restoring an old car for a new driver, by EG
This article was written for yooou! by 16-year-old, EG.
I was 14 when my older brother got his license and his first car. That’s when I really began to think about what I wanted my first car to be.
I knew that the cars on the used car lots that my brother was looking at weren’t for me – I wanted something different.
My dad came up with the idea of restoring an old car in the two or so years I had until I could get my license. He asked me if I liked the idea of turning a classic car into my dream car, and I was thrilled.
I knew that this would be a big task, because even though I had always been interested in the way things worked, I did not know anything about cars.
My parents’ proposal was for them to buy the car, but I would have to pay for all the restorations and upgrades that I wanted. They also made it clear that I would be doing the majority of the work.
Additionally, they wanted me to document this process so that I could remember it well, and so that I could use this experience as part of my education. My dad is a video producer, so he set up a camera in the garage to record everything we did.
We started the process by looking at the different kinds of classic cars that would be good to fix up for a first-time restorer. Happily, we settled on the Ford Falcon and we were ready to start the long process of looking for a car that was affordable enough for us to buy, but not so beat up that it was too much for us to repair.
A few weeks into the process of our search, my dad called me into his office and showed me a car. The car that he was showing me was just what we were looking for, but it had already been sold. I looked at my dad curiously, wondering why he was showing an unavailable car; then he told me that he was the one who bought it. I was so excited! A week later, we flew out to Skokie, Illinois, where the car was, and drove it all the way home.
My car is a 1965 Ford Falcon Futura 4-door with tan seats and ashtrays in the armrests. The battery tray was completely rusted out, and there’s no letter ‘D’ on the word FORD across the hood. All of these issues, big and small, are going to be a joy to restore.
So far, I have completely overhauled the engine and transmission. I have added three-point seatbelts in the front and back seats and a Bluetooth radio that connects to my phone.
I have learned how to weld, how to use unique tools – like a brake line bender, and how to successfully speak in front of the camera. When I’m done with my restoration, I hope to have a safe, reliable, beautiful daily driver.
I know that not every girl wants to or has the opportunity to completely rebuild a car, but there are a few things that I think every driver should know before they hit the road:
- How to use basic tools (and why they should have a tool kit in their car). Whether you need to change a tire or remove the battery, a tool kit is invaluable when it comes to automotive maintenance. Know the basics, like righty-tighty/lefty-loosey, and be familiar enough with your car that you can recognize which tool you might need in a given situation.
- How to change and care for tires. Checking the air pressure is the best way to keep your tires in good condition and working well on the road. Beyond that, every driver should be able to change a flat tire and put on a spare by themselves.
- How to check and maintain fluid levels. Did you know that transmission fluid is reddish in color and oil is a dark brown? Coolant is clear, like water, and washer fluid is bright blue. Knowing the different colors of the fluids in your car is important because it helps you understand and diagnose a problem if you see something leaking from your car. It’s also important to know how to check the levels of your fluids. Refilling washer fluid is the easiest thing you can do under the hood, and it is not hard to learn how to change your own oil.
I have been documenting my entire restoration process, and I release weekly episodes on YouTube so that I can share my experience as I learn how to restore this car.
I would love for you to follow my adventures on Instagram and Facebook, too! Feel free to reach out to tell me about the cars that you love or ask any automotive questions you might have. I may not have all the answers, but I’m learning how to find out!