Before contemplating essential tools of the trade; from experience there are three basic items to have when it comes to restoring cars. First and foremost is a good quality vice secured to a solid workbench, Second; a litre of transmission fluid might be harder to find on someone’s workbench; but it works wonders when dealing with seized and rust-encrusted fasteners, and can transform your cheap box wrench into a magic instrument. Through years of trial and error I’ve found transmission fluid far more effective than brand name products marketed to “loosen things up”. And thirdly is that item you’ll likely never find in a restorer’s workplace; a four litre jug of lactic acid (vinegar being my choice of preference). Let a badly oxidized part sit submerged in a bath of vinegar for several hours then polish it up a bit and you’ll think you have a NOS part in your hand.
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