A selection of the best classic car restoration courses

classic car learning with pupils

The best classic car restoration courses available in the UK

Car restoration is a work or art in the need of artisans. Even though technology is definitely affecting in different ways every sector you can think of, vintage cars restorations still require a lot of human and moreover, skilled hands.

We can see loads of interest from different users to find courses to restore cars and there are a few colleges and universities offering courses. They basically focus on bodyshop, panel beating and painting classic cars. If you are looking for a good course for you and get a career, here come some of the best the classic car restoration courses the UK can offer; if on the other hand you are responsible of one course and you think should be mentioned here, we encourage you to contact us.

For what we can see you can choose from short ones (roughly a week or so) like the one from Contour Academy. They split it in 2 courses, the first one is an introduction to the principles of complex double-curvature sheet metalwork and will give you the confidence to tackle repair work and form and butt-weld double-curvature panels. The second one covers the principles and practise of designing, making and use of patterns, jigs and tooling for the manufacture and restoration of complex sheet metal panels.

Or you can go attend longer ones like the 12 week program from Bolton College, where according to their website, the course has a recreational emphasis and is mainly hands-on, working on vehicles in the College’s extensive motor vehicle and classic car restoration workshops.

cars to be restored

At the Barnet Southgate College, there is an advanced apprenticeship in classic car restoration, the course has been designed for people who have completed a Level 2 diploma in classic car restoration and wish to become an advanced apprentice.

College of North West London also offer a Certificate Level 1 classic car restoration course designed for enthusiasts who wish to learn the skills to restore vehicles. You should learn how to fabricate a panel from a drawing, cut, shape and weld using different processes in our fully equipped workshops. This course will lead onto the restorations of projects such as the College's two Volkswagen Beetles available for viewing here.

Milton Keynes College’s School of Motor Vehicle is launching a new, part-time course in Classic Car Restoration. Taking place initially at the College’s Chaffron Way campus and followed by bespoke training within the custom-built vehicle body repair workshop, the 10-week course is designed for both industry professionals and enthusiastic home mechanics with a passion for vehicle body restoration and a project in mind. Over the course of the study programme, students will receive unique insight from expert tutors, who themselves have gathered years of industry experience and expertise. Key areas covered by the course include: Metal finishing, MIG welding, spot welding, basic principles of lead loading and fabrication of a sill section and floor panel. After completion of the course, attendees will have the skills and knowledge needed to work on their own restoration projects with confidence and can use our workshops on their own projects.  

City of Bristol College also offers a Level 1 Certificate where you will work on vehicle components with some theory and relevant health and safety procedures. You will cover aspects of body repair, refinishing and welding. Body Repair tasks include the following: Use of body tools and equipment, bare metal repair, plastic filler repair, metal cutting, metal grinding and mig welding.  Paint refinishing tasks include the following: Use of paint refinishing tools and equipment, panel preparation, application of foundation coats, preparation of foundation coats, application of top coats and rectification of top coats. This course is meant to be for enthusiasts interested in restoring or repairing classic and modern vehicles.

North Hertfordshire College also offers motor vehicle courses covering areas like Vehicle technology (you’ll be introduced to the retail automotive maintenance and repair sector by looking at the principles of vehicle construction, engine components and operation, steering and suspension systems as well as component fitting, tyre and braking system checks.  You’ll also cover workshop tools and equipment, and health and safety), car restoration (you’ll develop skills and knowledge in metal finishing small to medium dents, safe use of oxy-acetylene welding bottles, spot welding, gas welding and brazing, use of body filler, glazing and lead loading) and vehicle repair (you’ll learn about removing, replacing and repairing body panels, identifying and rectifying body misalignment, MIG & MAG welding techniques, working with plastic materials and components, preparing metal and pre-painted surfaces as well as colour matching and applying coats to paint defects. You’ll get the opportunity to undertake a vehicle restoration project to develop classic car restoration skills and also visit classic car shows).

Up North, you have the Edinburgh College offering a course where the majority of your program will be spent in our specialist workshops carrying out practical tasks. This is backed up with theory classes to improve your underpinning knowledge of each subject. You will also study for 5 core skills modules over the year to ensure that you are ready for work in the automotive industry. The Leeds City College has been successfully running Vehicle Restoration courses for over 20 years. They now offer a one year full-time course to meet the needs of classic car enthusiasts who wish to improve or gain skills relevant to restoration of classic cars.

