marcapra

Painting strategy and cost.

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I have a 48 DeSoto 3 window coupe, so I'm NOT looking for a paint job for showing at Pebble Beach.  I just want something like it came from the factory in 1948.  The last I checked, 1980s, an acrylic paint with a hardener was the way to go to duplicate the original baked enamel look.  Is it best to finish the mechanical work before getting it painted, or not.  I painted the firewall many years ago, outside on my driveway, using acrylic enamel with a hardener.  I painted it maroon, but changed my mind on the color, so I want to repaint it.  Even though I painted it myself, it looks totally professional.  I wore a charcoal filtered mask of course.  I have heard that paint jobs today cost over $5000!  Is that true?  My car would not need the normal masking as the glass is out, the wiring is out, the moldings and bumpers are off, etc.  Do many restorers attempt to paint their cars at home?  

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Decent paint, primer, sand paper, and other materials will run 1500 bucks for cheap stuff. Five grand for a paint job? 50k is only mid level work to do it correctly in most areas. Recently a collector asked me how much to repaint his Pebble Beach winner with zero miles and about 40 year old paint. I quoted 200k, but expect another 50k in extras. You can't get a plumber to show up to your house for less than 200 dollars today, and that's just to get them there.

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Mr. Marcapra, please remember that costs have doubled

since the 1980's, even at our very low inflation rates.

 

Ed must live in an expensive area and pay accordingly!

My HVAC man and plumber charges no more than $50.

 

The average excellent paint job for typical discriminating

collectors could cost $10,000.  I know of a place that does

excellent work where it would cost $5000.  

 

Cost is usually in proportion to man-hours, so an ultra-expensive

paint job is going to give a buyer more than a typical one.  But

some parts of the country may have labor rates HALF of the

rates of an expensive urban area.  If everyone had to pay

six figures for a paint job, I think the hobby would be dead!

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Posted (edited)

Unlike Edinmass, at the other extreme I painted my 1962 Triumph TR4 in my garage in 2013 for approximately $1,500 in supplies.

 

I got my AACA 1st junior at Hershey in 2015, 1st senior at Hershey in 2016, Preservation at Hershey in 2017, and AACA Grand National at Greensburg in 2018.  The car was also nominated for a National Award last winter, so it can be done on a small budget.

 

Not the most durable paint, but I used acrylic lacquer since I was attempting to duplicate what the car looked like when came out of the factory. This was the first paint job I had done in over 40 years. 

 

 

Beers TR4 Front View 2.jpg

Edited by Vila (see edit history)
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I'm pretty much in agreement with edinmass, for a truly top-notch paint job think in terms of $50K and up.

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 The best way to paint anything is to have every thing removed so that the paint can get around corners and under all attachments.

 Your car will greatly lower the expense of sanding, primeing and spraying the final coat with out all the chrome, windows, etc.

 

 It is not necessary to strip off the paint of a car for a nice paint job, and the materials cost could be well under $1000.

 There are shops (like Maco) that specialize in only repainting cars at a reasonable cost, and good looking too. You may have to nib and buff, but from 20', they look like a million dollars.

 

PS, I specialize in high end painting and I recommend Maco to my customers that have a small budget to work with.

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totally agree with Roger. you are repainting a hudson, not a duesenberg.

 

if you do all of the prep work, you will get an alright paint job at Maaco for 3k. not worth buying the materials and doing it yourself.

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1 hour ago, Owen_Dyneto said:

... for a truly top-notch paint job think in terms of $50K and up.

 

However, the original poster said that's exactly what he is NOT looking for.

Do people have cost data that are helpful for what he is looking for?

 

8 hours ago, marcapra said:

I have a 48 DeSoto 3 window coupe, so I'm NOT looking for a paint job for showing at Pebble Beach.  

 

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John,

 

Ed was just having a bad hair day!

 

LOL    hope everyone enjoys their 4th!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Posted (edited)

You can still buy Acrylic Enamel (so long as you are not in California). Google TCP Global and their sub-site Restoration Shop Paint. Be patient in doing so, either my computer was weird or they were updating their website - I kept getting "can't find server" messages.

 

The Restoration Shop site has a Ditzler color chart for '48 DeSoto. You can order the exact factory color in Acrylic Enamel (AE) if you want. Or, you could just order a general color from their color chart.

 

I've used their acrylic lacquer and had very good results. From comments on other websites, people seem to like their AEs, too.

 

If you pick from their general colors, AE paints run approximately $86-100 per gallon. Custom colors in AE run about $175 per gallon or so.  

