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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

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How to Use and Interpret a Vacuum Gauge

Car Restoration 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

Let's Create a Carburetor!

Auto Theory
An inside look at your carburetor helps take away any apprehension you may have about digging into these little beasts …keep reading

Second Chance Garage Goes Shopping

Feature Articles
Things aren't always as they seem. This article shows some insight as to how to go about selecting your next project car …keep reading

Carburetor Rebuilding: No Big Deal, Really

Carburetor Rebuilding: No Big Deal, Really

Car Restoration 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

Car Restoration 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

Those Stubborn Screws

Dr Crankshaft
Dr. Crankshaft is at it again...in his own irascible style, he proves once again to be a good man to have around …keep reading

1959 Cadillac

Auto Biography
If there is one word to describe the automotive styling of the 1950's, the word would be "excess," excess chrome, excess gadgetry and excess use of fins! And when it comes to the biggest, tallest and most ornate fins, the hands-down winner of all time is the 1959 Cadillac …keep reading

Car Restoration Tip 24 - Need to Pressure Test a Heater Core?

Restoration Tips
Few things are as annoying - not to mention messy - as a leaking heater core. Here's an easy way to test you core …keep reading

Car Restoration Tip 23 - The Safe Way to Use a Spring Compressor

Restoration Tips
A handy tip that helps your use your coil spring compressors safely …keep reading

Car Restoration Tip 22 - Need to Shape Metal For a Body Repair?

Restoration Tips
Unfortunately templates can be as hard to make as doing the body work itself. Here's a quick and easy way to make those templates …keep reading

Car Restoration Tip 21 - Extend the Life of That Sandpaper

Restoration Tips
When wet sanding isn't possible, there are other ways to keep your sandpaper alive …keep reading

Car Restoration Tip 20 - Bondo Removal

Restoration Tips
Often car restoration hobbyists comes across thick body filler somewhere on the car they are stripping. Here's an easy way to remove it …keep reading

Car Restoration Tip 19 - Don't Fret About That Glue Spot on the Upholstery

Restoration Tips
No matter how hard you try, you're gonna get some glue on that new upholstery …keep reading

Car Restoration Tip 18 - Checking for Bondo

Restoration Tips
Who'd have thought a carpentry tool could tell you so much about a car? …keep reading

Car Restoration Tip 17 - Fast Rust and Paint Removal

Restoration Tips
It's dramatic, it's quick and it's easy to screw up, but boy does it work! …keep reading

Car Restoration Tip 16 - Don't Mar Those Nice Pieces in the Vise

Restoration Tips
Sometimes you can't avoid using your vise, inspite of it's nasty teeth …keep reading

Car Restoration Tip 15 - Drifting About

Restoration Tips
Stop looking around for the right sized drift for pressing out bearings and seals. You've got them right at hand …keep reading

Car Restoration Tip 14 - Spray Glue Shields

Restoration Tips
Keeping things tidy is critical when re-doing upholstery …keep reading

Car Restoration Tip 13 - Troubles getting a thin layer of body filler?

Restoration Tips
Here's a nifty little trick when using body filler …keep reading

Car Restoration Tip 12 - The Right Way to Check Your Oil

Restoration Tips
There's more to checking your oil than just checking the oil level …keep reading

Thinking About Re-Tiring Your Older Car?

Feature Articles
A while ago, we were contacted by a Corvette owner concerned that the Vette's old tires were getting a bit stiff with age. They were never much in the handling department, so he set out to find the "ideal" tires for his ride …keep reading

The Doctor and Dabney Track Down Another Noise

Dr Crankshaft
Dabney was hoping the Doctor could help him figure out the dull, heavy metallic knock that increased as the engine speed increased. He knew he could count on the Doctor for an opinion …keep reading

How to Pound Out a Dent

Beginners Corner
In car restoration, you will find that dents come in large and small sizes. They can be a crease, a shallow egg-shaped depression or just a little ding. Here's one way to approach them …keep reading

