Hi there I'm really interested in classic cars and I think it would be awesome to own a restoration shop or work at a shop. I've recently been looking for a car on kijiji and came by an old mustang and it got me thinking about this a lot more. But before I get into this, what kind of education should I get? I'm "18" years old and just looking into a career, any information would be great, thanks for the help!
You don't need a formal education to get started fixing cars, especially old ones. Going into restoration work at your age is career suicide. Concentrate on studying how cars work. Knowing the fundamentals puts you way ahead and certificates of accomplishment are generally laughed at. If it's the car of your dreams you're after, buy something local and pay no mind to internet advertisements. That car will start your education. If you get hired at an auto shop, ignore the tool trucks. They prey upon young guys with dreams. Only buy what you can pay cash for.
So do you mean I shouldn't start a career in this area? why is that?
I can't say whats best for you nor can I advise you on business ownership but if you want advice from someone who does that kind of work as an employee now- Opportunities are scarce. Compensation is not comparable to other areas of auto repair. It is "awesome" like you said but not very rewarding financially. You can't spend glory. Restoration and customizing and hot rodding professionally as a career is a risky bet for your future. I think its safe to say most car crafters get their food money from a job in the automotive field but not doing the fun stuff. Machinist, transmission rebuilder, service tech, collision repair are much more marketable skills to start with and to fall back on in the years ahead. Plus the skills required all apply to hot rods.In my case, I had the advantage of growing up when muscle cars were about ten years old. Without that, its more difficult to jump into custom stuff than it is to enter a specialist job that theres good training available for. I don't want to discourage you at all, and the customizing world is growing strong in my opinion. But whether it continues to be something you can put food on the table with or not is a riskier bet for the future than taking up transmission rebuilding for example. Doesn't mean you can't make a living doing cool work, I would just caution you that it may not be the best choice if you perhaps have a family to consider. On the other hand, if you never try it you won't know. So try, but also keep your eyes open for a specialty repair job that appeals to you. Fixing wrecks was mine.
i completely agree with IDJ..opertunities are limited..it takes decades of collecting various tools.. or a really thick wallet..then you need experience... there are so many parts of a car that need knowledge..if you look at some of the cable TV shows.. i have seen one.. forgot the name.. they used inexpensive help.. what ever parts they could get.. what ever hardware they could get.. and created what i think were actually dangerous cars...it takes years of experience to know just what to perform.. rather than just slapping some thick bondo on.. i used to work in a caddy restoration shop.. our body guy was off site.. did beautiful work.. we had one expensive 59 convert that needed a rear quarter panel. we cut up a decent convertible to donate a massive quarter panel to the expensive model..when we got the car back it was as smooth as ___________________________when we went to drill for the stainless trim clips.. the bondo was over an inch thick in some areas.. when we looked carefully.. they did not replace the panel. they pounded it out and coated it in probably 5 gallons of bondo. the last step was when we ask where the quarter panel we supplied was.. they scrapped it.. we cut up a car that was worth about 20 grand to fix a car that would be worth over 100 grand and they thru out the quarter panel they decided not to use.. even though they charged us to change it.. so the boss went out and purchased an afterburning oversized spray booth.. its the only way we could get a permit for a new spray booth.. the boss hired a body guy with great rep.. oh man.. the cars were coming out smooth.. the boss ask him to hurry up with one.. and he quit.. got a replacement body guy.. smooth cars started to flow.. but this was brought to a major halt.. the bondo at the door edges again was THICK.. were you could see it.. this is after 3 weeks of body work on one car.. and a dozen coats of acrylic lacquer that was color sanded and another coat put on.. until it was perfect.. then it would sit for a month to cure. then an aircraft clear coat.. the paint looked perfect till i spotted the door edges.. he smoothed those areas with probably a broken hack saw blade..