Jump to content

Where to go for body work - El Paso


Recommended Posts

I inherited my grandfather's 1950 Ford F1 this past year.  It's in Texas and I live in Alaska.  And the Canadian border remains closed because of Covid-19.  As you can see from the photos, it needs some body work.  I'm thinking that it would be a lot cheaper to get the work done in El paso, where the truck is, than here in Alaska.  The truck doesn't need to be "like new", but it would be nice to clean it up enough so that it would be in good shape and could remain in the family in the future.

 

I was thinking about getting the body work done in El Paso while waiting to be able to bring the truck to Alaska.  Should a regular body shop be able to handle this (please see photos), or does it need to go to a specialized restoration shop?  Any any recommendations for shops in El Paso would be appreciated.  Thanks!

LeftFrontHood.jpg

RightRunningBdFender.jpg

RightRear.jpg

Link to post
Share on other sites

Where in Alaska are you located?  The

Fountainhead Antique Auto Museum in

Fairbanks is active with antique cars.

You could call their Executive Director and

ask whom they know or recommend.

 

Unless Alaska is much more expensive for

that sort of work, it would be convenient to

have the truck closer so you could check the

progress periodically.

 

That said, plenty of people have cars worked on

by trustworthy restorers who are out of their area.

I hope some Texans here can recommend someone. 

All the best to you for your project!

 

Edited by John_S_in_Penna (see edit history)
Link to post
Share on other sites

Looks will be deceiving in this case, a shop will pull the bed and then you'll get a long list of additional work that needs to be done.  I'd be wanting the shop doing the work close enough so you can visit often.  

It looks like a great project, a 'keeper' that.

  • Like 3
Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you for the replies.  I'm about 500 miles from Fairbanks, but I like the idea contacting the director at Fountainhead Antique Auto Museum there.  Our population in the state is small enough that the director would likely have good ideas about places even in this part of the state.  Regular auto body work in Alaska tends to be a lot more expensive than the Lower 48, and I'm guessing the same would be true (or even more so) with antique autos.  However, as you say, it sure would be nice to be able to check in on the progress of the truck.

 

Right now, with the Canadian border closed, driving to Texas to get the truck and haul it back is not an option; but the pandemic won't last forever.  Body work along the Texas-Mexico border has traditionally been inexpensive, so that option in the age of the internet is attractive as a way to move forward on this after a year-long delay because of Covid.  As you say, I hope someone from Texas weighs in on recommended restoration shops around El Paso.

 

Thanks for the reminder that I am likely to face a bunch of questions about additional work as more rust and corrosion reveals itself as the project continues.  I do wish I knew generally how much to budget for this whole process, since this is the first time I've owned an antique.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Looking at the pictures that is not a lot of rust. Much of it looks like surface rust. I had a 49 F3 that was a farm truck I got out of the last barn in Chicago. The rust was completely thru the top of the rear fenders, the bottom of all the fenders and the bed was missing the bottom 6 inches of metal all the way around. I never did body work before but the guy who bought it thought it was the original bed!  Get the truck up there and try it yourself. Unless I’m missing something that is one good looking truck that would be great to learn on and drive it. 
If you do have a shop do it try to get someone you know and trust to check it out if possible. Good luck 

FDF2129D-FE2A-4FF6-A39D-1F29F2C84632.jpeg

Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Craig,

there is another option you should seriously consider. It is very popular these days, particularly with vehicles in the general condition of your ‘50 F1, even more so with trucks/working vehicles. That is the preservation process of what you have, warts and all. Your grandfather’s truck wears a heavy patina very well. It does have his presence written all over it. Preservation would include maintaining functionality, and going through all mechanical systems, overhauling and fixing as needed. You will have to do at least this much anyway, so it is not any additional expense. Rust may be an issue, but it can be contained and significantly retarded. Some of this can be done with discretely applied periodic applications of sacrificial zinc from a rattle can. Phosphoric acid on more visible areas. I don’t know if there is any compromised structural integrity, for example, the running boards may need more than just containing and preserving as is. But they can be reinforced or sistered from underneath without sticking out like a cherry in the whipped cream. As I say, the rust process can be slowed WAY down, storage and driving conditions being of the highest importance.

