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Second Chance Garage

For the Classic Car Restoration Enthusiast

Second Chance Garage


Second Chance Garage

For the Classic Car Restoration Enthusiast

Second Chance Garage

Second Chance Garage

For the Classic Car Restoration Enthusiast

Second Chance Garage

How To

This is where we get our hands dirty. How-To's give you step-by-step guidance through the many processes of classic car restoration required to bring your classic car back to like-new condition.

Classic Car Auto Upholstery Series Part 2: Seams and Sewing Machine Accessories

Classic Car Auto Upholstery Series Part 2: Seams and Sewing Machine Accessories

How To - By Chris Wantuck
In Part 2 of this series on Auto Upholstery for the Beginner, we'll cover seams and some attachments used on a sewing machine. After you have mastered joining seams, you'll begin to see how simple projects can be made. …keep reading

Classic Car Auto Upholstery Series Part 1: Automotive Upholstery for Beginners

Classic Car Auto Upholstery Series Part 1: Automotive Upholstery for Beginners

How To - By Chris Wantuck
First in a series of articles dedicated to Automotive Upholstery for Beginners. In this article we talk about the industrial strength sewing machines needed for re-upholstering your classic car …keep reading

Classic Car Accessory Trunks: Designing and Fabricating your Own Trunk - Part 3

Classic Car Accessory Trunks: Designing and Fabricating your Own Trunk - Part 3

How To - By Chris Wantuck
We finish up our 3 part series on building a Classic Car Accessory Trunk showing our approach to covering the trunk. …keep reading

Classic Car Accessory Trunks: Designing and Fabricating your Own Trunk - Part 2

Classic Car Accessory Trunks: Designing and Fabricating your Own Trunk - Part 2

How To - By Chris Wantuck
In Part 2 of our Trunk series, we'll show you our approach to the actual construction of the trunk. …keep reading

Classic Car Accessory Trunks: Designing and Fabricating your Own Trunk - Part 1

Classic Car Accessory Trunks: Designing and Fabricating your Own Trunk - Part 1

How To - By Chris Wantuck
This begins our 3 part series on building a trunk suitable for your pre-30's classic car. We will be discussing the design, construction and covering processes in detail. …keep reading

How to Adjust the Hood Lock on your Classic Car

How To
A simple trick can make this sometime difficult task a little easier. …keep reading

How to Easily Install High-Tension Springs on Your Classic Car

How To
To install a high-tension spring in your Classic Car, you basically have to out-pull the spring. Sometimes that's next to impossible....but there is a way …keep reading

How to Form and Flare Tubing Ends

How to Form and Flare Tubing Ends

How To - By Chris Wantuck
Adding fittings to brake and gas lines is a job that has to be done right. Here's how... …keep reading

How to Repair Damaged Vinyl Soft Trim

How to Repair Damaged Vinyl Soft Trim

How To - By John Gunnell
Padded dashboards were introduced in the 1950s. After years of being baked by the sun, they tend to get brittle and crack. If the cracking is minor, it's not too hard to repair the vinyl. …keep reading

Installing Braided Stainless Steel Brake Lines

Installing Braided Stainless Steel Brake Lines

How To - By John Gunnell
They may cost a little more, but unless you're looking for concours-level originality, the added safety is worth the price. …keep reading

The Right Method for Removing and Reinserting Studs

The Right Method for Removing and Reinserting Studs

How To - By Chris Wantuck
When working on an engine, it's not unusual to find studs on oil pan surfaces, transmission bell housings, and intake and exhaust manifolds. Here's the right way to deal with them. …keep reading

Overhauling the Sylphon Bellows Thermostat

Overhauling the Sylphon Bellows Thermostat

How To - By Chris Wantuck
Used in the 1920s and 1930s to control "shutters" on grills, this thermostat control system is really not as complex as it looks …keep reading

