Classic Car Repair Resources

There are a number of different sources for classic car repair information.  However, if you are trying to restore a rare or obscure model, sometimes the information that you need can be hard to find. Here is a directory of places you can get either printed service manuals, CDs or DVDs, or online subscriptions to automotive service and repair information.

 


 

I have also included sources that specialize in muscle car books, classic car books, and other enthusiast publications:

 
Gearhead Cafe offers complete, cover-to-cover factory OE shop manuals on CD-ROM for domestic vehicles from 1909 up to 1981.  You can get single year CDs or multiple year CDs in Adobe PDF format.  The CDs are compatible with both PC and Mac computers, and you can zoom in on diagrams and print out pages to take into the garage with you.  For vehicles that had several different service manuals to cover all of the vehicle systems, just one CD covers it all!

Gearhead Café also has Parts Locator manuals available, in print or on CD, and Part Number books on CD only.  These can be a real life saver if you are doing a classic car restoration. As a bonus, some of the CDs include copies of advertisements and sales literature from when the vehicles were new!  They also offer Chilton repair information on CD.  Gearhead Café is an excellent resource for classic car repair information.

 
Faxon Auto Literature has been in business since 1974, and they offer factory original shop manuals for all makes and models (imports too!) from 1902 to the present day.  They have both new and used antique car repair manuals in print or on CD-ROM, as well as owner’s manuals, parts books, and original sales literature.  Faxon also purchases auto literature, and has literature and manuals for cars, trucks, military vehicles, buses, airplanes, tractors, boats, motorhomes and even heavy equipment!

They do not have their entire inventory listed on their website, so give them a call if you don’t see what you need.  If what you are looking for is not one of the over a million items in their 14,000 square foot warehouse, they will find it for you!  Faxon also carries a selection of muscle car books and other classic car books.

 
Mopar Manuals (MuscleCARS, LLC) offers officially licensed Mopar OE service manuals and supplements, TSBs, and parts books on CD.  The CDs are created from the original shop manuals, digitally scanned page by page.  Their collection dates back to 1914, and they have manuals for a number of obscure makes such as Desoto, Eagle, Fargo trucks, Hudson, Jeep, Kaiser-Frazer, Maxwell, Metropolitan, Nash, Overland, Rambler, Willys, Chalmers, and Graham.  You can find them at a number of different Mopar car shows, call them at 203-237-4795, or visit their website at moparmanuals.com.

 
Amazon.com has used OE service manuals available, as well as just about any other Chilton, Haynes, or Mitchell repair manual ever published, as well as muscle car books and other classic car books.  If you are looking for a particular classic car repair manual that is not currently available on Amazon, you can pre-order it and they will automatically ship it to you when it becomes available.  For some items, you can sign up for a Product Availability Alert, and they will send you an email when it is available.

 

 
Ebay of course also has OE factory service manuals, in addition to just about anything else your heart desires!  I have purchased a number of used OE service manuals on Ebay, several of which appeared as if they had never been looked at.  You can sign up for an email alert if the classic car repair manual you are looking for is not currently available.

 
ALLDATAdiy offers online service information by subscription for vehicles from 1982 and up.  You get the same service and repair information that is used by many independent auto repair shops, specific to your particular year, make and model vehicle.  The last auto repair shop that I worked at used ALLDATA, and I have subscribed to ALLDATAdiy in the past for several of our family vehicles.  Much of the information is identical to what is in a factory OE service manual. Although you might not think of a car built in the 1980s as a classic, they are actually getting old enough now to qualify. And there were a few interesting cars made in the eighties that could be ripe for a restoration!

 
Mitchell eAutoRepair also offers online service information very similar to AllDataDIY.  I don’t as yet have any personal experience with the consumer version, but I used the professional version in the past and was very impressed with it.  Mitchell doesn’t cover some of the simpler repair and maintenance procedures, such as light bulb and air filter changes, but they do offer short-term subscriptions that cost less than the yearly subscription you get with AllDataDIY.  They also offer a Vintage DVD that contains vehicle-specific repair information from the mid-1960s up to 1982.  The DVD covers both domestic and import cars and light trucks.

 
CraigsList is another great place to find used service manuals.  You may not be able to find what you are looking for locally, but nowadays there are a number of different websites (and even mobile apps) that allow you to enter keywords, and they will search all the craigslists in your region or across the country for you!  You can then call or email the seller and ask if they will ship the item to you.

 


 

Krause Publications doesn’t offer antique car repair information per se, but has a variety of other items that would be of interest to the classic car enthusiast.  They have part number and casting number guides, a wide range of muscle car books and other classic car books, and they publish the “Standard Catalog” series of books that contain detailed specs and summaries of virtually every vehicle ever sold in the US, year by year.  The books are split up by year range, domestic or import, cars, trucks, and 4WD.  They also have a number of more in-depth Standard Catalogs that are dedicated to certain makes (Buick, Pontiac, Ford, etc) and models (Firebird, Corvette, etc.).

I am a big fan of their “Standard Catalog Of American Cars” series of books, and own ten of them personally!  They are an excellent reference for an automotive enthusiast.  Krause also sells automotive art, and some of their prices on classic car restoration books are lower than the same item on Amazon.

 
The Motor Bookstore also doesn’t offer OE classic car repair information, but they have a wealth of muscle car books and other classic car books available, as well as Haynes repair manuals.  If you are looking for a “How To…” book, such as How To Build Big-Inch Chevy Small Blocks or a Pontiac GTO Restoration Guide, this is the place to go.  They have a number of books written specifically for someone going through a classic car restoration. Motorbooks sells automotive art as well.

*** What is the best source for auto service and repair information – a factory service manual, ALLDATAdiy, a Haynes or Chiltons book, or ??? Check out my page on Auto Repair Information to find out the pros and cons of each.

These are the most popular places at the moment to find classic car repair information, muscle car books, classic car books, or any other automotive enthusiast literature.  Having the right information available can save you a bunch of time and frustration when doing a classic car restoration. I will be adding other classic car repair resources as I find them, so check back soon!