 

What do you think ? We have a saying you should weigh heavily in considering this : “They are only original once”. Originality is king in some circles. Please include me in that camp. I have just added a third mid ‘20s Cadillac to the original, unrestored fleet. It. Mechanical condition totally unknown. If it is beyond any reasonable budget, (a vastly more costly proposition than dealing with the mechanicals on your truck), it will have to serve as a parts car. Your truck is rolling history and charm. Total body work and painting on your truck could very well exceed worse case scenario on my new toy. But here : let me show you a picture of it. Less rust, more paint, and almost certainly a better original interior than the truck has. This might be called an “easy restoration “ by some, but none are “easy”. Just a matter of degree. If you are considering trying to save a few bucks down Texas way, I implore you to think twice before even thinking about going that route at all, no matter where you will end up spending a fortune. It’ll cost you even if you do it yourself. How much time do you have ? Let “them dogs” sleep. They’ll only bite in their dreams.

 

Welcome , Craig From Alaska ! You are among great hands with all your new friends here. The “C” in my handle stands for “Cadillac”,     -    Carl

 

 

 

9DA49018-B9AC-4E23-8AEC-CA34D66AA624.jpeg

Edited by C Carl
Cleanup (see edit history)
  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

 The angle braces on the rear body to the bumper indicates that the rear post are rotted away, enough so that the tail gate would not close securely.

 The running board to the front and rear fenders is another place that rots where the two meet.

 I actually like the patina which could be protected with a coat of trans fluid mixed with WD40. (75% WD40)

 

 Any voids in the body can be protected with the same mixture after they are blown out with air and dried out.

Edited by Roger Walling (see edit history)
Link to post
Share on other sites

WoW, what a great truck. Kind of a tough call with this one. I am not a 'rat rod' kind of guy, but the "patina" on this one cant be beat. I would bet that the rust isnt all that bad being from S Texas. Probably just sunbeaten and care worn.  Having a restoration done from so far away isnt all that bad with the age of the computer and smart phones, but I would still be a bit hesitant. I can imagine that it will be cheaper to have the work done in its present location than in Alaska. I would be inclined to sort out the mechanicals, preserve the topside and enjoy it just like it is. Restoration cost is a dangerous  bunny hole to fall into.  I have never paid for a complete resto (or even a partial one!) but I would think you could easily have 25k-35k in a full job.  By the way here is a pick from the day with my grandfather standing in front of his F1 ( I thought it was but the hood50838316451_8f00f6d478_c.jpg2021-01-15_10-04-44 by Kerry Grubb, on Flickr is dif. than your truck. may not be a Ford at all!)

 

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Peter Gariepy changed the title to Where to go for body work - El Paso

Craig - Just so you know what is possible for a guy that has never done body work can do.  I decided if I took my time I could figure out how to fix this -- it worked. 

2013-06-22 14.05.02.jpg

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Take a lesson from Gramps, don't rush into it. "Pretty" doesn't look like it was high on his list. And long distance pretty can be painful. Orchestrating a 3,000 miler wouldn't be on my list of adventures. If you contract anything that requires disassembly you may never see the truck again. Seen that happen too many times. I'm remembering work I did on a Bentley that was liberated from a 27 year restoration. Liberated is the only term that fit.

 

Make priority one getting it into your possession and on your turf. And be sure you have shelter for it. They dissolve in water, which rain and snow contain a lot of. Getting it home will your first $2500 to $3000. Then it won't take much to list the 60 $100 jobs to make it start, steer, and stop reliably.

 

If you decide to farm out the body work I find the best way to do that is make an agreement to settle up for time and material every week. The point of that is to maintain progress. No time, no material, no money. And the big question - Why? Imagine asking that from 3,000 miles away.

 

You are looking at a stressful project even without the strain of sentimental attachment. Then there are the relatives. Thanksgiving and Christmas may never be the same.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Wow!  Thanks for all the terrific advice!  Since I’m starting with no real knowledge about antique auto restoration, it’s all greatly appreciated.

 

I did take the advice and called the auto museum in Fairbanks, and spoke with the guy there who has done their restorations and also has a flock of 38 antique cars at home.  He made several excellent recommendations that were particularly helpful with his Alaska perspective.