Old-time upgrade for your old-time car's king pins

Old-time upgrade for your old-time car's king pins

How To - By John Gunnell
Old-time kingpin upgrade is still available and will let your car steer better …keep reading

Using a Timing Light on your Dual Point Ignition

Using a Timing Light on your Dual Point Ignition

How To - By Chris Wantuck
Several auto manufacturers from the early years up through the 1950s used a dual point ignition system. This article shows you how to adjust the points on one of those engines. …keep reading

Restoring a Zenith Stromberg Carburetor Linkage

Restoring a Zenith Stromberg Carburetor Linkage

How To - By John Gunnell
Sometimes small things that seem really simple can be really complex. …keep reading

Organization Tips During Car Restoration

Organization Tips During Car Restoration

How To - By Chris Wantuck
Keeping track of things when restoring your classic car is extremely important. Knowing how it all goes back together doesn't hurt, either …keep reading

Gas Tank Cleaning using Electrolysis

Gas Tank Cleaning using Electrolysis

How To - By Chris Wantuck
We've looked at this process before, but gas tanks are unique and it's important to know the best way to treat them. …keep reading

Dashboard Dissassembly System Uses Cardboard Dash

Dashboard Dissassembly System Uses Cardboard Dash

How To - By John Gunnell
Rewiring a dash can be a tricky undertaking. Given that, a method to keep track of where everything came from during disassembly is critical. Here's one approach. …keep reading

How to Keep Mice Out of Your Classic Car

How to Keep Mice Out of Your Classic Car

How To - By John Gunnell
Keeping furry little creatures out of cars is high on the priority list of collectors. …keep reading

Rebuilding a Door Bumper: An Example of Machining Basics and Simple Casting

Rebuilding a Door Bumper: An Example of Machining Basics and Simple Casting

How To - By Chris Wantuck
On many projects, many smaller parts are just not available. This door bumper is one of them. Here's how to re-create your own. …keep reading

Banjo Lessons: Steering Wheel Restoration

Banjo Lessons: Steering Wheel Restoration

How To - By John Gunnell
Restoring a three-spoke "Banjo" steering wheel...sometimes it take two to make one. …keep reading

Salvaging an Ignition Rotor: When Parts Become Scarce and You Must Repair

Salvaging an Ignition Rotor: When Parts Become Scarce and You Must Repair

How To - By Chris Wantuck
As parts for collectible cars become harder to find, sometimes you have no choice but to repair what you have …keep reading

Welding Cast Iron: Repairing a Brittle Metal

Welding Cast Iron: Repairing a Brittle Metal

How To - By Chris Wantuck
No sense in tossing a hard-to-find cast iron part because it's cracked or broken. Instead of drilling out the end of the crack and putting in a bolt, repairing the cast iron to join the surfaces is a better way to prevent further cracking. …keep reading

Making Acorn Nuts: The Pursuit of Excellence

Making Acorn Nuts: The Pursuit of Excellence

How To - By Chris Wantuck
When do we settle for just what is available from a vendor or supplier? At what length do we go in order to achieve the correct look? …keep reading

How to Use Threaded Rivets

How to Use Threaded Rivets

How To - By Chris Wantuck
It's all in the details...It's the little things that count and these little gems go along way to achieving the original look. …keep reading

Casting Tail Light Lenses

Casting Tail Light Lenses

How To - By Chris Wantuck
Casting plastics is not new, but knowing what materials are available and how to use them can make this task simple. And fun! …keep reading

How to Touch Up Paint on Your Classic Car

How to Touch Up Paint on Your Classic Car

How To - By John Gunnell
Applying touch-up paint to a car is easy. Applying touch-up paint to an old finish so it looks like no touch-up has been done is an art. …keep reading

Restoring Instrument FacePlates for Your Classic Car

Restoring Instrument FacePlates for Your Classic Car

How To - By Chris Wantuck
Details...it's all in the details. Leaving a clock or instrument faceplate in its original worn condition detracts from the look of a freshly restored car. Here's one approach to giving those faceplates a new look. …keep reading

