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Restoration Recommendations in Northern Virginia


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Greetings fellow antique car lovers!  I am looking for restoration recommendations in the Northern Virginia area.  I am aware of White Post Restorations and the fine work they do but wonder if my pockets are deep enough.  But as the saying goes: you get what you pay for.  

 

Any other recommendations or comments on White Post would be greatly appreciated.  I own a 1929 Chrysler 75.  Originally my plan was to do as much of the work myself, learning as I go.  But 10 years have passed and I really want to get this beautiful car back on the road where she belongs.  

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6 minutes ago, alsancle said:

I know this is not what you are asking for, but sell what you have for whatever you can get and buy a finished car.  You can thank me later.

I would agree.  That aside, Early American Auto Repair, Bill Anderson, Google, if can’t find message me…Berryville Va.  

 

 

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22 minutes ago, alsancle said:

I know this is not what you are asking for, but sell what you have for whatever you can get and buy a finished car.  You can thank me later.

I appreciate honesty.  But this one's a keeper.  

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I have to agree with the views of the two responders so far. I have been collecting and restoring cars and motorcycles (and a few antique aircraft) for 30 years now. I always looked to find complete cars that had never been molested. At one time I had 22 cars lined up to restore. But I sold them all except for a 1926 Buick Master Brougham that was all original and a great candidate for restoration. Had it waiting for 10 years, and was very attached to that car. But along the way I bought restored cars, and that started to change my mind. One was a 1927 LaSalle, a real beauty. Another a 1930 Auburn, and still another a Hupmobile  1925 E Model with a straight 8 Lycoming, engine a rag top touring car. I loved driving them all. Recently sold the '26 Buick and 6 Moto Guzzi motorcycles in the lineup. Waited a while and then I bought a 1937 Packard Business coupe that is a restored gem. I am very satisfied now.  If you have had the Chrysler for 10 years, it is time to move on.

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14 minutes ago, trimacar said:

I would agree.  That aside, Early American Auto Repair, Bill Anderson, Google, if can’t find message me…Berryville Va.  

 

 

Thanks!  I saw one of your replies regarding White Post that you used to work there and know of other former employees now operating their own businesses.  Any more you recommend would be very helpful.  

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1 hour ago, 1929 Le Mans said:

Thanks!  I saw one of your replies regarding White Post that you used to work there and know of other former employees now operating their own businesses.  Any more you recommend would be very helpful.  

White Post is still a good option, albeit long wait and expensive.  I visit there often and employees are excellent. Billy Ray, the grandson of Billy Thompson, likes cars and is helpful.  WR, the son, is mainly involved in the brake cylinder side of the business.

 

Bill at Early American is not an alumni of the “Thompson Institute of Restoration”, his late father Karl and he have been working on cars for years, highly recommended, but there’s a wait there too.

 

My good friend Rob Burchill in Burkettesville, Maryland, does excellent work, not sure if he’d take on a ground up restoration. He’s on the forum, Hattie’s Garage, or message me for contact info…

 

The good shops are busy. Restoration, when one pays someone else by the hour, is expensive.  If I can help in any way let me know…dc

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1 hour ago, 1929 Le Mans said:

Leland Davis,

Thanks for your input.  The car was my father's so parting with it is not an option.  


I was going to add the “unless it has tremendous sentimental value” to my comments.

 

Still, be prepared to be shocked by the costs.

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To paraphrase one of my all time favorite quotes (by Red Adair):

"If you think it's expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until it's done by an amateur."

Edited by TTR (see edit history)
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If you were thinking of asking for a "driver quality " restoration, the restoration shop will not know what you mean as every ones definition is going to be different.  Any shop that is going to do a good job for you will be going all the way and will be charging you accordingly.  You are going to need pretty deep pockets any way you look at it.  That is why others have been advising you to buy one already restored.  When you are inspecting an already restored car you can be as picky as you want to about certain things and you can let other things slide a little.  Doing this will leave you in a lot better financial position.  At the same time if you have a car that you really want restored you can do that also.  I am currently having a car restored that will be a large drain on my pocketbook, but I am aware of that and know I will never get my money out of the car.

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36 minutes ago, nickelroadster said:

If you were thinking of asking for a "driver quality " restoration, the restoration shop will not know what you mean as every ones definition is going to be different. 

Oh how true! This is a very difficult road to follow, even in just getting a daily driver painted. I consoled many a person with a MAACO paint job, complaining of all the faults, and I told them it looked just fine for the price they paid! Communication is key to happy vendor / customer relations. Communication what something will  look like is hard!😉

 

 

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I had occasion to visit White Post Restorations last year. From what I saw their reputation for top restorations is well earned. From their perspective the cars they restore are their advertisements. If you take your car there for painting expect a superior quality job over a body that has been stripped and all perfections dealt with before painting. I saw a 1965 Mustang there that had a $20K paint job. The paint quality was certainly superior to what the car had when it exited the Ford factory.

When you buy a White Post restoration you are paying for the best, one that no corners will be cut to complete. Quality at this level comes at a high price.

Lew Bachman

1957 Thunderbird

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1 hour ago, richasco said:

How about posting some pictures, if everyone can see what you are starting with you will get better advice.

