dr914

best first generation restoration shop

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Is there any concensus on the best first generation (63-65) restoration shop in the nation?  I would mean a shop that would insist on concours perfection and be able to troubleshoot problems like twilight sentential , aluminum drum brake performance, wind noise, driveline vibration, transmission performance, radial tire alignment, etc

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If you can't take care of a lot of that yourself, you probably like writing checks even more than collecting cars. ;)

 

If you really want a concours-level job, find one that's already done and buy it.  You'll save yourself a bunch of time and money that way, and you'll know in advance exactly what you're getting.

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KongaMan your correct when it comes to $$$, but some of these vehicles almost become family members and deserve to be restored by aggressive means.

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Find a local reputable shop that is receptive to your input and willingness to ask questions of this forum.

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If you are an ROA member, look up and contact Al Schmidt on the roster and see who he uses. He has his cars restored and they are top quality.

 

No matter who you use, you have to be involved and do the homework for them on authenticity and finding parts. Otherwise you or the client will be paying 100-$120/hr to do research. On my recent concours 66 project, I spent a staggering number of hours researching authenticity and parts locating and I've been dealing with 66/67 Rivs for 35 years. There is a huge time difference when you strive for concours perfection vs say a very good to excellent job. I proved myself wrong many times. These cars are very complex.

 

I've seen a couple $100k + restos done with numerous authenticity errors. The owner has no idea of the errors and just assumes its correct since they paid big money so all are are happy. With no restoration guide out there for the Riv, that leaves a lot up to the shop management and folks doing the actual work. There are hundreds of decisions that must be made.

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1 hour ago, Chimera said:

KongaMan your correct when it comes to $$$, but some of these vehicles almost become family members and deserve to be restored by aggressive means.

True that.

I'd say the average Riviera today remains within family for quite a long time.

No Riviera gets tossed around like a Mustang or Camaro.

- No offense, I still love apple pie and Chevrolet. :P

 

 

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9 hours ago, JZRIV said:

With no restoration guide out there for the Riv, that leaves a lot up to the shop management and folks doing the actual work. There are hundreds of decisions that must be made.

 

...that's why I'm waiting for the first edition of Jason's Second Generation Riviera Restoration Guide before I even consider a comprehensive restoration!  ;)

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12 minutes ago, EmTee said:

 

...that's why I'm waiting for the first edition of Jason's Second Generation Riviera Restoration Guide before I even consider a comprehensive restoration!  ;)

 

Right! I'm also waiting for Jason's guide! :lol: 

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I'v never heard of a shop that specializes in first gen...or any Rivs really. As noted earlier, there are lots of shops that specialize in Mustang, Camaro, Vette etc. Riv's are just a different animal and don't have nearly the same fan base. This is reinforced by the relatively low number of reproduction parts out there for Rivs. My guess is that you wanted a really legit restoration, you'd have to find a shop that has very high standards and delivers that quality regardless of the make or model. If you can't fix it yourself or serve as your own general contractor to source work, be prepared to pay dearly for a high quality shop to "get it right" on a Riv. PRL

 

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1 hour ago, petelempert said:

I'v never heard of a shop that specializes in first gen...or any Rivs really. As noted earlier, there are lots of shops that specialize in Mustang, Camaro, Vette etc. Riv's are just a different animal and don't have nearly the same fan base. This is reinforced by the relatively low number of reproduction parts out there for Rivs. My guess is that you wanted a really legit restoration, you'd have to find a shop that has very high standards and delivers that quality regardless of the make or model. If you can't fix it yourself or serve as your own general contractor to source work, be prepared to pay dearly for a high quality shop to "get it right" on a Riv. PRL

 

Indeed and very good points - if a shop specialized in first gen Rivs, they wouldn't be in business very long.

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If you have the DEEP pockets how about Fantom Works???

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3 hours ago, telriv said:

If you have the DEEP pockets how about Fantom Works???

I am not tall enough for my pockets to EVER get that deep.

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I was thinking the same thing about Fantom works. I have a concours car (as in the picture) just needs a bit of attention to a couple of things, and we do not have time to do it.

    Every nut and bolt is correct, and the car was not one that was ever through the mill,

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Not sure I'd go with a "famous shop". IMHO, most of the reality show restoration shops seem to have moved their core emphasis from restoration to self promotion. It seems they select their projects more based upon the TV value and less on the merits of meat and potatoes restoration work. Of course they may still do plenty of that work, but since it doesn't make good TV, we don't see much of it. Overall, I can't help but feel that the quality of works suffers and the focus veers away towards promotion, fame wealth etc. If I needed a solid place to bring a really nice Riv for some selective improvement, I'd take a long look at a copy of Hemmings, select a few shops that advertise, call them, interview them and ultimately visit each. From there, I'm guessing you could find a reputable shop where your car would get the attention it deserves without all the drama. PRL
 

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10 hours ago, EmTee said:

 

...that's why I'm waiting for the first edition of Jason's Second Generation Riviera Restoration Guide before I even consider a comprehensive restoration!  ;)

 

10 hours ago, Schmiddy said:

 

Right! I'm also waiting for Jason's guide! :lol: 

 

......... Im just waiting for Jason to sell me his Riviera. He will need to finance his guide somehow!????

