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restoration costs in different parts of the country


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I have been asking around trying to find a dependable, decent restoration facility somewhere in and around New England/mid-Atlantic to send our 24 Packard. We could care less about ever showing the car we just want someone to do the engine properly and take their time and go through all the mechanicals so we can start using it more. In talking with some folks in Hershey It was suggested that I would be a fool to not consider sending the car down south or out west as the same quality work could be done much more affordably outside of the northeast. I am not looking for a cheap way out- I would happily spend more to have things done correctly. - I'm just wondering if they don't make a good point given that I'm not looking for a show winning restoration just someone to freshen the car up to a level were we can use it and not have to worry about it. I don't want a Babinsky level restoration on a car that my 3 yr old is going to try and load the family dog into and good thing too because I'm sure I cant afford it anyway! Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated, thanks!

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Thank you Matt. Was hoping to meet you at Hershey but it didn't happen (or did it? My mind was Jello after a week of Hershey).  After 40 years of restoring we have learned a few things. md murray, happy to speak with you. Maybe check out our web site PennDutchRestoration@comcast.net.

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That's great, I've always wondered where you were located. I'm sending you an email and will be calling you soon. The car is pretty complete it just needs a little help on the hind end! I am eager to pick your brain on a few things. Much thanks!

packard.png

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It depends upon what you want done - from what I read you are looking to make the car dependable and a good running road car. 

Steve Babinsky does all levels from top prize winning Pebble Beach cars to repairs to rust ( he did the trunk floor of my 36 Packard where it was thin and you can't tell where it was done , metal cut out and replaced , etc. ) there is also Byron York of Ridgefield, Ct. who checked over the 1930 Packard 733 touring car I bought at the Dragone auction 3 years ago and corrected some things that needed to be sorted because the car had sat so long and not used when in two previous collections. Both Byron and Steve know their stuff, and will be glad to answer your questions , both know Packards very very well and own Packards themselves.

I wasn't looking for a trailer queen show winner either but wanted my cars turn key reliable with everything checked out . Both Steve and Byron are good friends I have known for decades .

Edited by Walt G
typo error (see edit history)
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It does pay to shop around. When I needed the wood fabricated for my 1946 Ford Station Wagon, I got several quotes from various shops. I went with The Kline Family Workshop in Manchester PA. Tom and Mike couldn't have been nicer to deal with and their price was considerably less than those quoted by others. The workmanship was absolutely fabulous, exact in every way and the date they told me it would be ready, was on target. I know you aren't restoring a Woodie but some other factors to consider are transportation costs and the ability to inspect the work being done to your car. The further away it is might limit any inspections. It seems like PA has several restoration shops that you might want to consider. I don't know him from Adam, but everything I have heard and read about Restorer32, might be your starting point.

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it's experience verses price--why pay the cheap labor bill when your paying them to learn on your car--may take them 4 times longer to learn ve sending it to Penn/Dutch to do the job in 1/4th the time & having it finished--I've learned the hard way, had the tra in and out of my car 3 times, it still won't shift,but I had too pay each time--Tom

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Best advice we can give you is this;  if you find a shop that will give you a firm price on any work other than the most basic you are well advised to turn and run. There are only two conditions where a shop will give a guaranteed price on work on a 90+ year old car. Either they are so inexperienced that they have no idea of the vagaries of restoration work or they are quoting a price so high they could not possibly lose money. Second best advice;  pick a shop you trust 100%. You will be trusting them with your car and your money and unless you pick a shop literally in your back yard you will not be able to check up on them every day. Third best advice; be wary of any shop asking for a large deposit up front. Best of luck in your search.

 

 

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I worked at several shops over the years, always liked to see the customer stop by every month or so. Perfect match was a guy that really loved his car, and who could keep up with the monthly bill. Nothing worse than rolling along and being told to stop, put the car in storage, and pick up a few months later. Picking a shop that knows Packards is a plus, you don't want to be financing some ones education. Bob 

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Here’s how things go in Canada from my perspective.  I live here. 

 

-Seek out required parts

 

-Learn they are most always in the USA

 

-Learn most sellers won’t ship to Canada. If they agree to ship, expect an extra $50 added to actual shipping prices. 

 

-Pay ridiculous actual shipping prices for parts.

 

-Pay ridiculous brokerage fees to couriers like UPS and FedEx to export your parcel over the border. 

 

-Expect CDN government to charge you GST and PST tax on a $50 part shipped in the mail. Then tack on a $10 handling fee. Just because they can. 

 

Whatever savings you think you’ll save in Canada, will be eaten up in freight costs. 

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There is a packard restoration shop in Holden MA. Met the guy at Hershey when he stopped to look at my 32’ Olds as he has a customer from Norton MA with a 32’ Olds Patrician sedan and noticed I have MA license plates. Need to look at my business cards that I was given by people at the show, pretty sure I have his. Not to recommend him over any others already mentioned but brought him up as he’s in New England. 

Edited by chistech (see edit history)
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There’s a gentleman an hour and half away from me here in PA that I would recommend for sorting mechanicals out on any car.  I know he has done work on Rolls Royce, Auburns, LaSalles, Dodge and he even helped me get my transmission in

my 47’ back together correctly when the snap ring (un-snapped) on the second gear set.

