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rapidride2

Shop restoration/labor costs vs self restoration

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I can understand the problem with metallic paint. I happened upon a small gathering of cars today, mostly hot rods. One early 50's Ford was painted with a red, very metallic, paint. It was VERY obvious that the doors and fron fenders had been painted at a different time than the rear quarters, every angle showed a different metallic pattern and color variance.

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We are in planning stages right now for a spring project and I was thinking of using single stage Urethane in the following pattern:

Day 1- three coats of the color without metallic.

Day 2- Wet sand till smooth and then three more coats of the color without metallic

Day 3 - Wet sand again and then one or two coats of color with metallic, and no polishing or buffing, assuming I have no runs drips or errors

John, save yourself a lot of time and labor and $ and shoot the car with bc/cc. 2 coats of base (metallic) and 4 coats of clear. I say 4 coats of clear because most likely, you'll be sanding off two at the most. You won't be sanding the base. This is the Skylark I'm referring to.

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Edited by Skyking (see edit history)

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Getting back to the original thread, if you can do most of the work yourself, that is disassembling the car, bodywork & paint, buffing stainless, mechanical and bringing everything back to normal, you can save a ton of money. I know, because if I couldn't do all my own work, I wouldn't have the cars I now own. There's no way I could afford that outside labor.

Edited by Skyking (see edit history)

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I'm not surprised you are enjoying that car. It was a very nice automobile. And I know Duane spent a bunch of $$$ making that interior better than it was when he got it. Here's a pic of when Duane first got it and he brought it to my place to look it over with him.

That's the 56! Interesting pics John.

I have a question regarding your Super. Are those Kelsey Hayes wire wheels or reproductions? Do you run bias ply or radial tires? Have you had any problems with flats with the wire wheels? I love the look of the skylark wire wheel but have heard some horror stories with flats when using the wheels. Thanks, Matt

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That's the 56! Interesting pics John.

I have a question regarding your Super. Are those Kelsey Hayes wire wheels or reproductions? Do you run bias ply or radial tires? Have you had any problems with flats with the wire wheels? I love the look of the skylark wire wheel but have heard some horror stories with flats when using the wheels. Thanks, Matt

I can't retell my story of the wire wheels. Lets just say it is not pretty. My wheels are boxed up in a corner of my basement and will probably never see the light of day again.

I will say they are not Kelsey Hayes wheels, and they have the chrome spokes, not stainless steel spokes. My opinion is bias ply tires with chrome spokes, radials with stainless steel spokes.

Good luck.

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rapidride2,

From personal experience.

For the least total money/time invested your best deal is to find what what you want and buy it.

It is a rare occasion that someone spends years restoring a car and comes out a penny ahead.

That being said..... There are 3 considerations;

1. Does a guy or gal have $??,???.?? to lay out on the front side to buy what you want?

Some like me don't

2. Do you have a passion to stick with a project for several years (and a spouse who doesn't mind her car setting out all winter)? Over several years the things you don't have the skills to do (like a premium paint job) can be farmed out over time. I have a body guy who took my 63 every winter and did a little as I could pay him (amount not disclosed). Just make sure you can trust the Body Shop as there are horror stories of missing parts or cars.

Note for option 2; Some spouse might say"are you going that garage again?"

Your reply of course is "I could be heading to the bar".

Option 2 gives you the satisfaction of someday going a car show (or BCA National) and saying "Yep, I did that".

Option 3;

Hang out at your local casino or horse track and look for a guy standing next to a gorgeous "GS" with the obvious look that he just lost his whole paycheck betting on "Road to Rome" in the 5th race at Hialeah Park. Odds are you'll be able make a good deal.

Edited by RICK YOUNG (see edit history)

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Have any of you guys ever heard of the saying " If you didn't build it its not really yours" There is something very gratifying to be able to answer yes to the question " so did you build it? " If we all did it for the financial returns we wouldn't have Buicks , compare the value of a 57 Buick convertible to a 57 Chevy convertible for example. We like what we like and we do it because we enjoy it. After all whats financial return on a trip to the Carribean or DisneyWorld and they usually end up going over budget too!