 

The consensus that I am getting is that the best thing to do is to get the truck to Alaska and into my garage.  Once there, I can get any remaining mechanical issues resolved.  It was recommended that I spend a summer driving it on nice days here while deciding how much restoration I am interested in.  This seems like sage advice.

 

I also get the impression from the collective group that I since I am pretty handy, I should not be too intimidated at the prospect of tackling the body work myself.  If the truck is here at my house, I would also have the option to pick and choose when it came to which parts of the project I wish to tackle on my own, and which I might want to farm out.

 

Does this sound like a reasonable plan?  And am I ignoring anything real obvious?

  • Like 6
Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, 60FlatTop said:

You are looking at a stressful project even without the strain of sentimental attachment. 

 

I don't think it would be stressful.  It can be enjoyable

if one finds the right shop to do the work.  That's why

he's asking.

 

Here in antique car country, people from far outside the

area often have their antique vehicles restored or worked on

by reputable shops.  That's because the hourly rates are

reasonable, and many qualified shops exist.  I visited a shop

(here in Pennsylvania) last week, and amazingly, one of our

forum-goers and AACA officers from Louisiana had his

1915 Hudson there being worked on!  

Link to post
Share on other sites
12 minutes ago, Craig From Alaska said:

...tackling the body work myself....  

Does this sound like a reasonable plan? 

 

Craig, make sure you have the time and skills

to do it yourself.  Many people have such good

intentions, but the vehicle gets disassembled

and never completed.  Years go by;  and if ever

offered for sale, a disassembled project has

little value and is very difficult to sell.

 

The quality of a paint job from a shop can vary

tremendously, depending on the quality of the

work.  A lot of work is in preparation.  The best

paint jobs for a truck like yours--with little or no

rust--can be $10,000.  Detailing the engine compartment

and redoing the chrome and stainless trim can be

extra.  In the end, the result can be very satisfying.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Question number one above regarding your “reasonable plan” : Not exactly. 
Question number two regarding “ignoring anything” : Perhaps, “real obvious” being the determinative factor.
 

Everything advised above is another way of saying : “Love it as it is” for a few years . You might find automotive nirvana, and end up to just “Love it as it is”. Just like gramps did. Or , then again, you could spend years learning how, and how not to, mess with your first antique car. Teach the kids or grandkids by example. Whole lot in this world of tears and toil could be improved if people learned to love things as they are. Since this is your first antiquity, let it keep its “soul” for a while, until you can tell us all what a cars soul is. Yes, you can get in over your head real fast or slow, but I am standing here to tell you, you , an admitted newbie, sure will be eventually. You get to a point where you realize that this is going to have to be an all or none proposition. NO ! You don’t need to spend years of time learning on “gramps” here. You say you are not a skillful body and paint man yet ? Not yet ? Enjoy “Gramps” with your family while it still is a running vehicle, and not a lifeless project waiting for you to put in yet another evening, weekend, or year trying to continue your education, or having to find another part. In the meantime, find and buy a local beater to make your mistakes on first. If you are dead set on turning a natural beauty into another anonymous shiny pilgrim, eternally and fruitlessly trying to capture its irretrievably lost soul, no hurry. If this doesn’t make any sense to you at this point, hold hammer, wrench and torch until it does. Once you destroy the originality of any antique, be it car, furniture or a beautifully patinated ”Gramps” clock, YOU LOSE !

 

I would love to post a picture of the never re-shellacked German Silver inlayed wood instrument panel of my 1927 Cadillac. If you think for a nanosecond that refinishing that thing to its astonishing shiny

level of beauty it had the day it was fitted, if you think that such an “improvement “ would enhance this vehicle rather than diminish it, we still have some talking to do.

 

Your car, your call. I’m all done in for the moment. Right now , I think I will go and do what Louis Armstrong told Velma Middleton what he was going to do : “I’m gonna grab me a picket off some body’s fence”.   -   CC

 

 

044E7A4D-A40D-4B72-B966-10694C7F6A67.jpeg

Edited by C Carl
Clarification (see edit history)
  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
9 hours ago, C Carl said:

Everything advised above is another way of saying : “Love it as it is” for a few years . You might find automotive nirvana, and end up to just “Love it as it is”. Just like gramps did. Or , then again, you could spend years learning how, and how not to, mess with your first antique car.

