69 GTO

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Everything posted by 69 GTO

  1. The car is a 68 olds 442 and here is the condition as of Friday when I picked it up. This is 51K in work...
  2. Just to confirm, would any of you paint (and wet sand/polish) a fully assembled exterior before removing all the panels and painting the undersides and jams? I just pulled the vehicle from the shop who completed the body work and left the car assembled after block sanding/sealing and immediately put the fully assembled car in the booth and painted just the outside. Then the shop went into the wet sanding/polishing process on the exterior before they were planning to finish the painting of interior panels and jams. I'm not sure why it was done this way as it wasn't equating to an efficient process and it's likely the exterior would be scratched/chipped when disassembled/reassembled. The shop owner told me this was the best process for consisteny and efficiency but considering they went directly to wet sanding and polishing, I couldn't rationalize the benefits and reached out to a restoration expert who felt they were overcharging and questioned the process. This expert advised me to pull the car and continue with anther shop. I did this last Friday. Incidentally, the wet sanding/polishing took 40 hours on just the left fender, left door and roof. That's when I ended the project with this shop and contacted the expert who could not explain the rationale of the process. The estimated time to finish just the wet sanding and polishing of the exterior would be 125-145 hours (or 10-12K). Then it would need to be fully disassembled, underside and jams painted/wet sanded and reassembled. I pulled the car before this 51K project/475 hours (paid to date) turned into a $75-85K project (no mechanical/no parts/frame on restoration).
  3. I'm restoring a 69 GTO and would like to know the proper procedure for painting. The car was disassembled, blasted and the body work completed. Then the car was reassembled to finish the body work and block sand. My question is, at the point the car is assembled and the block sanding has just completed. Is the proper procedure to then disassemble and paint each panel separately or is the procedure to leave the car fully assembled and paint the full exterior and then disassemble it to paint the undersides of fenders, doors, hood, jams, etc.? Shop owners opinions are very welcome here as they know their craft on the proper procedure. Thanks!
  4. Hi Folks, quick update on this issue I brought up 2 years ago. The car is still in restoration - slow walked and now over $54K with no end in sight. They encountered no unforeseen issues, just hours and hours of billing. The time to pull the vehicle from the shop is long gone (IMO). The original expectation of $25K will now fall over $70K for a body only restoration of a very solid and clean 69. As a reminder, the shop is doing a frame on, body work only job. All parts and chroming were done by me so there are no parts involved. The current state is the car is assembled and panted (exterior only) and polished/wet sanded. Not sure why it was done in this order seeing they now need to disassemble the vehicle to paint the inside of the jams, doors, hood, fenders and trunk. Then the reassembly, so based on this and the vast history of billing, the total will now eclipse $70K for the body/paint. It's a shame because the shop knew I was on a $25K budget and looking for driver quality. last August I was given a verbal estimate for cost and timing but these will be more than double as we have already exceeded both late term estimates. It's a frustrating situation and one that is a huge learning exercise but I will say, these shops that clearly take in work for the revenue regardless of their clients expectations only hurt themselves as they ruin their reputation and the industry's reputation. I talked to several industry experts and unfortunately this is the pattern - say what you need to in-order to get the vehicle in and disassembled, then the customer and car are hostage. We already discussed the merits of pulling the vehicle, which I should have done at the start of this thread but it's too late at this point. Again, live and learn but for the $$ does it really help the overall industry when there are many collector owners out there telling folks the horror stories. This directly impacts the industry when folks who would restore are scared away - business lost. Fyi, when this car is done, I will have about $95K all in for a vehicle that's worth at best $45K.
  5. Thanks McHinson, this basically sums it up. The point at which the cost became known was at the point of the initial block sanding which is only 25% of the way complete. The post was to understand if the cost is reasonable and if not, should I pull the car and find a shop willing to do the remaining work at the level of my budget. That said, I'm already 5K over due to the post blasting work, so it will not solve the issue and the most important concern is whether there would be a shop willing to finish the project. That seems unlikely. I really did not want go 45K deep into the body but it seems I may have no choice.
  6. I asked the shop for any information on the approximate cost and stated I have a budget of 25K. They stated that they cannot estimate and would know more after the blasting. After blasting they stated it was a "top 10" in condition but that was also when the $3,500 went into block sanding the quarter panel and I realized I would be into 45K. I called to confirm expectations and they stated it would wind up 40-45K but again, no promises "could be more". That led to the initial post.
  7. I heard this from multiple shops and I do believe it applies to the current restoration industry, especially regarding the body.
  8. Restorer32, since this is my first restoration, I can't comment on the differences. I only know the budget and the process the shop performs. Full disassembly in and out was always part of the process and I knew that from the beginning. What I did not know was that the process of block sanding, repairing the 3 rust spots and priming would cost 20K. This is on a fully blasted, straight car with little rust and no dents. The 20K on straightening to perfection is where most of the difference resides. The block sanding process on one quarter alone (no rust/dents) cost $3,500 which caused me to question the level of quality (and cost of a full replacement of the quarter). I wasn't expecting 4.5 full days to block sand and straighten one quarter, which was as close to perfect (to my eyes) as I ever seen in a 47 year old car. They literally removed every imperfection, high, low, etc. that they could uncover. I have no issue with the quality, just wondering if it's overkill on a partially restored driver. This is why I set a budget at 25K, to keep the total cost under 50K when you factor the parts and cost of the vehicle. I didn't want a 65K+ driver.