AutoBiography Special - The 1954 Plymouth Belmont Concept Car

AutoBiography Special - The 1954 Plymouth Belmont Concept Car

Auto Biography - By Tom Benford
The Plymouth Belmont was one of the "Dream Cars" designed and produced for the 1954 show season. In all probability, Chevrolet's new Corvette and Ford's impending Thunderbird two-seater had a heavy influence on the design of this car …keep reading

A Slightly Confusing History of Automatic Transmission Fluid and How It Works

Auto Theory
Selecting the proper quality of Automatic Transmission Fluid is not as easy as it once was. This article should help you decided which ATF is best for your application …keep reading

T-Bird Restoration Project Part 7 - Front End Conversion

T-Bird Restoration Project Part 7 - Front End Conversion

55 Tbird
As we mentioned early in this series of articles, we wanted to "modernize" the '55 T-Bird as we restore it. To make our project car "road worthy" we needed to upgrade the front suspension....here's how we did it …keep reading

Dr. Crankshaft - An Unauthorized Biography

Dr Crankshaft
Who Is This Dr. Crankshaft Guy, Anyway? (some of this might not be true) …keep reading

So What's the Deal about Horsepower, Anyway?

Auto Theory
It's a shame the term "horsepower" didn't come from the horse's mouth …keep reading

How Did They Get Those Names?

Feature Articles
Why is a Sumbeam Tiger, a Tiger and not a Pussycat? What's a Toronado anyway? Here's a look at some of the why's and wherefore's of automobile names …keep reading

Restoring a Horn

Car Restoration 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

1950 Nash Rambler Convertible

1950 Nash Rambler Convertible

Auto Biography
So what did Superman have to do with the Rambler? Well, very little, but Lois Lane drove one on the show. She was seen driving one and thousands of viewers saw it and had to have one! Do we know why the studio picked this car? …keep reading

Some Surprises Come in Little Packages

Dr Crankshaft
Dabney might have let his collecting fever get too high and added something a little quirky to his collection. Little did he know the Doctor wouldn't be able to solve his problem quickly …keep reading

Stud Replacement

Beginners Corner
Every restorer faces this problem at least once in every project: a stud or mounting fastener breaks off during removal and you run out of ideas on how to cope with it. Here's one way to look at the situation …keep reading

Car Restoration Tip 11 - Cleaning Delicate Parts

Restoration Tips
Cleaning filthy, painted-over, but otherwise salvageable VIN, engine, transmission or other identification plates can be a real challenge. This tip will help ease your pain …keep reading

Car Restoration Tip 10 - Cotter Pin Removal

Restoration Tips
Don't break your needle-nose pliers ever again...at least not on cotter pins …keep reading

Car Restoration Tip 9 - Drat That Tape!

Restoration Tips
Here's a treatment for your no-longer-sticky masking tape …keep reading

Car Restoration Tip 8 - Brake Fluid Etiquette

Restoration Tips
Brake fluid is nasty stuff and it pays to be careful …keep reading

Car Restoration Tip 7 - Tisket, Tasket, Who's Got a Gasket?

Restoration Tips
Here are some thoughts on how to make your own gaskets …keep reading

Car Restoration Tip 6 - Can't Find Sheet Metal?

Restoration Tips
Sometimes "used" is better …keep reading

Automotive Electrical Systems - Conclusion

Auto Theory
This article concludes our 6-part series on Automotive Electrical Systems. We hope that you have found it to be informative and interesting …keep reading

Car Restoration Tip 5 - Painting Tips

Restoration Tips
A couple of little ditties that will help you with your painting …keep reading

Automotive Electrical Systems - Part 5 - Ignition Systems

Auto Theory
Part 5 in our series on Automotive Electrical Systems answers that age-old question: What is my car's ignition system and how does it work? …keep reading

Car Restoration Tip 4 - Whitewall Preservation

Restoration Tips
This month's Tip of the Month tells you how to keep those wide whitewalls looking pretty …keep reading

Automotive Electrical Systems - Part 4 - Starters

Automotive Electrical Systems - Part 4 - Starters

Auto Theory
Starters are incredibly strong motors that work in a hostile environment. They are the most important part of the starting system and Part 4 of our Automotive Electrical Systems series explains how they work …keep reading