Reproducing Small Parts: A Quick Way to Make Patterns

Reproducing Small Parts: A Quick Way to Make Patterns

How To - By Chris Wantuck
Sometime we come across the need to replicate small parts that aren't readily available commercially. Here's one approach. …keep reading

How to Replace the Trunk Handle on your 1948 Pontiac Streamliner

How to Replace the Trunk Handle on your 1948 Pontiac Streamliner

How To - By Bill Flitcraft
These things always look tricky, since there are rarely any visual cues as to how to take them apart. This step-by-step directions should make it a piece of cake. …keep reading

Real World Ways to Tag and Flag Old Car Parts

Real World Ways to Tag and Flag Old Car Parts

How To
There are different ways to keep track of all the parts you remove from your classic car restoration project car. Here are some you may find useful. …keep reading

Vent Window Regulator Rebuild

How To - By Tom Benford
It's a fact of life that all things mechanical will eventually wear out. Such is the case with vent window regulators. Here's how to rebuild them …keep reading

Restoration of a Smith's Heater

How To - By John Gunnell
Smith's heaters are commonly found on British cars ranging from Jaguar's to MG's. Here's what's required to put them back into tip-top shape …keep reading

High Performance Distributor Upgrade

High Performance Distributor Upgrade

How To - By Tom Benford
Sometimes you just might want to give your Corvette a boost and a high-performance distributor might just do the trick. …keep reading

4 Steps to a Top-Notch Convertible Top

4 Steps to a Top-Notch Convertible Top

How To - By John Gunnell
Convertible top frames take a lot of abuse. Nuts, bolts, rivets, screws and grommets break. Bushings wear from years of raising and lowering the top. Top bows can get scratched. The bows can be damaged and throw the geometry off. This article can help …keep reading

How to Replace Muscle Car Metal

How to Replace Muscle Car Metal

How To - By John Gunnell
At first, some body repairs seem daunting. Buy with careful planning and lots of patients, even a first-timer can get great results. …keep reading

Detailing An Engine in the Car

Detailing An Engine in the Car

How To - By John Gunnell
Just because you're not doing a full frame-off restoration on your classic car doesn't mean that under the hood has to be less than perfect. …keep reading

How to Install Vintage Air A/C into a Vintage Corvette

How To - By Tom Benford
Just because they had to put up with driving around in the sweltering heat in the '60s, doesn't mean you have to now... …keep reading

Disc brake renewal takes patience, skill and the right tools

How To - By Terry Parkhurst
Getting the job done correctly is an absolute must when you're talking about stopping your car. …keep reading

Bright Idea for Old Cars: Stainless Steel Brake Lines

How To - By John Gunnell
Putting stainless steel brake lines on your classic car ranks right up there with sliced bread as a cool, modern invention. …keep reading

British Tappet (Valve) Cover Restoration

How To - By John Gunnell
There's more than meets the eye with British Tappet (Valve) covers …keep reading

How to Rebuild a Corvette 454 Engine - Part 14

How To - By Tim Cote
In this final installment on rebuilding a 454 Corvette V8, we install the distributor and finish up on some loose ends. …keep reading

How To Clean A Paint Gun

How To - By Bruce Saalmans
It's easy to do a "quickie" cleanup job on your spray gun...but it will come back to haunt you. …keep reading

How to Replace a Corvette Half-Shaft U-Joint

How To - By Tom Benford
U-joints play a crucial role in the overall scheme of things, since they are responsible for the delivery of power from the transmission to the rear wheels. Corvette has its own approach to drive shafts and u-joints. …keep reading

How To Photograph Collector Cars

How To Photograph Collector Cars

How To - By Tom Benford
At first blush it would seem that photographing collector cars is no big deal; just frame the subject, make sure the exposure and lighting is adequate, and click away, right? Well, that's fine if you just want a snapshot of the car for your scrapbook. But if you want to capture the real essence of the vehicle it becomes a Zen thing - you must become one with the car. …keep reading

