Obviously, this text stands only for frame-based vechicles. Other vechicle-types should be treated in particular basis.
The oldest technique for constructing a car is the body-on-frame one, where the body as well as the mechanical parts are mounted on a separate rigid frame. This frame serves as a basis for driveterrain as well, being the only available practise for the automobile companies till the late 40ies. Although the modern car development favors other chassis designs (like unibody, monocoque, etc.), the body-on-frame is still used in building trucks and other heavy vechicles.
For a typical enthousiast, the frame-off restoration sounds to be very difficult and expensive, as far as the vechicle goes off the road, usually for a long time period, becoming unmovable till the end of the restoration process. Furthermore, such a type of restoration presumes a really re-build process by replacing/fixing everything found problematic or damaged, even the last small screw. On the other hand, the frame-off restoration usually aims at the highest possible result even for very rusty or partially damaged cars.
When you decide a frame-off restoration, you have to dissasemby everything. Really everything. This means a huge amount of effort plus very special needs, in terms of space and time. Dissasempling an old car needs very special organization abilities, becausse you have to keep in mind that assebbling follows. Therefore, you must label everything, in order to make your life easier and simpler in the future. Do not hasitate to stick labels on the parts, screws, nuts, ... whatever you disassembly. Put all the small parts in labeled small boxes and keep the safely.
It is important to understand that frame-off restoration means a completely stacked car. Thus, you have to arrange of a lot of transportations. You must keep in mind that you might have to transport long and/or heavy parts of the car (even the unmovable car itself, as a whole) for some urban or suburban distances. A pick-up are (even better) a friend with a pick-up or a small track is absolutely helpful, otherwise the costs will be unexpectable high. Take also care of legal issues for such transportations, since any moving part must be accompanied by the appropriate papers (at least here, in Greece). Tax law is very restrictive ...
For a typical frame-off restoration of a M38A1 Willys, pls. see at the gallery (up-left corner of the page...)
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