 

If you prime, go with a 2K Urethane Primer Surfacer. So much better than the old lacquer stuff. However, the paint fumes are dangerous -- you will need much more than a charcoal filter mask. You can buy a mask from TP Tools that people use for Urethane priming, but the filter insert is good for only 1-2 jobs. You'll see a lot of people using that on youtube, for what it's worth. I have such a mask and will replace the filter after 1 hour of use. I recently purchased a separate air system and will use that, instead in the future.

 

Also, I have switched to a turbine paint system. Much quieter, I use less paint and produce a better paint job. A little expensive (approx. $750 from TP Tools & Equipment), but I feel the end result is worth it. My lacquer paint jobs are coming out like extremely well. 

 

In summary, you can buy Acrylic Enamel plus hardener for your car. Count on spending $1500 for materials and do it yourself. 

 

I love painting cars. Don't get to do it too often, but it's a highly intense, time-consuming, frustrating and exhilarating process. 

 

As for the $200K paint jobs, you get what you pay for. Anyone who has painted a car appreciates just how much preparation and finishing is involved. The laying down of the paint is maybe 5% of the job. 

 

P.S. The trick about painting cars at your home is to be DISCRETE. Be quiet, keep things hidden and don't let the neighbors find out. 

Edited by RansomEli (see edit history)
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I agree that if you do the prep work yourself by disassembling the car as much as possible and perhaps any rough bodywork that needs to be done, you can get a good result for not a lot of money. Find a painter willing to shoot paint and work with him to determine the right materials to use--you want everything to be compatible so let him tell you what "system" he wants you to use. Many body shops will not touch a car on which someone else has done the bodywork and primer because they can't guarantee what's underneath, but if you start at the beginning and work together you might be surprised by how reasonably it can be done with you doing the bulk of the heavy lifting. Even just doing the disassembly yourself can save a great deal of money--they're going to charge the same amount per hour whether they're spraying paint or unbolting bumpers.

 

There are talented guys working at home, too. I don't know if a single paint job is worth the investment in tools and supplies to do it yourself, so finding someone who is already set up with most of that equipment can be to your advantage. It won't cost anywhere near $50,000 or $200,000, I promise.

 

Find someone who will work with you and who will let you do the low-skill grunt work to get it ready for paint. You'll find you get a very good result at a reasonable price, which I think would be $5000-8000 for a reasonably well done Desoto-grade paint job that covers all the nooks and crannies and looks great at local shows (but won't win a prize at Pebble Beach, which is perfectly OK--none of us own cars that will win at Pebble Beach and few of us even care about competing at that level).

 

 

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Posted (edited)

I don't know if anyone mentioned the mechanical aspect you inquired about.   There are probably 2 trains of thought on that.  Getting it running and driving in good order then painting it will mean you won't have to worry about disassembling everything again when something craps out right away or isn't right and you have to remove something major like the engine for a rebuild.  Now if you know the engine is good for sure and no major mechanical work will need to be done,  then you would probably be OK painting then fine tuning later.  I would hate to go to the work of putting a new paint job on and then having to tear it apart to do mechanical work.  It's hard to not damage the finish at all if anything major goes wrong.  No matter how careful you are,  things happen and there is a scratch or chip in your brand new paint job.  

The only reason alot of paint jobs look so good is the finish work as well.  Lots of wet sanding and buffing really makes the difference in the end.  Some of the worst paint jobs can look great with hours of cutting and buffing.  

Edited by auburnseeker (see edit history)
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About a year ago on these forums a Mr. Wauhop with a rust-free 1955 Packard 400 in the Philadelphia area was looking for someone that would repaint his car at a reasonable price. This led to some very lively forum discussions that I enjoyed reading. He found a shop that quoted him $6000 to do the job. The results were never posted, I would love to see a follow-up with some pictures. What kind of a job did he get and most of all was he happy with the results? Mr. Wauhop if you are reading this could you kindly fill us in?

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9 hours ago, marcapra said:

I have a 48 DeSoto 3 window coupe, so I'm NOT looking for a paint job for showing at Pebble Beach.  I just want something like it came from the factory in 1948.  The last I checked, 1980s, an acrylic paint with a hardener was the way to go to duplicate the original baked enamel look.  Is it best to finish the mechanical work before getting it painted, or not.  I painted the firewall many years ago, outside on my driveway, using acrylic enamel with a hardener.  I painted it maroon, but changed my mind on the color, so I want to repaint it.  Even though I painted it myself, it looks totally professional.  I wore a charcoal filtered mask of course.  I have heard that paint jobs today cost over $5000!  Is that true?  My car would not need the normal masking as the glass is out, the wiring is out, the moldings and bumpers are off, etc.  Do many restorers attempt to paint their cars at home?  