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Lots of good advice here, especially from Skyking. I completely agree on using basecoat/clearcoat for any metallic. I also shot all the panels at the same time and in their place to avoid the metallic flip flop described by Trimacar. I was surprised at how great BC/CC was to shoot, the basecoat laid down beautifully and as Skyking said the basecoat does not require sanding, that is all done with the clear.

Also in agreement with Skyking I can say that if I did not do my own work I could probably not own a restored 1957 Pontiac. BUT on the other hand doing my own work has cost me 15 years of free time and affected my choice of housing and the associated costs, so that has to be factored in. The free time is of course my choice of recreational activity. But remember that if you are going to be producing dust, noise, paint fumes, etc you may not be able to live in many subdivisions or neighborhoods without problems.

It sounds like rapidride is somewhat experienced in working on cars, so that was my first question. I think a body off on a pickup truck would be far easier to do in an average suburban garage than a 1950s Buick and might be a good start. Parts availability is certainly no problem and assembly is far easier. Just be aware of your limitations and be patient and careful. Todd C

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I can't retell my story of the wire wheels. Lets just say it is not pretty. My wheels are boxed up in a corner of my basement and will probably never see the light of day again.

I will say they are not Kelsey Hayes wheels, and they have the chrome spokes, not stainless steel spokes. My opinion is bias ply tires with chrome spokes, radials with stainless steel spokes.

Good luck.

That still makes me sick to think about. :( Stuff like that makes you want to go on a rampage...

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For a full frame off restoration you are looking at about 1500 - 2500 hours whether you do it yourself or send it out, so there is a substantial savings if you have the time and ability to do it yourself. One option not mentioned so far, is to look at your local communtiy colleges and see what is available. At one end of the spectum are the classes where you work on college project cars. These are good to fine tune or learn the basic skills. Learning to do body work and paint on a project Honda will make you ready to jump on your on project more effectivly. In other programs, you can actually work on your own vehicle. You have full use of the shop equipment and paint booths along with a professional instructor to guide you. Based on the program, your use of the facilities may work out to about $2.00 and hour and usually the schools have very good discount arrangements with material and paint suppliers. I taught a paint and body restoration class at a local community college for 10 years, offered on Friday nights and Saturday mornings. Eight hours a week. A frame off was difficult to do because of the space it would occupy, that was needed by other classes during the week, but we could work around that by pulling the body, storing the body at the owner's home and the owner hauling the frame back and forth each week. Not the best way to do it, but it did work and was cheap for the student.

The other benefit of going the community college route if you have never done a restoration before is that you will find out if you have the ability to do it. Some people can do good body work or good paint and others can do both well. Then there are those who can not "feel" the body work imperfections or "see" how the paint lays down. I could put a paint gun in the hands of someone who has never shot before and tell you in 5 minutes if I could teach him to paint. You never know until you try it!

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On the other end of the spectrum, I'm involved in a test of sending cars to Bangkok, Thailand for restoration and the first one is now an AACA Senior car and won an award at Meadowbrook. Before I'm bashed for sending work overseas, let me state that we have no restoration facility in the US, but use other shops to do the final 5-10% needed to get the cars show ready. Four cars have been completed so far and we have carefully selected what we are sending over in terms of market value. We've found that if the car has a restored value of $100,000, we can bring the cost in below that amount, including the purchase price of the car. These are full, frame off restorations of cars needing extensive metal work. We supply the parts from US sources, so our cost is the same there. In our next variation of this, we are sending the body only for metal work, body work and paint. We will do the sub assemblies here as well a the final assembly. Projected dollars look good, even considering the shipping cost. We have four more cars in holding to be restored there. With each one, we are improving the process. We'll see how this works out.

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Before I'm bashed for sending work overseas, let me state that we have no restoration facility in the US,

We have no restoration facility in the US ??????

