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Please help me decide what to do about body work and paint on 63 Riviera


Steeleco
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About a year and a half ago I purchased a 63 Riviera with quite a bit of rust on it. The car runs great. I did a bunch of body work on it (bondo, fiberglass etc.) and painted it in the driveway. So as expected a lot of the rust came back after a year and a half. Please comment on which of the following I should do:

1. Spend $5000.00 for a body shop that says they will sand blast it down to bare metal, weld in new metal and do a great paint job on it.

or

2. Fix the rust areas as they happen and blend in the paint.

The car still looks good over all, gets a lot of complements and as one of my friends advised "just enjoy it". Please comment and thanks in advance!

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Good Morning . 5 K is throwing good money after bad . Find yourself a nice rust free car and keep what you have for spare parts . In the long run you will be way far ahead of the game . I know this is not what you were thinking but I have to be honest . You will not get rid of the rust . Perhaps a car from Arizona or Ca or ..... ?

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Those spots where the amateur body work is showing through can be cleaned up pretty easy. If it is brown rust bleeding through I take mildly abrasive chrome polish and work the brown off with my fingertips. Then polish it. The same with bumpers and trim. Always keep the interior nice and clean. Even if you redo some of the areas the car will be fine for years.

It is not a secret that the economy is on the brink of a pretty good sized crisis. If you have 5 grand of discretionary money get it in your hands and hang on. If you don't need it to survive someone else will and there will be some fantastic deals out there over the next 6 to 8 years.

And think about a $5,000 paint job, with paint pushing $200 a gallon and labor ranging from $80 to $120 per hour, what kind of a job do you think they can do in a week?

Now that you know your Riviera more intimately just think of how nice a car you can buy to replace the training one.

I tried to find a video clip with a compilation of poor excuses for poor service, but everything I found was related to government issues. I am sure the body shop owner knows a bunch, though.

Bernie

Edited by 60FlatTop (see edit history)
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The choice is really yours. How bad is the rust that came back? Do you see where your attempts at body work failed and can you not repeat it ;) I am always a supporter of the guy who did it himself over the one who spent money and as long as you car is a driver and not a concourse restoration I would say do it yourself again. Try and understand why the rust came back so fast, make adjustments to your process and fix it. Then get the car repainted completely when you are done and save yourself a few thousand. There is no reason to go back to bare metal if the rest of the paint is holding up

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OK Steele: I did a rust bucket and believe me it was a poor choice. I media blasted the entire car including the trunk. Media everywhere. I call the media truth serum. So after every rust spot is clearly identified, painstakingly cut out and new metal welded in....the thing still has rust bubbles here and there. Way too much work. My next build had no rust and it was so much easier. It's been a couple of years and still is pretty good. As a matter of fact I was thinking of a few small spot repairs and color sanding it down the road.

My suggestion is to repair the couple of spots that bug you the most. If I remember correctly this was a white car you did in your yard. Give it a leeetle tlc and call it a day. There is no shortage of First-Gen Rivieras around so if you want to do one up to the 9's you can start with a beautiful rust free example.

Also, perhaps I didn't fully Dick's comment on "purchasing a real rust free one and saving yours for parts". For someone to break up the car you have for parts makes absolutely no sense to me. Mitch

Edited by lrlforfun (see edit history)
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How about this Steele, take the $5,000 and enroll in an Auto Collision course at your local technical college. Not only will you learn what caused the rust to return you will learn the correct way to repair and prevent it from happening again. You can also consider it an investment for any other restoration(s) you may undertake in the future. If you're fortunate enough the instructor may allow you to use the schools equipment(professional paint guns, paint booth, welders, etc.) while gaining new skills.

Edited by Gseago (see edit history)
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Enjoy the car as-is while looking for a rust-free replacement.

My 1st car, when re-entering the old car market was a rust bucket.

I sank a lot of money into it for 4 years, and still had a car worth next-to-nothing

I then bought a rust free car, have put very little into it and still have a car worth as much as I paid

Buy someone else's blood, sweat and tears. Its a lot cheaper and the car you own spends more time on the road than in the shop

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I'd go with number two. Try to keep patching it up as long as you can. I am very suspect of a shop that says they can do all that for $5000. The going rate would be more like $15-20,000 making an assumption on the amount of work required to repair rust. Even a guy moonlighting with no business overhead would have trouble doing that work for $5000 and making a profit.

As someone else mentioned if you are motivated, have some mechanical skill, and have the time and place getting setup and learning to mig weld sheet metal isn't an expensive venture. There is no shortage of how-to info on the net.

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Steele, I am in the middle of my "Redneck Restoration" and have been asking myself similar questions. I am cutting and welding in new metal in all the rusted through places, and was hoping to let someone else do the final prep and paint. Sounds like the consensus on a car like ours is, don't start it, and if you do, do it all yourself. I had a friend come over yesterday and we replaced a large part of the tail piece, including left tail light opening. It came out very well and we have very little experience. I guess we just have to resist the urge to have a body shop do the finish, and keep on keeping on. I never put in patch panels before, and now I learned at 70yoa. I guess I can learn to paint also. Mike

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Steele-I think you could argue either way on fixing what you've got versus starting with a dry car. It all about your personal appetite. However, as some have replied, $5,000 for a bare metal paint job is just not a real quote today. No reputable shop could do it for that. PRL

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I need to add to what has already been stated. No way any competent shop that does quality work can do a rust bucket car for 5k. No way, no how.

I've got some waterfront property in the Everglades to sell you. It is subdivided, and ready to build on.

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Thanks to everyone for helping me make the decision. I have decided to just enjoy the car and fix the rust as it happens and blend it in. I enjoyed working on it to get it where it is today and when I retire I may even attempt some real world body work (welding etc.) But for now special thanks to Bernie, not only for the automotive advice but as my financial adviser, and economic forecaster to the stars, I just saved 5 grand of discretionary money.

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