 

Good idea!  I was thinking of that also.

And what body style (sedan, coupe, etc.) does it

have?

 

If the car is already decent looking, it would be

fine to keep it as a worn but all-original car.

Original cars are much appreciated these days.

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8 hours ago, 1957Birdman said:

I had occasion to visit White Post Restorations last year. From what I saw their reputation for top restorations is well earned. From their perspective the cars they restore are their advertisements. If you take your car there for painting expect a superior quality job over a body that has been stripped and all perfections dealt with before painting. I saw a 1965 Mustang there that had a $20K paint job. The paint quality was certainly superior to what the car had when it exited the Ford factory.

When you buy a White Post restoration you are paying for the best, one that no corners will be cut to complete. Quality at this level comes at a high price.

Lew Bachman

1957 Thunderbird

 

As I beat the same drum, that 20k paint job must have been on a very nice rust free car. 

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The price of a well-done restoration can vary

because of the labor rate.  For example:  White

Post Restorations was, several years ago, $100

an hour;  then they lowered their rate after the

main man passed on.

 

Other places doing excellent work, such as some

in less-developed Pennsylvania, charge $50 or

$60 an hour for the same high quality.  That can

make a big difference.

 

The statement "You get what you pay for" doesn't

mean you automatically do.  And certainly not when

different geographies are involved.

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Photos of your car will help answer you question, also you need to give us more information as well. What have you accomplished in the decade you have had/have been working on the car?  What level do you want your beautiful car to achieve- a national first prize? excellent looking and to use reliably on tours?

My advice is to have the car totally sorted mechanically, new tires , , fuel system out , cleaned and put back, same for cooling system, new wiring etc . Once you have something you can drive then you may be able to go after the cosmetic aspect in stages ( plating or upholstery one year, paint later , or in stages with fenders the last part)

This forums is loaded with people seeking advice and giving those of us who have done chassis up restorations of every aspect of a car ( be that 40 years ago or now) little to go on, other then "I love this car, its mine, and I want it restored".

This is not a put down by any means but reality has or is beginning to set in, that to give a car to a reputable shop and say "do it" will see many many pieces of paper with deceased President's images disappear faster then you can supply them.

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14 hours ago, trimacar said:

I would agree.  That aside, Early American Auto Repair, Bill Anderson, Google, if can’t find message me…Berryville Va.  

 

 

Just checked their website.  It might be impressive but is currently plagued with an insistent pop up about the cross country corvette trip.  Is this your website Trimacar or Bill Andersons?

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1 hour ago, alsancle said:

 

As I beat the same drum, that 20k paint job must have been on a very nice rust free car. 

Or doesn’t take into account of getting it to that point…

… nor any of the countless hours and tasks, including reassembly, etc after the paint work was done.

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1 hour ago, alsancle said:

 

As I beat the same drum, that 20k paint job must have been on a very nice rust free car. 

 

Correctly done paint is not inexpensive. A paint job is 90% labor, and quality materials cost me $1000 - $1500. Do the math. That does not include rust repair or significant body work. This is why I do all my own work.

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44 minutes ago, TTR said:

Or doesn’t take into account of getting it to that point…

… nor any of the countless hours and tasks, including reassembly, etc after the paint work was done.


Last car I painted the materials were 7500.  It eye wateringly expensive.

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1 hour ago, kgreen said:

Just checked their website.  It might be impressive but is currently plagued with an insistent pop up about the cross country corvette trip.  Is this your website Trimacar or Bill Andersons?

Bill Anderson’s, not mine.

 

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1 hour ago, Walt G said:

Photos of your car will help answer you question, also you need to give us more information as well. What have you accomplished in the decade you have had/have been working on the car?  What level do you want your beautiful car to achieve- a national first prize? excellent looking and to use reliably on tours?

My advice is to have the car totally sorted mechanically, new tires , , fuel system out , cleaned and put back, same for cooling system, new wiring etc . Once you have something you can drive then you may be able to go after the cosmetic aspect in stages ( plating or upholstery one year, paint later , or in stages with fenders the last part)

This forums is loaded with people seeking advice and giving those of us who have done chassis up restorations of every aspect of a car ( be that 40 years ago or now) little to go on, other then "I love this car, its mine, and I want it restored".

This is not a put down by any means but reality has or is beginning to set in, that to give a car to a reputable shop and say "do it" will see many many pieces of paper with deceased President's images disappear faster then you can supply them.

 

Thank you all for your interest and advice.  This was the first photo I could find on my phone (with my baby girl).  75 Roadster right hand drive.  My dad stopped driving the car when the steering and wheels started getting the Death Wobble, that was decades ago. I had a mechanic friend come by and we got the motor to turn over but the carburetor is broken and the fuel in the tank has been in there for a couple of decades, so we didn't push too hard to get her running.  Unfortunately my friend moved and I have been too busy to continue work (3 kids under 7).  