Having had business dealings with people from some of these Asian countries like Thailand and China in the past I'd be very waryof getting work done there. I'd want to be able to see the work done at every stage! The business culture there is very cutthroat and they have no qualms about putting something over on you. If they can save a buck cutting corners they will and they won't loose a blink of sleep over it!

What are you going to do when the car gets back and there's a lot more bondo in it than promised? Send it Back??

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kiwi56r, I understand your concerns about overseas restorations. We are in weekly and sometimes daily contact with our restorer in Thailand via e-mail, photos and skype. In addition, we make periodic trips over to work directly with the restorer. We have about 1,000 photos of each car in process sent during the restoration.

I don't want to hijack this thread, because it's going in a very good direction and would like it to continue on the shop vs self restoration cost. If you or anyone else would like to make additional comment on this, I'd be glad to start a new post in the General Topics section.

Thanks!

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I agree with most of the comments throughout this thread. In my case lack of availability of personal time, lack of knowledge of the 32 Buick series and the available resources for parts, correctness etc. led me to let the restorer in Connecticut completely restore the car. I too had 15-20 photos, a descripton of the work accomplished during the week and an invoice each Sunday night for 3.5 years and yes we blew the estimate many times over for valid reasons.

I call the car my "Rolling 401K" and I will NEVER get back what I have in the car but we did not go into it with the thought that we needed to spend only what it was worth. The restoration is stunning, we have had it Meadowbrook Concours and it has won national AACA awards as well as BCA Senior Gold plus the Spirit of Buick Award from Nicola Bulgari all since March 2009.

Now having said that we never expected to be in the position to have a car that nice when we started. I will say we have had a ton of fun showing the car and meeting new friends in both BCA and AACA around the country and we continue to make plans to show it in 2012 at Shelbyville, TN for hopefully its Senior Grand National award and then on to BCA in Concord, NC for another week with BCA friends.

I have other cars that are originals, drivers, and restored and they are all fun and have their own story. Life is good and we are blessed to have such a fun hobby and great people who are a part of it.

Chuck Nixon

1929 Model A Ford Huckster (complete frame off rebuild 1969 - 1972 while in the Air Force)

1932 Buick Model 67

1965 Corvette Coupe 327/365 hp 4 spd with A/C

1969 Chevelle SS Convertible 396/325 hp, 4 spd with A/C - frame on restored

1973 Buick Rivieras - have two drivers in nice shape

2006 SSR Chevy truck

2007 Corvette Indy Pace Car replica - 1 of 500 (won it with a $100 raffle ticket at National Corvette Museum in July 2007)

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Edited by chuck nixon (see edit history)

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just finished my 53 Special after 1.5 yrs.. Did all the dirty work and payed the local extortionist about 5K with about 2K in material and 5 K in chrome and polishing ( California EPA crap )About eight years ago I inquired about what it would cost and they wanted about 12K and didn't even want to do it..just add new economy money and it would probably be about 14-15K ..and yes old cars have usually had at least one accident..The deal is unless you pay a entire suitcase of cash NOBODY !! will take the time to do a decent job like you would do it yourself--car restoration has turned into a rich mans sport--too bad !!

regards,

Gil

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I would advise being within driving distance of any shop restoring your car. Sending it half way across the US to restore would be a bad idea, never mind across the globe. I'm sure the boys in Bangkok are going to easily be able to handle the the various situations that come up with restoring a car :rolleyes:

Ultimately you get what you pay for. If you happened to be a retired machinist or mechanic with the time, tools and inclination then restoring your own car might make a lot of sense. If you are a white collar dude that can't change your own flat then maybe not such a great idea. There are no free lunches anywhere in life AND especially restoring cars.

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The deal is unless you pay a entire suitcase of cash NOBODY !! will take the time to do a decent job like you would do it yourself--car restoration has turned into a rich mans sport--too bad !!

regards,

Gil

This statement is far from the truth. There are some good restoration shops around that do fine work. Why would anyone think they can have a car restored for nothing?? Isn't that knowledge and labor worth paying for?? What is the difference having somebody come to your home to do a kitchen re-modeling?? Cars are no different.

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