How To Repair Paint Flaws without Respraying

How To - By Bruce Saalmans
If your paint is a little less than perfect, don't despair...there are many options for bringing up the quality of your paint job without respraying …keep reading

How to Take Dents Out of Stainless Steel Trim

How To - By Robert Bravender
Bringing back that hard-to-find trim is an essential skill. …keep reading

Replacing a Windshield, Headliner and Console in a 64-1/2 through 68 Mustang

How To - By Robert Bravender
There's one thing we need to make perfecty clear...(And a new headliner and ceiling-mounted console are part of the deal.) …keep reading

Freshening Up Your Classic Car Engine Appearances

How To - By Tom Benford
Dirt happens! Your Classic Car's Engine can pick up crud when you're not looking. Here's how to freshen things up a bit. …keep reading

How to Rebuild a Corvette 454 Engine - Part 12

How To - By Tim Cote
Now we're installing our valve covers and a new dipstick. …keep reading

Electrolytic Rust Removal

How To - By Luke Chennel
Tired of all the dusty, dirty sanding and cleaning when removing rust? Here's an easy and green method of cleaning rusty parts without all the mess. …keep reading

1980 TransAm Carpet Installation

How To - By Patrick Smith
Changing the carpet in your muscle car looks like a big job, but its a good project for hobbyists. All you need are hand tools and patience. …keep reading

How to Rebuild a Corvette 454 Engine - Part 11

How to Rebuild a Corvette 454 Engine - Part 11

How To - By Tim Cote
We take a look at the intake manifold and carburetor installation …keep reading

How to Rebuild a Corvette 454 Engine - Part 10

How To - By Tim Cote
How to determine piston to valve clearance. …keep reading

How to Rebuild a Corvette 454 Engine - Part 9

How to Rebuild a Corvette 454 Engine - Part 9

How To - By Tim Cote
Tim walks us through the proper sequence for determining push rod length for the new heads. …keep reading

How to Rebuild a Corvette 454 Engine - Part 8

How to Rebuild a Corvette 454 Engine - Part 8

How To - By Tim Cote
In this installment we look at how to install the oil pump, camshaft and timing gears …keep reading

How to Rebuild a Corvette 454 Engine - Part 7

How To - By Tim Cote
In this article we look at installing bearings and pistons …keep reading

Buffing Our Clear Coat to a Show Finish

Buffing Our Clear Coat to a Show Finish

How To - By Bill McKenna
This finishes out Bill McKenna's four part series on painting your classic car. You have to admit, he does nice work! …keep reading

How to Rebuild a Corvette 454 Engine - Part 6

How To
An easy, but important step in rebuilding your 454 …keep reading

How to Color Sand Your Classic Car

How to Color Sand Your Classic Car

How To
Part Three of Bill McKenna's series on painting your classic car. This time he covers Color Sanding …keep reading

How to Properly Dispose of Used Oil, Transmission Fluid, Anti-Freeze, etc.

How To
Be kind to your planet...it's the only one you've got. Dispose of all your project car's fluids properly. Here's how …keep reading

How to Rebuild a Corvette 454 Engine - Part 5

How to Rebuild a Corvette 454 Engine - Part 5

How To
454 Corvette Engine Build Combination and Piston Ring Installation …keep reading

How to Paint Your Classic Car

How to Paint Your Classic Car

How To
Second installment of Bill McKenna's series on painting your antique car. …keep reading

How to Rebuild a Corvette 454 Engine - Part 4

How to Rebuild a Corvette 454 Engine - Part 4

How To
After getting our block back from the machine shop, we continue on with our Corvette 454 Engine Rebuild …keep reading

How To Rebuild a Corvette 454 Engine - Part 3

How To
Part Three of this series deals with oil pump modification and pressure balancing …keep reading