 

I agree completely with this summary.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I havent come across a single publication that spells out the restoration process. I would suggest joining a forum specific to your truck, I am sure one exists. Become a member of the AACA, stay on this forum, and glean any information possible.  I subscribe to a few old car related magazines but that is mostly for my reading enjoyment, there isnt much info there regarding restorations. If you are handy you should be able to do the job yourself with great success. I spent years building furniture, dabbled in antique motorcycles then one day decided I wanted a challenge and bought an old car that needed restored.  I didnt have much into the buy in price and figured I had nothing to lose. I learned to weld along the way, I had a bit of knowledge with body work but learned  more of that as I went along. I have sprayed miles of cabinets with lacquer so I knew the basics of a spray gun, just had never painted a car. In the end it turned out pretty good if I say so myself. I suppose my point is there is a bit of prejudice that a car cannot be restored in a home garage to a high level, but I disagree. If you want to, you can do it. 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Be aware of a condition I call 'Expanding Horizons'.  Thats what happens when you have the project in front of you and you develop a plan on what you want to do.  Once you take things apart then you can see more work you want to get done while you are right there, I guarantee once you take that extra step you'll see even more things you could do.  Thats 'Expanding Horizons' you couldn't see that extra work until you got to to a certain point. The real problem when you get Expanding Horizons is that, now, the project is dictating to you.  It means the project now has control over you.  Bad juju that if you paying somebody else to do the work.  

Like you decide to replace the brakes shoes and rent a hub puller, when mounting the puller you decide you could use some new wheel studs, you pull the brake drums and the wheel cylinder has a leak and needs replacing, the backing plate is cruddy so you pull it to clean, in that process you see the emg brake cables are in bad shape so you check the restoration catalog and decide it's time to replace all the hardware right up to the emg brake handle up in the cab, now you've got some brand new bright shiney parts and you are now officially hooked, there'll be no stopping point after that.  When you thought to replace the brake shoes you couldn't see far enough to predict what would happen.  The guy you put in charge of doing your truck has to have enough experience to control these situations and act in your best interests.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
19 hours ago, Roger Walling said:

 The angle braces on the rear body to the bumper indicates that the rear post are rotted away, enough so that the tail gate would not close securely.

 The running board to the front and rear fenders is another place that rots where the two meet.

 I actually like the patina which could be protected with a coat of trans fluid mixed with WD40. (75% WD40)

 

 Any voids in the body can be protected with the same mixture after they are blown out with air and dried out.

The braces could be just to protect the lights when backing up. My father would do this on all the trucks and trailers. That bumper is a familiar style modification of the 50s & 60s.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
15 minutes ago, 28 Chrysler said:

The braces could be....

Yes, Texas trucks often have beefed up rear bumpers.  When you look at newer trucks in Texas from the 60s through late 80s, when rear bumpers were still a factory option,  New truck dealers often put on what is called "Texas Bumpers" which often had the dealers name boldly stamped in as adverting.  The 60s ones wrapped around forward and were bolted to the rear fenders or rear quarters on Fleetsides.  The 70s/80s ones are not straight across on the lower edge, they taper upwards to each side of the bumper, and these are somewhat in demand as used bumpers for resale.

 

"regional history" 

 

.

Link to post
Share on other sites

That's a truck begging to be left alone! After you go thru the mechanical/safety/ tune up take the advice offered here and just drive it. As suggested wipe the exterior exposed metal with  a WD 40 mix, spray the chassis with a couple of cans of Rust Check and enjoy the ride. There's lots of trucking companies that will bring it to you, eliminating any border hassle for you.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks again for all the great advice and recommendations.  I did get a quote to move the truck last week.  At $6,200 just to get it to Alaska, I suspect I'll move it myself.  At least it is presently resting in a fenced backyard. Still, frustrating while I wait.

Link to post
Share on other sites
13 minutes ago, Craig From Alaska said:

  At least it is presently resting in a fenced backyard. Still, frustrating while I wait.

Ya, 6200 is a pricey number, but fenced in it'll be safe 'till you get here. Rest easy.....😌

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
×
×
  • Create New...