Inside or Outside? When I buy a project car, I always start with the inside and work out. I like things clean before I dig in – so I’ll vacuum, wash, scrub, Windex… do whatever it takes so I can be absorbed on the inside, honk the horn and pretend it runs. Lest you forget, I buy most of my projects as non-runners or basket cases. Since I sometimes work out of my garage, ok a lot of times, I focus on interior bits first as they are things I can work on from home. I replace dashes, door cards, seats or restore gauges before ever looking at paint. Big stuff like body work and paint need to happen at the shop.
The start point is different for every project owner. It can depend on their skill set, budget, a shop’s expertise and timing. If I were restoring a car or truck through a shop, I’d take a huge amount of satisfaction in have the paint and body completed first. It really is the visual eye candy of a restoration and the most impactful feature you see. So as such, it’s easy to see why someone might ask a shop to complete this work before turning their eyes inward. The next step may be engine, wheels, seats or full interior.
Our current client spend time and money on a full exterior restoration with gorgeous paint and wood bed (see our Project Galleries) plus LS engine swap. But then the project came back home for various reasons. Now, it is our turn. We’ll complete the interior with painted dash, upholstered door cards and seats plus carpet. Could we have done the body and paint? Sure. But we are happy to be involved in any step of the process, the first half or second.