Car Restoration Tip 3 - Those Nasty Magnetic Screwdrivers

Restoration Tips
Little tidbits that can make your restoration a little easier …keep reading

Automobile Electrical Systems - Part 3

Auto Theory
In our 3rd installment, we continue to work our way through your car's electrical system. This month we discuss Voltage Regulators, what they do, and how they do it …keep reading

Brake Overhaul & Restoration

Car 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

Jaguar XKE - 1961-1974

Jaguar XKE - 1961-1974

Auto Biography
Sir William Lyons, president and co-founder of Jaguar, loved fast cars. He commited his company to the racing circuits immediately after World War II and by the mid-50's his engineers had achieved what few had done in so short a time- multiple wins at Le Mans. Read the story of one of the world's most-prized classics …keep reading

Car Restoration Tip 2 - Masking Made Easy

Restoration Tips
A masking tip for quick, on-the-car touchups …keep reading

Automotive Electrical Systems - Part 2

Automotive Electrical Systems - Part 2

Auto Theory
The second installment of this Auto Theory segment discusses the ins and outs of generators and alternators. Valuable information you don't want to miss …keep reading

Tools & Space

Feature Articles
Even before you begin to search for your perfect restoration project, you need to have an idea of the tools and space necessary to do the work. Do I really need an axle puller? What about a welder? Is a bead blasting cabinet really necessary? This article answers many of the questions beginners may have about setting up their own restoration shop …keep reading

Classic Car Restoration First Step: Dissassembly

Classic Car Restoration First Step: Dissassembly

Car Restoration 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

What Classic Car Restorers Need to Know about Gasoline

Feature Articles
High octane, low octane, leaded, unleaded, reformulated...now you can know what it all means and how it affects your classic vehicle. After reading this, it'll all become as clear as white gas …keep reading

The Mysterious Start/No-Start

Dr Crankshaft
If you can handle the rough edges, Dr. Crankshaft can get you through some tough problems...But Doc is what he is and nobody's going to change him...We know...we've tried …keep reading

Automotive Electrical Systems - Part 1

Auto Theory
This is the first installment of a 6-part series on automotive electrical systems. You will learn what you need to know to build, troubleshoot and repair your car's electrical system. Covering everything from batteries to voltage regulators, from ignition switches to distributors, this series will go a long way toward bringing clarity to an oftentimes difficult subject. This month's installment will discuss basic electrical theory and batteries …keep reading

Car Restoration Tip 1 - Chattering Windshield Wipers Sure are Annoying!

Restoration Tips
Ever wonder what you can do about chattering windshield wipers? Here's your answer …keep reading

How to Change an Oil Filter

Beginners Corner
Surprisingly, such a simple-looking device as the spin-on oil filter can be difficult to change …keep reading

Jaguar XK 120

Jaguar XK 120

Auto Biography
After the devastation of World War II, William Lyons, founder and president of Jaguar Cars was faced with rebuiliding broken-down war-production factories and dreaming of building a high-performance car …keep reading

The Lowly Oil Filter Does a Princely Job

Auto Theory
Oil does a number of important things in an engine. It helps cool the engine by transferring heat; seals the gap between piston rings and cylinder walls; absorbs contaminants; and suspends soot particles that are the residue of combustion. It's just nice to have around! …keep reading

T-Bird Car Restoration Project Part 6 - Two in One

55 Tbird
Since the hardtop was a separate component of the car, we decided to restore it and install the headliner, if for no other reason than for the psychological lift we'd get out of a finished project …keep reading

Dr. Crankshaft and the Lincoln Brakes

Dr Crankshaft
Power brakes can be a "nice" thing to have in a 6,000 pound car …keep reading

Engine Rebuilding - Stuff You Need To Know

Feature Articles
Now you know how it works, so how do you put it together? …keep reading