  9. So far I have over 1200 pics of the work, so yes it's well documented. I can't post pics because in case the shop reviews this board, I don't want any bad blood. I'm in this to finish and came to the forum to avoid any conflict with the shop. That would be the most costly situation to be in.
  10. Thanks for the great summary Matt, It's spot on. The work continues, just wish I knew that it would run this high otherwise I would have planned better. Honestly, the 34 hours spent on the quarter panel alone caused the majority of my concern and then I contacted the shop who told me it would come to 40-50K in total. That was already obvious after the time spent on the quarter. I just wasn't expecting that after they told me the car was a top 10 post the blasting. Ugh. Either way, it's gonna get done and I'm on this forum because I could not have the conversation with the shop for fear it would sour the relationship. I do think the restorers can learn from this too, as no one wants to enter a relationship that could end in divorce.
  11. So what's the correct way forward? I have a reasonable budget but no way of knowing if your particular shop will do work which equates to that budget.... Is it just a roll of the dice and I got the one that resulted in 100% over-budget? How do home remodelers survive? They are in a similar situation and always provide estimates but often have unforeseen structural or land issues.
  12. Restorer32, there is no need to debate this. If the shop had provided a response to if "the cost was realistic for the quality of work you do" then I would have had the information I needed. None of the five shops would provide any insight and unfortunately, those are the only shops within driving distance. I don't need to answer your question on quality, it's obvious in the posts, industry definitions, and anywhere in life where there is craftsmanship. I'll have almost 20k into block sanding alone and since you know the industry, there's your answer.
  13. In any service, there is a budget and expectation on quality - sometimes high, sometimes low. If I were renovating a kitchen I could spend 20K or 100K and that decision is up to the customer. Of course there was discussions on these expectation but the shop only stated "we don't know what we don't know". The reason there are designations (Street Restoration, Full Concours, Local Concours) is so the customer can find the correct shop for the type of work they require (mostly driven by budget). Since not all work is done with the same level of detail, this should be an easy conversation to have but no shop would discuss it. The shop could have a great reputation for street restorations but that is not easily found in documentation, websites or references. The only way is to discuss budget upfront and have the experienced shop provide some insight, which if they are talented/skilled, they can do. Are you saying that you can't take a customer's budget and based on your experience, know if you can perform the work requested (given no unforeseen major issues)? If you can't or won't do this then the only option is the customer starts work on an unrealistic budget - which unfortunately favors the restorer because they will get paid for every hour regardless if they finish the project or the customer will come up with the difference, or the car will be lost on a mechanics lien. Either way, there is no downside to the restorer. One could argue that this is the reason for the lack of transparency but I won't engage in that discussion. As for the point that "any ballpark becomes fixed in the customer's mind as a binding price", this is factually false. Every service has T&Cs and although there are unreasonable customers in every industry, all industries (auto, home, landscape, etc.) provide estimates with caveats. I have not encountered a mechanic or contractor who ever paid for a major unforeseen issue that they did not create and they occur. I had my brakes done recently and when bleeding the system, two lines began leaking. I did not hold the shop to the line repairs, as it wasn't an outcome of their work, the lines were worn through.
  14. The shop put the car in the top 10 condition (out of over 250 restos), so I did not assume the condition, I was initially prepared for the worse. Your point is simply that a shop does the level of work (quality) they are comfortable with and the customer shouldn't expect them to do a half-fast job. I agree with this but the problem is there are various levels of quality and detail, this is known only by the shop. If they don't provide any details, ball-parks or rationalize the customer's budget, then the customer winds up in my situation (way over budget). Not all shops do the same level of work, if this is true, then how does a customer determine the correct level for their budget. This can't be corrected solely by the customer through due-diligence as the shop is the only partner privy to their process, quality etc. My point is that most shops can and should provide a reasonable ball-park with caveats (for the unforeseen). Every true craftsman has the skill and experience to do this and it's done in most industries. It need not be a binding estimate but it will provide the detail for a customer to make an informed decision. This situation can't be solved by the customer alone.
  15. Although there is always room to improve, I differ somewhat with your opinion based on two factors: first the job that was requested had no parts involved. I supplied every nut and bolt, bumper, weather stripping, grill, chrome and trim for the job. The only materials are paint, primer and sealer. Second is the level of quality which directly impacts the cost. The shop would not indicate they were doing concourse work and was reluctant to offer a ball-park or even state if the 25K budget was reasonable. None of the 5 shops I interviewed would provide this detail. Maybe 25K was unreasonable for a solid/decent paint job but that hasn't been conclusive from this forum. I still believe that some shops would have been able to do the body and reassemble for close to the 25K. This job will likely fall around 45-50K, with no mechanical work, no parts purchased, etc. Since I spent 12K alone on just the parts, I would assume the shop mark up would bring this total close to 75K. Mechanical work or frame off would have added another 15K easily. Again, it was meant to be a driver, as I stated this to the shop numerous times (and it's obvious from the lack of a full restoration). Any ideas on whether 25K is reasonable for a paint job?
