Car restoration tip: Start only when you have the parts

Sometimes it takes five years before you even start with the project
by Paulo Rafael Subido | Jul 21, 2010

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Okay, this might be considered overkill on my part. I was so worried that I wouldn't find the missing emblems of the wagon, so whenever any turned up on the Internet or in Banawe, I bought them immediately--even if they weren't meant for the wagon. The Holy Grail are the 'Deluxe' fender emblems that originally came with the car. I now have three sets. Yikes!

The 'SL' are meant for JDM Galant wagons (based on historic Mitsubishi brochure photos from a link that TopGear.com.ph staff writer Patrick Tadeo sent me) and the 'Custom' are for wood-panel Galant wagons. A note when buying emblems: Older ones have studs and locks at the rear. These fit into holes in the bodywork. If the emblems you are checking out are missing these locks, you should get them at a cheaper price. Also, do not fill the holes with putty. If they are gone, make sure you have good reference for where to place the emblems. When they are positioned wrong it is very easy to tell. Here are more photos of my stash of Galant treasures.

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The first bits that I saved for are this set of brand-new, old-stock (NOS) taillights. When my dad was around we couldn't find any at all. I am so lucky that I found these in Banawe in 2008. Actually, I was eyeing them for a long time, even before I decided to do the restoration.  When I bought these the die was cast. I was committed to seeing the project through--lest these jewels go to waste. Behind them are the front apron lights.

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I wish that there was a partner for this. I guess I will have to do with what is available. This NOS fender is another find. It has holes for the fender emblems and for a fender mirror. I decided to go with fender mirrors not to do the JDM thing, but for practicality. When my doors were repaired a few posts back, major repair was done to the section where an old Vitaloni mirror was attached. I didn't want to drill holes in a newly-repaired door, so I decided to use the existing holes in the fender for the mirrors instead And, well, fender mirrors look good.

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These bits are crucial for the wagon's face. They set the alignment of the grille and bumpers. The originals were beyond repair, but these are again, brand-new. A few posts back there were issues with how they fit. I am glad that the metal worker was able to remedy the problem. On the NOS fender, the garnish fits perfectly--just like two pieces of a puzzle.

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I am still using the original grille that came with the car. I am not painting it because I want some age to still show. My idea is to get all the chrome and aluminum bits polished and shiny, while retaining some patina on the plastics. Notice the crest? I think it oozes with old-school attitude--one of the main reasons why I love this model Galant so much. Intact is the 'Colt' badge beside the headlights. Sweet.

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Guys, I didn't buy these parts all at once. The funny thing is, some of them 'found' me. I took it as a sign that the wagon really is meant to be restored. I did wait five years before getting started. There are other parts also that are not very glamorous but very crucial. Restoring a car isn't just about the shiny bits. We will talk more about this as we go along.

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