Automotive restoration is a fulfilling hobby. The only think that can make it better is meeting and sharing with other hobbyists. Almost everyone at Steele Rubber Products is a hobbyist or related to one. We share ideas, pictures, tips and of course, our resources.
Here are some of the main web resources for automotive restorers that we’ve been using lately.
1. The Old Car Manual Project http://www.tocmp.com/
We find ourselves viewing this site often. There is a large collection of original manuals in easy to read PDF pages. When we get stuck figuring out how to remove or replace a part, this site lays it all out. The manuals and brochures are contributed by individual auto owners. The vintage graphics and images are great too. Contribute a PDF or view a page from an original auto manual some time.
2. Crankshaft Coalition VIN Decoding Tool http://www.crankshaftcoalition.com/wiki/Pre-1980_VIN_decoding
Crankshaft Coalition is a Wikipedia of restoration information. Members contribute and edit pieces written by readers themselves. The site is well-maintained but anyone can contribute anything. The part we find most useful is the VIN decoder. Before 1981 VIN numbers and formats were assigned by automanufacturers. Special tools were needed to decode each one. If you need to decode a VIN from a pre-1981 vehicle, this page lists tools by manufacturers.
We have used this site many times when a customer isn’t sure of the cars model year or where a part really fits. We start with the VIN decoder and then find the car manual from there. Handy page to bookmark, if you haven’t already.
3. KnowYourCar http://know-yourcar.com/
Doesn’t matter if you are a newbie, expert or just trying to find out how cars work, know-yourcar.com has detailed explanations and incredible diagrams. Think of this site as the encyclopedia of auto information. The information is divided in categories but you can also search via keywords or use tags to find pages. There are also links to other resources like “Ask A Mechanic Online” where you can get answers to car problems from real mechanics.
4. CoachBuilt http://coachbuilt.com/
CoachBuilt describes itself as a fact checking website for a print version of The Encyclopedia of American Coachbuilders. The site holds information about the history of many coach cars and builders. The best part is the amount of information available to support each builder. Most of the links are to relevant text books listed for sale on the internet. This is a good place to start your research if you are interested in the history of a Coach Builder or Coaches.
Sites Specific To Car Makes