How to Build a Home Paint Booth

How To
In this four part series, Bill McKenna shows us how to paint a car...starting with how to build your own paint booth, shooting paint, color sanding, and buffing …keep reading

How to Rebuild a Corvette 454 Engine - Part 2

How to Rebuild a Corvette 454 Engine - Part 2

How To
In our last installment, we got the engine on an engine stand and pulled the pan. Now we look at disassembling the engine …keep reading

How to Rebuild a Corvette 454 Engine - Part 1

How to Rebuild a Corvette 454 Engine - Part 1

How To
Tim Cote shows us how he reworked his 1971 Corvette 454 cubic inch engine …keep reading

Bad Jobs: Getting Broken Bolts Out

How To
A broken bolt or screw is the bane of auto restorers, not to mention anyone else trying to fix any piece of machinery. The job can't proceed until the fastener is removed and, of course, you didn't allow for all that extra time, did you? What to do now? What alternatives are there to get the bolt out? …keep reading

How to Tune Up Your Car

How To
While many hobbyists and backyard mechanics have been tuning their cars for decades, very few actually do so in the correct manner. We explain how to go about this most important task …keep reading

Tachometers 101 - Converting From Mechanical to Electronic

How To
In the course of our T-Bird restoration we converted the cable-driven, 50 year-old tachometer, to a new electronic unit …keep reading

How to Install a Padded Dash

How to Install a Padded Dash

How To
Installing a padded dash can be intimidating to a lot of car restorers. Our '55 T-Bird restoration project has given us a great opportunity to show how it's done …keep reading

Upgrading Your Disc Brakes - Installing Pads, Calipers and Rotors

How To - By Tom Benford
GM introduced 4-wheel disc brakes with the 1965 Corvette. While the originals were head-and-shoulders above the old drum brakes, brake technology has continued to improve over the last 40 years. Better stopping power is always worth the effort …keep reading

Spin-On Oil Filter Conversion

How To - By Tom Benford
If you have a 1956 thru 1967 Chevrolet V-8 you know what a messy job changing your oil can be due to the OEM canister-style oil filter. Using a less expensive and infinitely more convenient spin-on conversion can ease your pain …keep reading

Plastic Steering Wheel Restoration

How To - By Tom Benford
Over time plastic steering wheels are prone to cracking especially when they have been subjected to extreme temperature changes. Here's on of many ways to repair them …keep reading

How to Use and Interpret a Vacuum Gauge

How To
It's the "magic elixer" of automotive troubleshooting that only takes a few minutes to learn to use. If you don't own a vacuum gauge, go out and buy one. In the meantime, check out our animated "Virtual Vacuum Gauge"! …keep reading

Carburetor Rebuilding: No Big Deal, Really

Carburetor Rebuilding: No Big Deal, Really

How To
This in-depth discussion of how to rebuild your carburetor(s) will help guide you through one of the more intricate projects associated with your restoration …keep reading

How to Make Your Own Wood Steering Wheel

How to Make Your Own Wood Steering Wheel

How To
Rebuilding that wooden steering wheel (or building a new one) isn't as daunting a task as it might seem. These step-by-step instructions show you the way …keep reading

Restoring a Horn

How To
Sure, you can buy an endless array of electronic horns, but nothing beats the originality of a big, heavy, metal, as-equipped horn. Besides, do you really want your truck to sound like a VW? …keep reading

Brake Overhaul & Restoration

How To
This is one area of automobile restoration where there's little margin for error...you must know what you're doing. This article deals with the proper way to assess and repair your brake system, along with a discussion of Mineral-based vs. Silicon brake fluids …keep reading

Classic Car Restoration First Step: Dissassembly

Classic Car Restoration First Step: Dissassembly

How To
The first steps of an auto restoration project can be the most important. Not only are you trying to appraise the condition of your car, but you want to make sure that when you are finished what you end up with is not just a pile of parts. Adding method to your madness can assure that this doesn't happen to you …keep reading