 

My goal is to start with a partial restoration to get it in good, safe, and reliable driving order.  Paint/chrome/interior and other aesthetic stuff will come later.  The car is almost 100% complete.  But there are some unoriginal parts (steering wheel, carburetor).  Thankfully she has been garage kept with no rust.  I am not looking for a show car.  Just a reliable driver.  So I agree with having the car "totally sorted mechanically."  

 

Keep the comments coming.  This is all very beneficial.   

 

20210623_095450.jpg

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If my dad had owned and left me that car, I wouldn’t sell it either.   Knowing the family history will change most guys minds who responded earlier.   
 

first, what a great car. This era of roadsters is my favorite.  You will always think of your dad when you are behind the wheel. 
 

second,  be methodical and write up your recipe....  how mechanical are you, do you have any buddies who have the skill set to help you?

 

go through each system without skipping, there are several lists out there, I won’t repeat them but drain all oil, clean pickup screen and filter,  new oil, flush and clean cooling system, new coolant, does it turn?  Anything leaking? New battery, clean carburetor and start with a nurse tank with clean gas.  I bet it will run if it was taken off the road for steering and suspension issues.  Get someone to help you and follow your list. However, Be Realistic. It’s been 10 years and you haven’t gotten to this project.  If you don’t want to do this (or don’t have the skill or time), get a resource from here to have someone pick it up and do these things to get it running reliably. Pay them and move forward. 
 

tell them you don’t want it restored and Don’t Take It Apart!

 

Once running, spend time cleaning everything and learning about it.   
 

address the reasons why it was wobbling 10 years ago.  Get new tires on it, make sure the brakes are sorted out and then see if it could meet your expectations with nothing more than a good detailing. 
 

keep us informed. Lots of fans on this site for your family’s wonderful car. 

Edited by John Bloom (see edit history)
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How much time do you have to work on it? With the three little kids I can appreciate your lack of time and also lack of $ since that gets spent on family needs.  I taught kids ages 5 to 12 for nearly 40 years and had my own so know the commitment you have to both your family and the heritage of that car which is apart of your family's history.  Perhaps the first task that you can do is spray lube on all the nuts and bolts of the chassis and engine you can get to. let it sit and then try to see if you can loosen, if not spray more.

Drop the gas tank which is held by two metal straps at the rear. Dirty job but not something that will take two solid weeks to do. Once down take to a radiator shop and have boiled out. then inspect for any issues. Remove the gas sending unit before it goes to be boiled out. Look for and read other threads on step by step things you can do in short spans of time that will bring the car closer to being on the road and not cost you a lot of $. Cosmetics care will come way later after you have a reliable running platform! It can be done! even if only 3 nights a week, and hour at a time, late at night after the kids are in bed.

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3 hours ago, alsancle said:


Last car I painted the materials were 7500.  It eye wateringly expensive.

I've probably mentioned it before and others here with actual (hands-on) experiences can probably attest that to achieve full restoration, concours/show quality paint job will likely require minimum of several hundred hours labor (from metal finished shell to ready for reassembly), regardless of make or model of the car in question, i.e, not much difference between a '64 Falcon Sedan (valued at maybe $10K-$20K ?) or '64 250 GTO (valued at above $50M ?), but larger, more complex vehicles, be it a pre-war Duesenberg/P-A/R-R/etc Town Car, a '59 Imperial Ghia Limo or a '73 Oldsmobile STW will all obviously require more labor time + materials (= more $$$'s) than either of those smaller/simpler examples from '64. 

 

Yet an owner of a 250 GTO probably won't bat an eye if the re-paint with color change for his car ends up costing high 5 figures (or more) while the '73 Olds owner wouldn't understand if he/she was quoted twice the price of that for Ferrari half its size or complexity for same quality outcome/workmanship.

Edited by TTR (see edit history)
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Three kids under seven!  Restoration cost or three college education cost. Same difference!   Tough decision time. 
Get it running, drive the wheels off of it and have a ball. You can pass it on to kids or sell it to pay for their bills. 
dave s 

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I was in the same position as you for years, now work wants all my time...

 

Pick one project to concentrate on.  I would find a carburetor, rebuild it, get it installed may need an adaptor?  (I would ask Jon AKA "Carb King" what to use)  I use an old lawn mower gas tank and gravity to feed it, get her running again.  Just pick one project to focus on.  I would send out the gas tank to be cleaned and sealed, another project.  Brakes another project.  It might take a coupe years but it will go fast.  With a little perseverance, she will be running and driving in time for prom.

 

     image.png.dd3c93d5768e3569b406a44542e1726f.png   image.png.68df72226f8b478dfa2e42fc886565f9.png

 

My kids in 2008, my Grandfathers kids in 1936, my Mom is not on the picture, she was not born yet.  Same car

 

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16 hours ago, West Peterson said:

Vintage Motorcars in West Virginia is close. And very good at what they do.

 

West, for our reference, can you give the location

and phone number of Vintage Motorcars?  My search

on Google returned a few companies by that name,

but none in West Virginia.

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1 minute ago, John_S_in_Penna said:

 

West, for our reference, can you give the location

and phone number of Vintage Motorcars?  My search

on Google returned a few companies by that name,

but none in West Virginia.

 

Sure

Vintage Motorcar Company

304-821-1326

VintageMotorcarCo.com

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