  16. There will be no regret as there isn't anything that can be done to change the situation other then pull the car which puts me out the 38K already invested (10K for car, 12K in parts, 16K for the initial body work). It's a live and learn situation that I believe has room for improvement on both sides. I wish it were acceptable to have a discussion with shop owners (prior to contracting) on cost expectations without being considered nickel and diming, questioning their honesty, etc.. It not a matter of cheapness but only the amount I am willing to invest. This one will turn out to be 60-65K driver, which I would not have done initially. I have the $$ but I limit my investments to ensure I am comfortable with it. As a said earlier, I'm driving this car and with 45K on the paint/exterior, it's going to be tough to take the dings in stride. :-)
  17. All shops proposed high quality, so there was no benchmark. Restorer32, put yourself in the shoes of the customer. The only way to judge the quality is with a reasonable ballpark estimate (with caveats for the unforeseen). The $25K shop will not provide the same level of detail/quality as one estimating $50K. I'm sure with all your vast experience, you know the minimum cost of a job when you do the full evaluation (which the customer pays for).
  18. I apologize if my questions or comments offended the shop owners on this forum but I stand by the principal that if a customer is willing to pay reasonable money ($25K) to paint a clean and almost totally rust free vehicle, then there should be some reasonable estimation. If the shop is doing concourse work and that figure will not work in that particular shop, then it's important the shop be transparent to the customer. Some of the responses here are lacking any consideration of the customer "If there is one thing that irritates me, and I am a pretty laid back guy, it is someone who can't do what I can do telling me how much it should cost to do what I do", "I have a skill set that you aren't comfortable paying for and very quick to label restorers as crooks". No one labeled anyone "crooks" but these comments indicate that shops can do better with regard to their customers, especially with having a frank discussion on expectations. There are different levels of quality, which translates directly to cost and all I'm saying is that why take on a customer with expectation X when you know you will only provide Y? It's only going to lead to questions, which based on some of the restorers responses here, are not dealt with kindly.
  19. Absolutely I would have been better off. If the shop informed me the minimum I was looking at was 30-35K with a possibility of up to 50K I would have kept searching for a shop that did not do concourse work. With this type of ballpark numbers, you can easily assess that it's a very high quality job and not all shops provide that level of detail/quality. It's a driver with limited restoration, so what good does it do to have a 40-50K paintjob. it's overkill and renders it less than a driver for fear of accident/damage. Plus, their ballparks would set some accountability on the shops to be somewhat realistic in their assessment, something that does not exist today. If they run significantly over in price without justifiable cause (unforeseen issues), then the ballpark was bogus and the customer will know this and can properly rate the shop. Then everyone will have some information prior to making a decision. I do projects that run more time than expected but if I had completed over 200 of them, I would have enough experience and empirical data to assume issues and cover that time that in my estimate.
  20. Agree with all the feedback, thanks. It's not a cash flow situation but use vs. cost. It's a driver and will never be more. It's not numbers matching nor a frame off top to bottom. I won't move it out because this is only going to open up a whole host of other issues that isn't worth the headache. I disagree with Restorer32 that the firm price of $85 per hour is enough. All experienced shops know the range but they withhold it because they can. If they provided a minimum cost or ballpark, they would likely lose work, especially if they are a shop doing concourse work. This shop should have been upfront knowing it's not a rare model nor fully restored car. I believe - not providing a non-binding ballpark is an excuse for taking on work at any cost - if the customer leaves you have no negatives, if they stay and finish, you have the work. Again, the deck does not favor or even tilt to the customer. Restorer32 is stating more of the actual owner attitude and why my question came up in the first place. He's confirmed the reasons why, "he is free to leave" basically confirming little accountability on the owner. The notion that most like me will pull their car is false, the ramifications are obvious to even the novice. Try and find a shop to take on someone else's work. It's not a normal outcome, a few calls will verify this. Thus, most will suck it up and pay the bill and unfortunately may never restore another car. This is self induced wound by the owners, only hurting their own industry. If there was reasonable transparency, I would be at the correct shop doing the $25K of body/paint and would likely do another restoration down the road. Unfortunately, this is an all too typical scenario.
  21. No need for firm price in this case. Ballpark would work as most experienced shops have past data and working knowledge to know the ballpark. But it serves no purpose to provide the info if its not a standard (no one does it) and it will lead to less business. I'm sure my shop knew this would be 35K+ when I walked in the door, there's been no issues and it came out of blasting at 95% straight, complete and original. I'm not looking for perfection in estimation nor firm/binding cost but any transparency would reduce the issues in the industry between the customer and the shops.