Door Panel Removal & Window Adjustment

How To
C'mon! You know you want to remove that panel to fix that lock or window mechanism, so here's how …keep reading

How to Replace A Distributor Without Going Crazy

How to Replace A Distributor Without Going Crazy

How To
What might seem like a trivial task - removing and replacing a distributor - can easily degenerate into a time-consuming, frustrating job. Here's some help …keep reading

Install That Compressor Right

How To
We've used several air compressors in the past and learned a lot about them. We also learned how to "plumb" the air compressor to get maximum flexibility out of it …keep reading

Calculating Compression Ratios

How To
Just because your engine was manufactured to have a certain compression ratio doesn't mean its true "as-assembled" ratio is close to that specification. It is very important to know your compression ratio, because ignition timing, fuel delivery and overall performance depend on it. This article shows you how to do the calculations …keep reading

Putting Spark Back in those Antique Spark Plugs with Thermal Heating

How To - By Allen K. Williams
The search for a serviceable replacement entails a lot of research because modern engines use High Energy Ignition and sophisticated combustion controls that require a wider gap. Revitalizing old plugs can be a better way …keep reading

Upholstery How-To: A Complete Interior: Part 2

How To
When we left off on the Jaguar's interior we had reupholstered the hated [only the Brits would come up with such a stupid, time-killing] console assembly. Next came the seats, mainly because there was a spate of cold, rainy weather and we just felt like working in the heated workshop rather than the garage …keep reading

Starter Restoration

How To
When checking over our truck project, we realized that somewhere down the line this truck will have to start. So we started on the starter. Got that? …keep reading

Cutting Safety Glass: I Can See Clearly Now

How To
Many older cars used flat glass for side and vent windows...cars with split windshields also use flat glass. Safety glass, with its clear plastic membrane between laminated glass presents its own special problems. The good news is that you can safely cut safety glass …keep reading

Upholstery How-To: A Complete Interior - Part 1

How To
A simple question at a car show has turned into a complete interior installation project. Join us as we work through our 1967 Jaguar XKE roadster interior step by step …keep reading

Steering Column Rebuild

Steering Column Rebuild

How To
Rebuilding the steering box and steering column on our 1952 Ford F-1 pickup restoration project is a pretty straightforward proposition. …keep reading

$80 Car Lift

How To - By Jim Honeywell
If you need space under that low-slung sports car that you just restored, Guest Writer Jim Honeywell's inexpensive lift might be the answer …keep reading

Upholstery 101: Part 2 - Re-Covering Seats

Upholstery 101: Part 2 - Re-Covering Seats

How To
The final article in a 2-part series, this article shows you how to finish up your re-upholstery project …keep reading

Upholstery 101: Part 1 - Seat Rebuilding

Upholstery 101: Part 1 - Seat Rebuilding

How To
First of a two-part article on restoring seats. This month, we discuss how to reconstruct the seat …keep reading

Paint Like a Pro with Spray Cans

Paint Like a Pro with Spray Cans

How To
For those times you don't want to fire up the spray gun and compressor...for those occasional small parts spraying jobs...you can still get the results you want with a spray can of paint …keep reading

Small Parts Spray Booth

How To
How to build our small parts spray booth that disappears when not in use …keep reading

Restoring Vintage License Plates

Restoring Vintage License Plates

How To
Most states (in the US) now allow the use of original license plates on collector cars. This article shows you how to get them back into original condition so that they'll be appropriate for your prized classic …keep reading

How to Replace Spark Plugs

How To
Even if you know how to do this, read on. It just might refresh your memory on how a spark plug works and how to get it right …keep reading

How to Read and Interpret a Voltmeter

How To
The voltmeter is one of the most useful tools you can own. Let us show you how easy it is to master its use …keep reading

How To Rebuild a Water Pump

How To
The more "non-mainstream" your car is, the more you need to rebuild components yourself. Here's how we saved over $500 by rebuilding this water pump …keep reading