Book Review: How to Restore Your Collector Car — 2nd Edition, by Tom Brownell & Jason Scott
Jason Scott has joined author Tom Brownell in writing The Second Edition of How to Restore Your Collector Car. (available from www.motorbooks.com on June 1, 2009 — The first edition was published in 1983.) The book offers a thorough, all-round discussion of how to restore a car. It doesn't focus on any particular brand of car (which coincides with the philosophy of this website) but rather discusses many tips, tricks and guidelines that can be used on any car and that will make your restoration project all the more rewarding. As the author points out early on in the book, "If the joy is in the process — offering a retreat into a world of your own ordering, the satisfaction of learning new skills, and the pride of watching an item of beauty emerge from you labor — then the restoration will be self-sustaining, and you'll reap rejuvenation from your efforts. But if the purpose is only a show car at the other end, you're likely to give up before reaching the goal."
Covering everything from selecting your project car and getting it home, through the best approach to presenting your car at a car show, Tom offers numerous how-to guides as well as tips that can produce better results and make the processes easier. And throughout the book he continuously reminds us of safety considerations so that our projects can remain fun.
For an example how all-inclusive the book is, the chapters on painting cover everything from the types of application equipment, surface prep, how to apply paint — even when you should begin to paint. Included as well is information on other types of coatings, such as powder coating.
The book is particularly generous with its use of photographs. Much can be learned just by looking at the photos and reading the captions.
The Appendix provides a long list of useful resources that can save you time and effort when starting your car restoration project. To give you an idea of the completeness of the book, we have included the Table of Contents below.
As for any complaints about the book, we noticed that photos don't always align with the text. For example, a photo of the Hollander Interchange Manual (with caption) appeared on page 36, but mention of the book in the text didn't occur until page 40. While this is really a minor gripe, it wouldn't have required much effort on the part of the book's publisher to prevent this.
How to Restore Your Collector Car 2nd Edition is a welcome addition to any beginning through intermediate restorer's library. Fully experienced restorers would be familiar with most of the information provided. While many of the "How to Restore" books currently available go over a lot of the same material, there's enough information unique to this book to make it worth your while.
About the Authors
Jason Scott has over 20 years' experience overhauling muscle cars and has written numerous magazine articles. He has authored several books including "Camaro Restoration Guide 1967-1969; Original Camaro 1967-1969 and "How to Rebuild and Modify Your Muscle Car."
Sadly, as we received this book for pre-publication review, we learned of the passing of the books author, Tom Brownell. Tom died on May 2, 2009 at age 67, from a rare neurological disease similar to Lou Gehrig's disease.
Tom was a professor of technical writing at Ferris State University in Michigan. For over 25 years, Tom was a regular contributor to Old Cars Weekly, and founder of Vintage Truck magazine. He authored "How to Restore Your Chevrolet Pickup" and "How to Restore Your Ford Pickup". He was a member of the Society of Automotive Historians for over 30 years, and named a "Friend of Automotive History", the Society's highest award in October 2008. He will be missed by many car restoration enthusiasts.
Table of Contents
Chapter 1: Why Restore a Collector Car?
Chapter 2: Restoration: What does it mean?
Chapter 3: How to Select a Collector Car
Chapter 4: Research: Uncovering a Car's "Life Story"
Chapter 5: Setting Up Shop and Working Safely
Chatper 6: Dissassembly: Taking the Car Apart
Chapter 7: Restoring the Car's Brightmetal Trim
Chapter 8: cleaning, Stripping and Derusting
Chapter 9: Abrasive Cleaning
Chapter 10: Metal Repair
Chapter 11: Smoothing Dents and Repairing Metal
Chapter 12: Applying the Primer Coatings
Chapter 13: Applying the Finish Coat
Chapter 14: Inspecting and Overhauling Car Brakes
Chapter 15: Restoring Mechanical Assemblies
Chapter 16: Renewing the Car's Wiring
Chapter 17: Restoring Your Collector Car's Interior
Chapter 18: Replacing a Convertible Top and Renewing Weatherstripping
Chapter 19: Care and Preservation of Your Collector Car
Chapter 20: Showing and Enjoying Your Collector Car