 

 

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1 hour ago, petelempert said:

Not sure I'd go with a "famous shop". IMHO, most of the reality show restoration shops seem to have moved their core emphasis from restoration to self promotion. It seems they select their projects more based upon the TV value and less on the merits of meat and potatoes restoration work. Of course they may still do plenty of that work, but since it doesn't make good TV, we don't see much of it. Overall, I can't help but feel that the quality of works suffers and the focus veers away towards promotion, fame wealth etc. If I needed a solid place to bring a really nice Riv for some selective improvement, I'd take a long look at a copy of Hemmings, select a few shops that advertise, call them, interview them and ultimately visit each. From there, I'm guessing you could find a reputable shop where your car would get the attention it deserves without all the drama. PRL
 

I don't know how many of you have watched "Wheeler Dealers" with Mike ?? and Ed China, but Ed is not going to be with the show any longer.  He's getting out because of just what is said above.  The producers wanted to go more with the personal hype of the shows hosts and spend less time and money on filming Ed doing the mechanical work.  Too bad, so sad.  I thought that "Wheeler Dealers" was the only 'restoration' show that had a good format.  

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7 hours ago, RivNut said:

I don't know how many of you have watched "Wheeler Dealers" with Mike ?? and Ed China, but Ed is not going to be with the show any longer.  He's getting out because of just what is said above.  The producers wanted to go more with the personal hype of the shows hosts and spend less time and money on filming Ed doing the mechanical work.  Too bad, so sad.  I thought that "Wheeler Dealers" was the only 'restoration' show that had a good format.  

 

Right, Mike Brewer & Ed China... I used to watch them all (sometime twice depending on what car they restored). What I very liked in these series, was - as RivNut said - the highlighted mech aspect and how Ed explained a lot of very interesting things while doing his work (and drink his mug of Britain's tea, Lipton??? ^_^)... I didn't knew until now that Ed has left the show - hmm, thats very sad in deed! Wheeler Dealers will never be the same without Ed :o:(


Off topic I know, but I found this vid interesting about Ed explaining why he's leaving the show...
It would be very desirable to see him in a new format who focusses much more on the technical an mechanical aspects of car restoration! 
 

 

Edited by Schmiddy
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I don't go to a lot of shows, but I do catch a few cruise nights. When I see a really outstanding car that is "my type" I always try to ask the owner who did it, how long ago was it done, and how long did it take them. If they want to volunteer the cost that's a benefit. I have a couple of shops stashed away in my head if the need arises. They are high quality production shops with an eye for detail, as opposed to a production shop. Two guys working on your car are going to need $1500 to $2000 per day to keep the lights on and groceries on the table. And it takes ten days to paint a car.

 

These TV show shops that crank out an episode every week for a season already have a day job. And it ain't working on cars. Wheeler Dealers, the favorite, apparently sold 135 cars. Tack three zeros on that and multiply it by the average they claimed they made, divide by two, and take out the taxes. They would have been hard up car salesmen and the risk of having an IRS padlock between you and your car would have been high if you hired Ed's work. Good thing acting was the day job.

 

I grew up and spent my life around these kind of shops. I chose another field as a career. For good reasons. I saw some of those 10 day collector paint jobs stretch into years. Cars rusted by the building stripped of paint and needed rust repair before the finish coat. A common malady was "the body shop owner's sickly wife", at least that was the story. Her symptoms matched the pace of disassembly. Then he only worked part days while caring for her. I'm thinking about ten times hearing that happen. I helped a friend finish a Bentley that had been in the shop for 28 years!

 

Then there was the short pocketed customer who got a break when the shop used his car as "fill in" during slow times. Their cars got rain tracks in the chrome.

 

I tried myself, and pretty aggressively up until 1984. That was Nirvana in the Quad Cities, Iowa. I was visiting the old Keewanee boiler plant for progress and burner testing on three boilers my company was having built. At night I left the hotel and went across the river to Moline looking in second rate used car lots. I always checked the yellow pages for adult book stores on trips. I knew I would find that row of car lots in the neighborhood. Around 10 PM I was looking at a black ten year old Mercury in nice condition. I thought, what nice "stand up" cars these seasoned decade old, well cared for jobs were. I thought of the couple of decades I had spent trying to make cars as good or better than new. I realized this clean ten year old condition was what pleased me. From that moment, that condition became the standard of my personal cars. From 1984 to now I have had more pleasure with my cars than most can believe. I am fussy, and all my Phillips head screws are parallel with the horizon, but I don't strive for that TV show level. And it takes me a while to get to some stuff. But I like doing all I can myself. I delegate well, but not my personal cars. I will leave work undone rather than risk a job that doesn't meet my expectations.