 

He is very knowledgeable and very reasonable. 
 

Pm me for his info.

 

Matt

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Penn Dutch is a good recommendation.

 

I met Parker of Parker's Packard at Hershey, seems very knowledgeable.

 

I'd also recommend Bill Anderson at Early American Auto Repair in Berryville, Virginia.  He's the best I've had personal experience with at sorting out cars, from Stanley's to Duesenbergs.....

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If you bring your Packard to Parker's Packard, find out who parks your Packard, Parker, or does Parker have a parker who parks your Packard at Parker's Packards?

 

I asked him on another forum and I think Parker might be a parker.  

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15 hours ago, keithb7 said:

Here’s how things go in Canada from my perspective.  I live here. 

 

-Seek out required parts

 

-Learn they are most always in the USA

 

-Learn most sellers won’t ship to Canada. If they agree to ship, expect an extra $50 added to actual shipping prices. 

 

-Pay ridiculous actual shipping prices for parts.

 

-Pay ridiculous brokerage fees to couriers like UPS and FedEx to export your parcel over the border. 

 

-Expect CDN government to charge you GST and PST tax on a $50 part shipped in the mail. Then tack on a $10 handling fee. Just because they can. 

 

Whatever savings you think you’ll save in Canada, will be eaten up in freight costs. 

 

All of the above is all too true. But { unfortunately } here in Canada we do tend to work cheap. And the exchange rate makes Canadian labor a real saving on  labor intensive restorations. There are some

 highly regarded restoration shops in Canada and more than a few U.S. customers. It would not make sense on a average tidy up , but major work on high value cars can see a Canadian advantage. Also

most of the shops tend to be located close to the border,have a U.S. delivery address and do their own import for a substantial cost saving.  I do it myself on my own stuff. Otherwise I would have to seriously re- think any old car involvement.

Greg in Canada

Edited by 1912Staver (see edit history)
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B and L Enterprise in western PA is an excellent shop, small and knowledgeable, and has turned out many prize winning restorations. They also do maintenance and partial restorations.

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I have been around cars since my pre-teens and one thought stands out above all thinking about this. Before agreeing to the start of work have the health of the shop owner's wife checked! Over So many, countless times, I have heard the old story "I couldn't do anything on your car because my wife has been sick". I think it is the most common automotive failure to work excuse out there. I'm seeing the images of four guys within 10 miles of me right now. So many times I have heard that.

 

Doing things myself and buying tools is my style. If I did contract out a long term job I would state specific expectations and schedule billing and payments either weekly or monthly. No hours billed and no progress during a work period, maybe another chance, but no progress and the car comes home. Way too many cars have set in shops for way too many years. Or outside where more damage occurs from exposure. I know of an instance where a car sat so long the shop owner got senile and thought a customer's car was his, quite a fight on that one. How about a car I helped finish that had been in a shop for 27 years! Don't let time slip way without incremental payments and visits. It happens more than you'd think.

 

I had a customer's Lincoln in another shop once and the tax guys with the padlocks and chains were very nice about letting me scurry over there and liberate it, nice men.

 

Just don't lose control.

Bernie

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7 hours ago, mercer09 said:

Have heard that for several years now Greg. Not sure why this thread is poo pooing the idea..............

 

makes sense to me.

 

Sherry's Custom auto's in Ontario did the body, paint and upholstery on a good friends fathers Model J.  The car looked great . As well a couple of shops in the

lower mainland { Vancouver B.C. } area have produced very high quality , Pebble Beach quality work. There is also a guy on Vancouver island that is very well

known in MB 300 SL circles but I don't think he works on anything else.

 

Greg in Canada

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MD Murry,

I have been involved with restorations for many years now. I will tell you that the key is the amount of resources that a shop is willing to dedicate to your project. Do they have a  staff of competent experienced technician? Do they have an office staff that will support the needs of the technicians. For example, is there a parts guy that dedicates his day to finding the parts and technical needs for your technician or some other person that accomplishes those tasks. You don't want the technician stopping his work to look for a part or a wiring diagram etc. Do they have a process in place to get your car done on-time and on budget? Do they build an estimate or pre-plan that outlines exactly what they plan on doing to make progress on the build to the very end? How detailed is that plan? Do they inspect the car before the build and give you an estimate or a realistic price and labor hours to finish the car? I have seen estimates from shops that did not even see the car. Every car is different (condition, parts required, owner expectations etc.). The car needs to be inspected first. What is the shop's waiting list? Most good shops have one. Be wary of a shop that says they can start right away. They may start right away to get your business and then the car sits while they work on the other cars. If they inspected the car and build a detailed plan they will know the scope of the job and be able to give you an approximate timeline to complete the project.

Good shops get cars shipped to them from everywhere. The cost of shipping to a good shop will out way the frustration and the heartache of going to a sub-par local shop.

 

If the price seems to good to be true....It is probably not a realistic estimate.

There are great small and big shops around the country. Each can serve you well. 

 

 

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