In Praise of "Overhauling"

I have been watching this show recenly, and I find it interesting. I am amazed at te extent of the car culture in So. California-it looks like you can find experts in all areas of car restoration there.
Anyway, I was impressed by how readily American cars from the 1950’s-60’s, can be restored-parts seem asy to find. I wonder if cars from the 1980’s on are similarly restorable? I think that the more modern cars will not be easy (to restore), because of the increased use of plastics and materials which deteriorate.
Are restored cars exempt fromthe strict California emissions laws? Do you have to fit a catalytic converter to a restored vehicle?

Parts for cars from the 60’s and 70’s are readily available because there is a market for them. You can build a '69 Camaro out of all new parts, although it would be expensive without at least starting with a body/frame donor, but you could do it. Body shell, doors, fenders, frame, everything.

The problem with 80’s cars is the demand for parts just isn’t really there. It was the decade from hell for performance cars. Even the 1984 Corvette only had 205 horsepower. The Mustang GT v-8 5.0 litre had only 195 Hp. Other ‘performance’ cars were similarly underpowered. Your average 4 cylinder off the lot today can whip their asses.

Many people are restoring these 80’s cars, but they aren’t quite as desirable and so the after-market parts aren’t as available. That is my opinion in general terms, hopefully someone with a favorite 80’s car will chime in and say I’m full of it.

As for the second part of your question, I don’t know about California pollution laws, but they are some of the strickest in the nation and other states follow them too. Beyond a certain number of years, and for specialty or historic or classic vehicles, there are usually exemptions to allow you to licence a modified car.

And many places in the US don’t even have EPA testing to licence cars. Where I live in Oregon there is no vehicle testing, only in the metropolitan areas.

If you have a particular interest in a car I could get more detailed information.

You need a DOT frame with VIN to restore. Everything else can be bought. I have a '67 Mustang here in California, and I can easily get any part I need for it, plus some modified for modern driving.

Examples: modern Air conditioning, power brakes, power steering (not just power assist), coil over suspension for the rear (you can get rid of the leaf springs), etc.

Someday I hope to drop an electric engine into the car, once I can afford one with the right amount of torque to still feel like I am driving a Mustang. I haven’t checked into this recently to see if it is possible yet.

In California my car is considered a classic, so I am smog exempt. Yep - the dirtiest car I drive does not require a smog check. It also was not eligible for the cash for clunkers deal.

One thing that helps the classic Fords is that Ford used the same parts in many cars (Mustang, Fairlane, Couger, etc.). Add in that there’s over 1 million classic 'Stangs (64.5 - 73) still on the road, and you have a large enough market to justify LOTS of parts shops, including places making new parts for your old car.

Is there enough style in the 80s to want to restore? I can think of a few cars that had a little going for them (the 80s Malibu was fun, for example). However, we were beginning the era of aero dynamic look alikes so I don’t know what you would be trying to achieve.

I started watching this show, even though I’m not a “car guy” in any way - I don’t even drive. My brother, who is a car guy, was a big fan of Boyd Coddington, and liked the show American Hot Rod. I couldn’t abide Boyd who I thought was a jackass and a candidate for the title “Worst Boss in the Universe”. I did a little searching and found that Chip Foose had actually designed some of the most famous “Hotrods by Boyd”, and that led me to Overhaulin’. I’m in awe of Chip’s design talent (after never having seen Boyd even pick up a pencil) and love the positive aspects of the show. I usually skip over the “pranks”, and only go watch the work and the reveal.

Trivia: Chip Foose was responsible for Ramone’s designs in Cars.