 

Painting is about the easiest and least time consuming part of a good paint job. Doesn't matter as much what you paint with as it does the surface that you lay the paint on and all the work of painting is in the preparation.

 

Depending on what you are calling mechanical work,  I think its best to do the mechanical work first. Scratching your brand new paint job pulling something out of the car to rebuild, or repairing something on the car, that could have been done prior to painting and scratching your new paint is a bad feeling.  

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I will take the other school of thought on the mechanicals.  I have been working on my own car for many years in fits and starts and able to perform quality work in my own garage much like Vila and his Triumph.  And for my next restoration (if I have the energy) I will definitely do body and paint first and mechanical work last.  Why is that?  Because the engine/transmission/axle took a few months to rebuild and the rest of the car took years.  The assembled powertrain sat dormant while the other work was done and collected dust (and lots of it).  If you do the mechanical work last you will be ready to start and drive immediately and while working the bugs out (rattles, leaks, etc.) if there is a problem with parts or service you will have recent receipts and contacts to talk to, Todd C    

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Keiser31, thanks for pointing out that Marc is in California.

 

I checked the TCP Global website and found they do sell Acrylic Enamel to Cali residents (Yay!)

However, they will NOT sell acrylic lacquer to CA residents.

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Posted (edited)

Paint and peoples expectations; and how clubs and organizations judge and interpret "paint" varies as much as types of music.........from classical to grunge.........its all music....... but its not all the same. Correctly painting a car means taking it apart, and down to the metal, and bringing it back up to "new". Current restoration shop rates in the US run from anywhere as low as 50 dollars per hour........and up. How much up? Yesterday I was in a shop who's hourly rate is 325 per hour. And they were busy. All work is NOT equal. Honestly, a full service shop that can do everything in house, I think 90 per hour is the lowest I have seen in ten years. Fact is 90 percent of the work being done on collector cars is "less than factory quality" and 70 percent is hack work and sub standard. I have been in the hobby 40 years, and do this full time............ many customers simply refuse to fix and restore their cars properly...........due to financial decisions. Many shops are not capable of doing good work. Sad but true. When we paint a car, we expect the paint to last 30 or more years, and still look great. That's hundreds of hours of work. We only use top of the line materials. They cover better, sand and buff easier, and give much better results than cheap materials. You can paint a car with a roller and use rustoleum and from fifty feet away going down the road it will look fine. I know from experience, as that is how I painted my first car. Since I was 13 years old at the time, it was the best that I could do. It kept the neighbors from complaining about my "junk car that was five different colors" from trashing up the neighborhood. In 1992 I spent 7200 dollars on materials to paint my own car, 22,000 miles and twenty five years later it scored 98 1/2 points at a CCCA show. You get what you pay for in this world. You can get a hamburger for 99 cents at McDonalds, or pay as much as 20 dollars in some restaurants. The original post said FACTORY PAINT JOB, that's not a 5k project. No one asked if they were taking overall consideration of the value of the car. Many people invest 150k into a car that when finished is only worth 40k, thats not the point. He asked for a factory type finish, that means removing the interior, all the trim, fenders, bumpers, etc.......then taking it down and doing it right.......PLUS body work.

 

 

PS- A Pebble Beach paint job is 200k all day long..............if you want to win a first in class on a pre war car. 

Edited by edinmass (see edit history)
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2 hours ago, RansomEli said:

the paint fumes are dangerous -- you will need much more than a charcoal filter mask. You can buy a mask from TP Tools that people use for Urethane priming, but the filter insert is good for only 1-2 jobs. You'll see a lot of people using that on youtube, for what it's worth. I have such a mask and will replace the filter after 1 hour of use. I recently purchased a separate air system and will use that, instead in the future.

 

Good, useful information. I didn't realize a charcoal filter was inadequate.

 

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1 hour ago, Matt Harwood said:

Many body shops will not touch a car on which someone else has done the bodywork and primer because they can't guarantee what's underneath, but if you start at the beginning and work together you might be surprised by how reasonably it can be done with you doing the bulk of the heavy lifting. Even just doing the disassembly yourself can save a great deal of money--they're going to charge the same amount per hour whether they're spraying paint or unbolting bumpers.

 

When I did my restoration I totally disassembled the car. The only parts I left on were the rear axle & suspension and the front struts so it was a "roller".

Once it got to the body shop, I removed the front and rear suspension and dropped the fuel tank. That left the body shop with just the body minus the fenders I removed at home. Doing all this work myself saved the body shop 100s of man hours and me THOUSANDS of dollars. Two months later when the body and paint work was done I re-installed the restored/new suspension parts and rolled the newly painted car out of the shop. From the body shop the car went directly to the interior shop to have it's new headliner made & installed. Then it came home and the windshield and other glass went in. Doing the windshield at that time was made SOOOO much easier since I could stand inside the empty engine bay to install it.