We have also found out about an online learning platform that offer different video based solutions to different problems in classic car restoration. The list of them goes as follows: How to get rid of rust: How to Get Rid of Rust will show you how to protect your car from the dreaded tin-worm. A little time invested now will pay dividends in years to come. Our expert, Ian Allen, shares some top tips for corrosion-free engineering throughout your restoration. MGB service guide: The MGB has long been Britain’s favourite sports car – for good reason –and we’d like to keep that tradition alive, so here we teach you some of the basic maintenance tips you’ll need to complete an MGB restoration and service job. 
Basic engine maintenance of classic cars: In each class, introduced by Practical Classics editor Danny Hopkins, restoration expert Ed Hughes shows you the simple techniques required to keep your classic’s engine in top condition. We use a typical 4-cylinder overhead valve engine here, but the techniques described are applicable across most classic engine types. How to remove, revive and decode your engine cylinder head: This course teaches you how to remove and dismantle the cylinder head correctly and assess the condition of the components inside. You will learn how to revive the cylinder head, how to clean and lap in valves and how to decoke an engine to improve performance. How to clean and detail your car: This course will teach you the art of how to clean and detail your car. Bert and Rich from Professional Valeters demonstrate safe wash techniques; including pre-washing with snow foam, the two-bucket method and wheel washing. You’ll learn the right techniques for decontaminating wheels and paintwork to remove deeply embedded grime using tar solvent, fallout remover and a clay bar. Machine Polishing is covered in depth with a run-down of the right equipment, products and techniques to use. Finally you’ll learn how to add the finishing touches to your car with a guide to wax and polish, finishing with metal polish & sealant, tyre dressing and glass sealant. Classic car electrics: In this course we enter the Practical Classics workshop to delve into the basics of classic car electrics. Whether your car is experiencing faulty wiring or you’re looking to install auxiliary lighting, we’ve got the tips and expert advice you’ll need to do many of the jobs yourself. The basics of mig welding: Learning to MIG weld will not only save you shedloads of money, it’ll give you the peace of mind that comes with knowing a job has been done well. This course will teach you the simple techniques you’ll need so you can complete a basic repair on your classic car in your own garage. It simply takes practice, patience and help from our expert guide, Ben Field. Intermediate welding: In this course, you will be able to build upon skills learned in the “The Basics of MIG Welding” and “Simple Body Repairs” courses, or come to it fresh if you just want to improve your welding skills. Simply body repairs: Restoration guru Michael Coman takes you on a step-by-step journey through the skills required to complete basic car body repairs. Sign up to this comprehensive yet easy-to-follow course and you’ll learn the basics of filling, panel beating, patch repairs, wheelarch repairs and finishing welded repairs.
 How to recolour faded classic leather trim: This course will teach you how to recolour and detail leather seats, so you can get a new look interior for a fraction of the price of a retrim. In this course, Matt Tomkins from Practical Classics magazine and Brad from the Leather repair Company will show you the correct techniques for stripping the colour from your leather seats and trim. You will also learn the correct way to recolour and protect the newly recoloured seats and leather. This is also applicable to vinyl seats and interiors. How to clean and  revive classic leather trim: In this course, Matt Tomkins and Brad from the Leather Repair Company will teach you the basics of leather cleaning and revival: how to keep the patina, make it look superb and protect it for the long-term. They will show you how to clean leather seats and trim correctly without damaging it or causing the leather to fade. You will also learn the correct techniques and products used to feed, revive and protect your car's leather interior. How to make and upholster new door cards or how to refurbish your original classic car door cards: Often the door card in a classic car will warp due to water, which naturally gets past the wind-down window seals in large quantities, finding its way onto the door card. In this course Ed Hughes shows you how to replace the board and reuse the old upholstery. He demonstrates how to remove the old door card, assess the card, clean it and make local repairs. Ed will also teach you how to attach and detach classic trim and explains the options available when reviving your interior. The basics of sewing for classic cars trimming: Understanding how to operate a sewing machine for simple automotive projects can save you a great deal of money - you can enhance the appearance of trim and even make new seat covers. In this course, Ed Hughes shows you how to choose a cheap and robust sewing machine; how to set it up and how to get the best out of it so you can use it to give home-made trim a more professional appearance.

If we can be of more help, let us know here.

Pictures from the telegraph.co.uk and academyart.edu


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classic car and restoration show

Silverstone Classics 2018