Here is the most time honored method:

Once you’ve decided on a particular car to customize you must begin by disassembling it (provided you are going for an all-out custom and not a simple dye or decal job). The first step in disassembly involves drilling out the rivits that hold the body to the chassis. There are numerous methods employed by customizers to accomplish this–one group favors the traditional, variable speed, 3/8″ electric (or cordless) drill. The second group prefers using a high-speed rotary tool with a drill bit attached. Either method (or tool) can be used successfully–It comes down to personal preference.  Yet another favors the Drill press for its stability and ease of use.

Traditional drilling – use a 5/64th bit to make a small, deep hole into the center of the post. This will aid later reassembly. Then switch to a larger 5/32nd bit and drill just deep enough to remove the rivet head. If you are able to stay on center, the cars should practically fall apart in your hands once the rivet heads are drilled out. But you should always wear a thick glove on the hand holding the car being drilled! Especially with a traditional drill. If the drill bit catches on the metal the car will spin violently in your hand! The reason for the initial smaller bit is that it provides a guide hole for the larger bit to follow and prevents the bit from slipping in most cases.  

Be extra careful when drilling cars with plastic bases… it’s easy for the drill bit to slip off center and dig quickly through the soft plastic. The results are often very ugly, and reassembly using that base may be difficult. The same goes with windows that are riveted in. 

The other methods use the exact same process – drilling with a smaller bit to provide a guide hole and then using a larger bit to remove the rivet head.  For those who want to be extra cautious or those who would like a bit more precision and stability when drilling, a drill press is the best route.  Positioning of the piece can be even easier with a vise clamp on the drilling platform.   

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