Consider general restoration books

May 1, 2008 | By Richard Prince


I’m sure you have or know where I can get restoration parts books and magazines for a 1988 Cavalier RS two-door. This Cavalier is my mother’s car and the Cavalier desperately needs restoring in some ways. Also, I am looking for a restoration book for a 1983 Toyota pickup. My Toyota pickup and I have been together for 13 years, and it needs a bed, a cab and fenders.

Also, restoration books for a 1977 Granada and a 1986 Chrysler New Yorker would be helpful.


I’m sorry to disappoint you, but I don’t have restoration books for the Cavalier or any of the other vehicles you mention. In fact, my research did not turn up any restoration books for any of these vehicles.

Restoration books normally get published because there is enough demand in the marketplace so that they will make money, or because someone is so driven by his passion for the subject vehicle that he goes ahead and funds the effort with no concern for whether he’ll actually sell enough books to make it worthwhile.

The availability of marque-specific restoration books, like so many other things in the collector car hobby, is tied to the value of the vehicles. If a given car is not worth a lot, it is because there is relatively little interest in it among collectors. The fact that it is not worth a lot also dissuades people from investing a lot in the restoration and that, in turn, dissuades manufacturers from investing the money necessary to reproduce parts.

All of this leads to the inevitable conclusion that it makes no sense to restore a 1983 Toyota pickup that needs a bed, cab and fenders unless you have a very strong emotional attachment to that particular vehicle.

Having said all that, if you are determined to restore the vehicles you have, there are lots of general restoration books that help you understand how to do many basic restoration tasks, such as bodywork and painting, electrical wiring, reupholstering seats, rebuilding engines and drive trains, etc. And, of course, you can buy factory service and shop manuals for all of your cars from vintage literature dealers such as Walter Miller (, Faxon Auto Literature ( ; 3901 Carter Avenue #2, Riverside, CA 92501), and Greg’s Automotive ( ; P.O. Box 1712, Santa Ynez, CA). And lastly, one of your best resources for learning more about your vehicles is, of course, the Internet.