1965-1967 Sunbeam Tiger

1965-1967 Sunbeam Tiger

Auto Biography
A British car with a Ford V8, sold by Chrysler? Whose idea was this? …keep reading

How to Trace the History of Your Car

Feature Articles
Sometimes the magic works and sometimes not, but there are ways of doing it …keep reading

Bracket Repair

Bracket Repair

Beginners Corner
This happens to everyone, so you might as well know how to fix it. Even you "veterans" might want to take a look …keep reading

Dabney's Buick is a Little Out of Balance

Dr Crankshaft
Dabney's really got a problem and very little time to correct it: he just can't figure out why his Buick keeps throwing fan belts. There's only one way to solve the puzzle but he just doesn't have time for Doctor's long-winded explanations …keep reading

1952 Ford F1 Pickup Restoration Project - Part 14 - Our Ford Truck Needs to be Cool

52 Pickup
We want our truck to be really cool.... Of course, that means air conditioning …keep reading

1952 Ford F1 Pickup Restoration Project - Part 13 - What Should Have Taken an Hour...

52 Pickup
To move along toward our next milestone, which is testing our chassis, we set out to rebuild the steering drag link and install the steering box. Simple, huh? Maybe not …keep reading

1952 Ford F1 Pickup Restoration Project - Part 12 - Progress Report (or lack thereof)

52 Pickup
The truck project has slowed down a bit. But now that summer's about over with, we hope to pick up the pace. Here's what we've done …keep reading

1952 Ford F1 Pickup Restoration Project - Part 11

1952 Ford F1 Pickup Restoration Project - Part 11

52 Pickup
We haven't forgotten our truck project, although other things like press events, vacations, parts ordering and a host of other diversions have delayed work for awhile. Anyway, we're back in to the swing of things and got to work putting some brakes into the …keep reading

1952 Ford F1 Pickup Restoration Project - Part 10 - Rolling Right Along

52 Pickup
Whaddya know, the darn thing started right up! …keep reading

1952 Ford F1 Pickup Restoration Project - Part 9

1952 Ford F1 Pickup Restoration Project - Part 9

52 Pickup
We're finally getting back to the truck project! After a brief delay while we installed a furnace in the Second Chance Garage annex, we trying to get back on track …keep reading

Lubrication Part 2: Greases

Auto Theory
They are messy and smelly, but we need to learn to love them …keep reading

Leaf Springs

Auto Theory
Rear axles in most classic cars were suspended by semi-elliptical leaf springs. There's more to these systems than meets the eye …keep reading

T-Bird Car Restoration Project Part 5 - The Rear End

55 Tbird
We've been waiting for front suspension (modern Mustang) parts, and until these are welded in place there is no way to install the engine/transmission assembly into our '55 T-Bird car restoration project. So we decided to tackle the rear end while we waited …keep reading

Dabney Becomes Firmly Grounded

Dr Crankshaft
Major surgery to Dabney's 1940 Ford had some serious risks. Enter Doctor Crankshaft …keep reading

The Bricklin - Scooters to Subaru's

The Bricklin - Scooters to Subaru's

Auto Biography
Malcolm Bricklin dropped out of college at the age of 19, his reasoning being that the time could be better spent. After all, he was determined to become a millionaire by the age of 25 …keep reading

Guidelines for Starting and Completing a Project

Beginners Corner
We get emails all the time, asking us for a step-by-step guide to performing a restoration. We've come up with a chronological outline that would help keep your project on course …keep reading

We Almost Had to Shoot This Horse

Feature Articles
What initially seemed to be a simple fix turned out to be somewhat of a troubleshooting nightmare …keep reading

Door Panel Removal & Window Adjustment

Car Restoration 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

Lubricants Part 1 - Oil

Auto Theory
Okay, oil is messy and ugly, but we think you need to love and understand it anyway …keep reading

1964 Pontiac GTO

1964 Pontiac GTO

Auto Biography
The famous "Bunkie" Knudsen arrived as Pontiac's General Manager in 1956. He was a lover of performance and speed and immediately set out to change Pontiac Division's personna. His engineers were given the green light to bolt multiple carburetors onto the V8 engines and to install hotter camshafts as well …keep reading

