Carole Nash
Content Writer
Published: 5th June 2014

The first step of any restoration project is taking the car apart. This takes a significant amount of time and effort, but following a certain procedure will ensure that it’s done as efficiently as possible. With this in mind, below is a brief guide to disassembling your classic car.

1. Once your car is parked in a safe, dry space with plenty of room, take lots of pictures before starting any work. Photograph the interior and exterior of the car from all angles and distances. You should take pictures at each stage of the disassembly, as well. The more photos you take, the easier it will be to reassemble the car.

2. Next, use plastic zip bags to store each and every part. Write on the bags with permanent marker to describe each part – note down what it is and where it was located on the car. You should also record this in a notebook, which will help you keep organised and will allow you to spot any parts that need replacing.

3. Now it’s time to start the actual disassembly. Carefully remove the car’s trim, including the bumpers, mirrors and other decorative features. You may need to use specialised tools to remove some parts, which are relatively inexpensive to buy.

4. Dependant on the car, you should then remove the wings, as well as the boot and bonnet (making sure you record where all the washers and spacers go). Only remove the doors if they need replacing. It’s a good idea to ask someone to help you with this step.

5. Next, you need to take off the front windscreen and rear window. To do this, remove the molding from the edges before using a knife to cut around the seal lip. Then, gently push the glass from the outside while another person supports and catches the glass from the interior as it is released. Ensure that you and your friend are wearing gloves and goggles to do this, and be extra careful not to scratch the glass with your tools.

6. If you are restoring you car’s interior, now is a good time to remove it. Detach panels, doors, carpets, seats and other accessories, as well as the dash gauges and panel cover if it needs repainting. After you’ve done this, disconnect the battery and wrap masking tape around any wires. Store all parts in plastic bags and label accordingly.

7. Following this, you should clear the firewall by removing all accessories from the engine. If you can, try not to remove any of the wiring. This step will depend on whether you are sending the engine away for a rebuild: if you are, then you can restore many other accessories whilst you’re waiting. If the engine isn’t in need of a rebuild, make sure that it’s sufficiently stored using plastic so that moisture cannot get to it.

With everything taken out and stored, now it’s time for the actual restoration work to begin. Your first step should be referring back to your notebook to see what parts you need for reassembly.