Driving and Maintaining Your Car

How to Fix the Body on an Old Classic Car

If you've just bought a classic car that has been sitting in a farmer's barn for some years, then you may be looking forward to its full restoration. You may have been able to buy this vehicle for a good price and feel that it will be worth much more money when it is restored to its former glory, but there's quite a lot of work to perform before you can get there. While you may be quite happy doing some of the smaller jobs yourself and tinkering in your garage on a weekend, you will need to outsource some of the larger tasks to get the ball rolling. Once all the mechanical parts have been removed, attention will turn to the bodywork, but what will need to be done here if you want to achieve your goal?

Bare Metal

If this job is to be done properly, it will need to be what is known as a bare-metal restoration. This means that all the paintwork will have to be stripped off so that any necessary repairs can be completed as part of the first stage.


There are many ways to do this and professionals you work with may decide to sandblast the entire shell or to dip it into an acid bath. This will certainly accelerate the process, although it may come with some added costs. The other option is to strip the paint using an electric grinder or wire brush while sanding some of the hard to reach places.


Once all the paint has been removed, you will be able to see the real condition of the bodywork and will invariably come across some dents or rust. Some of this damage may need to be cut out so that fresh steel can be welded into place. If you can get ahold of replacement panels for this aged car, then this is another option. In the worst-case scenario where panels are not available and cutting may not be the best approach, you may be able to strip the corroded metal and treat it instead. Just bear in mind that this part of the car may not be as strong as it could be using this strategy.

Sealing and Painting

Once this phase is complete you will need to fill in the gaps before sanding and sealing. You will then be able to apply a full underseal to the floor of the car and the arches; although, if you do want to display your car at a classic show in the future, then you should choose a paint finish for the arches instead.

Best Approach

As you can see, there are many stages involved in restoring the body of a badly neglected classic car. However, if you outsource to a professional you will get the job done more efficiently, so you can focus your attention on the trim work.

For more information on car body restoration, contact an auto body and paint resource in your area.