Dabney's Dripping T-Bird

Dr Crankshaft
This is one of those cases where Dabney couldn't see the forest for the trees. Sometimes a little creativity can go a long way …keep reading

How to Replace Fan Belts

Beginners Corner
Most experienced mechanics probably don't give too much thought about installing and tightening fanbelts. But if you're a novice, the details might escape you. And of course, the details are everything …keep reading

1952 Ford F1 Pickup Restoration Project - Part 8 (Sort of)

52 Pickup
We were going to publish the next part of our Ford truck restoration project in this issue. It was going to cover the final assembly and test-firing of the engine. It was going to be pretty cool...then it got cold …keep reading

1952 Ford F1 Pickup Restoration Project - Part 7 Making the Hood Ready for Paint

52 Pickup
Two-thirds of restoration is cleaning stuff, especially sheet metal! This part is tedious, dirty and otherwise unpleasant. That's why it's important to do it right …keep reading

1952 Ford Truck Restoration Part 6 - Body Work 101

1952 Ford Truck Restoration Part 6 - Body Work 101

52 Pickup
You've been asking when we'd start the body work, so here goes...Get comfortable, because this is going to be a long, dirty, smelly process. We'll show you how to do it right so you don't have to do it over …keep reading

1952 Ford F1 Pickup Restoration Project - Part 5

52 Pickup
It's the "might-as-wells" that take all the time …keep reading

1952 Ford Truck Restoration Project Part 4 - The Best Laid Plans

1952 Ford Truck Restoration Project Part 4 - The Best Laid Plans

52 Pickup
If there weren't hidden surprises it wouldn't be a real restoration would it? …keep reading

1952 Ford F1 Truck Restoration Project Part 3 - Battery Box

52 Pickup
Our battery box was way beyond the "clean-and-paint" category. So we made a new one, using the original vertical supports. It was a great way to fill an afternoon …keep reading

Turn Signals

Auto Theory
Everyone takes the turn signals for granted. They serve an important safety benefit, of course, and seldom fail to operate …keep reading

How to Wire Brush Parts with a Bench Mounted Motor

Beginners Corner
Cleaning parts with a bench-mounted, motorized wire brush is efficient, quick and quite inexpensive …keep reading

T-Bird Car Restoration Project Part 4 - Rebuilding the Engine

55 Tbird
In spite of fuel leakage in the "teapot" carburetor the old motor started up and ran quite smoothly, but there was lots of blue smoke. We weren't worried about the smoke because we'd be replacing all of the components that might be the cause. We then took it apart for a rebuild …keep reading

Dabney and the Doctor Cluster Together

Dr Crankshaft
The Doctor finds a use for an old cluster gear that it wasn't designed for …keep reading

SCG Tests A Transmission Adapter

Product Reviews
One problem with our T-Bird project was its old 2-speed automatic transmission. To be able to keep up with today's traffic, we were concerned that the engine would have to rev rather high. We found a solution …keep reading

Mercedes Benz 230-280 SL

Mercedes Benz 230-280 SL

Auto Biography
During the 1950s, Mercedes Benz concentrated its engineering efforts on such things as braking, handling and body rigidity; things very much in vogue today. Then came the 300 SL but they realized that a $6,820 price tag (about $130,000 in today's dollars) would scare a lot of people away …keep reading

How to Replace A Distributor Without Going Crazy

How to Replace A Distributor Without Going Crazy

Car Restoration 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

1951 Hudson Hornet

1951 Hudson Hornet

Auto Biography
In 1948, any prospective car purchaser who came into a Hudson showroom was immediately surprised at how low and wide the cars seemed compared to other makes. This was Hudson's "step-down" design, the first "living room" on wheels. …keep reading

Dr. Crankshaft and the Skipping Chain

Dr Crankshaft
Dabney thought he had the solution to some disconcerting symptoms in his '55 Nomad, but once again he has to endure the Doctor's pontificating …keep reading

Install That Compressor Right

Car Restoration 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