. Professional quality cosmetic work is required to get the car looking its best.

Finally, the “concours” level is the pinnacle of restoration. This involves getting the car to look and run the way it did when it was first produced. This level of restoration is meant for cars that are going to be shown in contests and displays, not be driven for everyday use.

Knowing the level of restoration you want to perform before you begin any work can help you create a better plan to save both time and money.

Thoroughly Inspect the Vehicle

Before you can begin your restoration project, you will need to know exactly what work the car needs. This can be easier said than done. Rust can be hiding out under the body or in crevices under the hood or in the trunk. You may think you have a simple oil leak, but upon closer inspection find out that you have a major problem with the engine.

Get a strong flashlight and take your time as you go over the vehicle. If you don’t feel confident in your own abilities, you should bring your vehicle into a Dodge Miami dealership for a thorough inspection.

Start with a Sound Frame

Rust is enemy number one when it comes to classic cars. A little body rust may be able to be buffed out and painted over, but if rust permeates the frame, it can rot it out and undermine the structure of the whole vehicle.

If you have a bad rust problem, you may have to cut out bad pieces and weld on new ones. You may even have to fabricate your own panels from sheet metal. These are arduous undertakings that are not for the faint of heart.

Start with a sound frame and you’ll save yourself a lot of time and trouble later.

Use Original Parts

Original parts will add value to your car. However, they can be difficult to find — more difficult the older your car is.

Make a list of all the parts you’ll need, and then search for them online, in magazines, and trade shows. Classic car shows are a great place to find original parts and accessories for all types of older Dodge vehicles.

Don’t limit your search to original engine parts. Also look for original trim, moldings, mirrors, head lights, door handles, and more. 

Work with an Experienced Mechanic

You can’t do all the work on your classic Dodge restoration yourself. You will either be limited by your skills or the tools and materials you have available. Work with a mechanic who has experience in classic car restoration and in the specific model car you have. Ask for referrals to find the right mechanic, and then follow up on checking references and reading online reviews.

After you hire a mechanic for the job, make sure you visit the shop often to check on the progress of the repairs. If that’s not possible, ask the mechanic to send you photos of the progress. Inspect the work carefully after each job is completed. Don’t leave yourself vulnerable to surprises.

Know Your Limits

It can be very easy to convince yourself that you can do certain work because you saw a YouTube video showing you how to do it or you read all about it in an online forum. However, working on a classic car restoration project isn’t like trying to change your own oil or to replace the tires.

It is important that you have a realistic understanding of your ability and of the work required. If you take on more than you can really handle, you can put yourself in danger and risk the investment you have made in your car. You’ll turn a fun little hobby project into a complete nightmare. 

Admit to your limitations and turn over the bigger jobs to the experts. You’ll save time and money, and you’ll get much better results.

Restoring your classic Dodge vehicle can be both fun and rewarding. When you’re done, you’ll have a gorgeous piece of automotive history that you can show off proudly to friends and family.
Make sure you work with a trust mechanic at a Miami Dodge dealership to do the work. Kendall Dodge Chrysler Jeep Ram has a top-notch service department with mechanics who have been trained to work on all types of Dodge vehicles, as well as other models. Call us today to find out how we can help you.