Right now I have a chip in the windshield on one car. I will live with it rather than risk a glass shop messing up the trim, luckily it is the '94 Impala and I may sell it.

 

Bottom line, if you read all that:

It is hard to trust someone to work on your car.

Evaluate perceived standards against your own deep seated ones.

Do things yourself. When you think "you don't have time". Are you going to work during that time to pay the body man?

 

My first employee says he is going to write a book about his experiences working for my company. He says the subtitle will be "If we aren't having fun, we aren't going". Talk about corporate culture.

Bernie

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11 hours ago, 60FlatTop said:

Two guys working on your car are going to need $1500 to $2000 per day to keep the lights on and groceries on the table. And it takes ten days to paint a car.

 

These TV show shops that crank out an episode every week for a season already have a day job. And it ain't working on cars. Wheeler Dealers, the favorite, apparently sold 135 cars. Tack three zeros on that and multiply it by the average they claimed they made, divide by two, and take out the taxes. They would have been hard up car salesmen and the risk of having an IRS padlock between you and your car would have been high if you hired Ed's work. Good thing acting was the day job.

 

Yes of course they can't earn a single nickel with the work and sells of these cars... (even when they are partly well done). All the efforts to produce such an episode is much more than 1000x what they earn at the end with the car itself (I don't want to know how many teams are working on the different layers of production until it's aired!). The only possibility to produce such shows is product placement and huge sponsoring amounts (efforts finding these not calculated). Needless to say that they sell these shows to TV channels for very big money - who then interrupt the episode with never ending publicity blocks . If viewing figures have a down going trend, TV channels are no longer interested to buy - producers have to change the formula (mostly at the cost of the cool things) or cancel completely due to higher costs than marketing income.


These shows are not really done for us car enthusiasts, but to gain a lot of money on our back (specially for producers and TV channels) and when the cow is milked, it is milked.

 

11 hours ago, 60FlatTop said:

Bottom line, if you read all that:

It is hard to trust someone to work on your car.

Evaluate perceived standards against your own deep seated ones.

Do things yourself. When you think "you don't have time". Are you going to work during that time to pay the body man?

   

I couldn't say it better! :D^_^

Edited by Schmiddy (see edit history)

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If you are looking for a shop to restore your car, you will be investing 100K easy.  I simply rebuilt my car, but every system needed to be touched, by myself outsourcing only the transmission and I only spent 762 hours.  I talked to a few folks who thought that was fast, a shop told me they cant do a car in under 1000.  Basic shop rate for almost every shop in the country is $75 an hour, so thats $75K in just labor.   I spent 23K in parts.

 

A show room perfect Riv MAY get you that kinda money back....its your pocket book. 

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On 3 June 2017 at 7:20 AM, 60FlatTop said:

  I am fussy, and all my Phillips head screws are parallel with the horizon, 

Bernie

 

Benie,

Can you give a bloke a few hints here ........Should the air cleaner wing nut run North - South or should it be East - West?

 

And the slotted screws on the automatic choke on the Carter AFB ..... Parallel with the horizon or vertical?

 

So much I have to get right .....?

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Slotted screws are always horizontal and the wing nut East/West. Obsessive/compulsive in even a minor addiction can make life a bit difficult. My wife tolerates it and I have a friend as well as a neighbor who always does things "good enough" which drives me nuts... 

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1 hour ago, DAVES89 said:

Slotted screws are always horizontal and the wing nut East/West.

 

Correct. Pardon me, but that should be obsessive-compulsive with a hyphen. I have been in so many arguments over that.

 

On the Phillips head screws, I rode almost 100 miles in a friend's '41 Cadillac 60 Special and all the inner windshield molding screws were in such disarray I still wake up in the night over it.

(Grimy, it's Tony's car).

 

Bernie

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I always thought that slotted screws were suppose to be vertical so that when water hit them it would just run down the slot and not linger!!:wacko:  

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I agree on the obsessive-compulsive, my mistake.

 This morning my wife left two drawers in her dresser slightly cracked open, they are now closed. And as we have two switches that control the overhead light/fan in out bedroom they had to be corrected so when the last switch is flipped they are both in the "down" position. The socks in my drawer all face the same way. When I do the laundry and put the freshly cleaned socks in the drawer they face the other way and are put underneath the prior ones.

 For about 15years I straightened the chairs at our church [no pews just individual chairs sitting next to each other]. Sometimes I would have "help". When they got done and left I would go back and redo what they did.

 There's more but you get the idea...

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