 

Most body shops in my area will NOT spray a car that they id not do the body/prep work on. The body/prep work is simply too important to leave to amateurs especially when it is THEIR REPUTATION that is at stake. The body shop I used had that requirement which I was okay with.

 

BTW, this same body shop repainted one of my daily drivers that I bought that had hit a deer. That was a tape & spray job with a few new & used body parts. 

Twenty-Two years later that same paint job is not looking too bad except for some stone chips, etc. 

 

At the end of the day, when it comes to body and paint work on a vehicle you get what you pay for.  I do find it funny that there seems to be an inverse relationship between the cost of the body/paint work and the amount of complaining. (ie the less money someone spends the more complaining they do in the long run.)

 

 

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3 hours ago, John_S_in_Penna said:

 

However, the original poster said that's exactly what he is NOT looking for.

Do people have cost data that are helpful for what he is looking for?

 

 

 

He said “factory paint” and factory paint isn’t Pebble Beach, but it sure isn’t a paint over 70 year old paint at the local high school shop class. Reread the first post. He wants a good job, he just wants it for as little as possible........if you have been in the hobby long enough, you know where this is heading. Good paint and body work is expensive.

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2 hours ago, edinmass said:

Fact is 90 percent of the work being done on collector cars is "less than factory quality" and 70 percent is hack work and sub standard.

But then, a lot of factory quality is hack work.   In a similar vein, many of the discriminating collectors wouldn't accept even a good factory job.  Which makes you wonder about their motivations, but that's a different topic... ;)

 

2 hours ago, edinmass said:

many customers simply refuse to fix and restore their cars properly...........

"Properly" is subjective.  What one man sees as a proper job is what another man sees as wasteful and/or an affectation.  And a lot of times, the second guy has the stronger argument.

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I wasn't going to voice an opinion on this, but what the hell! I have no doubt that you can get the job done for 5-10 dollars, but  probably only if you are able to work the paint that's already on the car. So maybe that should answer the question, but I will continue nonetheless.

These are the steps that I suggest when evaluating a car, and how to proceed:

1)Before you start any process do some real soul searching. What are you going to be satisfied with? If you can't, or won't answer this question honestly, don't even venture any farther. The last thing that you need is to open yourself up for second guessing. If you have doubts about what you want the car to be, or question your willingness, or ability to complete the job, don't touch it! All this is mute since you have, seemingly, already made the choice.

2) Know your car-history of the work that was done, when it was done and how it was done. If there is no verifiable history inspect every inch of the car. If there is any cracked, peeling or chalky paint-take care of it right now! If the paint has been on the car and looks like it will take a build, don't get too curious and dig too deep. Also make sure that the primer you choose for your build is compatible with what's on the car now. Also knowing how straight your body is will help determine how much block sanding you will need to do. By the way, I agree with you, I like catalyzed enamel for your project, I've used it several times.  

3)If you are not going to shoot the body yourself be prepared to interview painters willing to do the "complete." Many shops only do spot repair today, so be prepared to do some looking. Ask to see samples of his work, and talk to owners of the cars that he has worked on. Make sure that the painter knows exactly what you want the job to be. If you feel inclined to want to cut and rub make sure that he knows he needs to adjust by increasing the build a little. There is a place for restoration shops today, but on your budget I doubt that you will be willing to pay the price.

4)I think that with a stock build it is important to use an available color from the available pallet for 1948. Your car your choice, just an opinion.

I like all the Chrysler Corp. three window coupes from the 40's. Pictures would be nice. Good luck.

Bill  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, KongaMan said:

But then, a lot of factory quality is hack work.   In a similar vein, many of the discriminating collectors wouldn't accept even a good factory job.  Which makes you wonder about their motivations, but that's a different topic... ;)

 

"Properly" is subjective.  What one man sees as a proper job is what another man sees as wasteful and/or an affectation.  And a lot of times, the second guy has the stronger argument.

 

 

Everything is relative........depending on your motivation. I like perfect cars......thats 1/10 of one percent of the hobby. Works good for me, its a terrible waste for most. To each his own! 👍

Edited by edinmass (see edit history)
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I am very careful about the money I put in collector cars         when you talk about the money for a paint job     wow !!!!!      the too cars pictured I painted        stripped prepared metal   ,,. put primer wet sanded  , painted  wet sanded--- then buffed         cost      two gallons of  PPG   acrylic lacquer     then maybe   $ 50.00 a can  plus primer and sand paper   of course I have a place to do it and the equipment   and the time 

plymouth show.jpg

PLYMOUTH P2 2.jpg

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