Frequently Asked Questions
We encourage our visitors to ask questions.
Knowledge is what sets us apart from the rest. An informed consumer will understand which questions to ask and the answers to look for. The more informed a consumer is when selecting a shop to begin a restoration project, the happier they will be in the end.
If you have a question that is not listed below, feel free to contact us using the quick contact form provided at the bottom of the page.
● How long does it take to complete a project?
● Can you finish a car or project that was started at another shop?
● How much will it cost?
● Can you paint over an existing paint job?
● I want to save on cost, are there things I can do myself?
How long does it take to complete a project?
There is no direct answer to this question but unlike what you'll see on TV, it will certainly take longer than a week to restore a car. What most people don't realize is that on shows like "Over-Haulin", there are usually over a dozen guys working in the shop, night and day, for over six days. They may put in over 2000 hours per project, with new parts magically appearing from other vendors. This is what you call "power in numbers" and "proper planning"!
There are many factors to take into account but here are a few to consider:
● Is your car a popular model and are there a lot of the replacement parts for it? (A popular car is one where there are a lot of people restoring that particular model - which in turn creates a demand for parts.)
● Are the replacement parts of good quality? Most of the replacement parts for American Cars made today are sadly, made overseas or in Canada. Some of these parts are decent, some are not even close to fitting on a vintage automobile. Sometimes it is easier to repair or remake the part than it is to try and make the replacement part fit.
● What make is your car? Ford, GM, Dodge, VW, Porsche, Mercedes, etc. All cars are built differently, and some may take longer to repair than others. Fords seem to have more double panels and braces. Early Ford models also use a harder steel when compared to a Dodge or Chevrolet. Porsches and Volkeswagans seem to have a softer, thinner steel with smaller spot welds.
● Is your car a Convertible, Hardtop, Coupe, or Sedan? A Cadillac Convertible compared to a Hardtop has far less surface area that needs to be primed and blocked multiple times. The convertible may also have less roof area to rot out but it will usually have badly damaged floors as well as more complex braces that need to be fabricated to hold the car together. Consequently, this may require major fabrication or panel replacement that would not have been needed for a hardtop.
● In what era was your car built? Pre-war cars are made with thicker steel and most of them are actually "over built." Some of these cars may have wood framework inside which is often rotted out and needs to be replaced. After the war, mass production was in full swing and by the mid 50's hand-built cars were almost fully a thing of the past. With factory assembly lines and mass production, some replacement parts are much easier to obtain for these later models.
● Do you want your restoration to be completely original or have custom features? Custom craftsmanship always takes time and it becomes difficult to determine how long some projects will take.
Communication at each step of the process is the key to customer satisfaction. Think about taking every little piece off your car, clean and detail each part, paint or polish each part, then put each and every part back on the car. It can take a while to do it right. If the job is rushed and corners are cut, it won't be long before all of your problems are back and that spot of rust may be worse than before. If it is a project you intend to keep, it is cheaper to do it the right way one time, then to do it over and over again.
Can you finish a car or project that was started at another shop?
Although we prefer to do the project from start to finish, we are willing to finish a project started at another shop. HOWEVER, we cannot warranty the work that has already been done and we will not just cover mistakes that surface during the restoration process. Our reputation is that of a shop that will ensure you have the best possible restoration. Therefore, if we find that the car was done incorrectly, we will not finish the work unless you are willing to make the repairs needed to do it right. We will work with you and document the repairs that were done incorrectly as sometimes it may be possible to recoup money back from a shop that didn't do the work to the highest standard. Just be aware that this may take more time and possibly more money than you originally intended to spend.
How much will it cost?
This is the question everyone wants to know. The brutal truth is that a proper restoration is expensive. Restoring a car is not for everyone, and with the exception of a handful of high-end cars, it is often cheaper to buy a car that has already been restored rather than have one done. Why does it cost so much? Sometimes the real damage can be hidden under the surface- so it's really hard to tell what needs to be fixed from a brief look. For instance, I have seen everything, from rockers molded with paper mache, to screws sticking through the body to hold the polyester filler on, to metal shaving mixed into the filler (so if someone took a magnet to the car, they would think it was a solid, rust free car). Some people go to great lengths to hide damage so you really never know what you will find. We understand that you may want to hear a set price to make a budget for their restoration project and we will try to give you a rough estimate of the repairs but everything will be based on what we see at that point. This is the most honest approach we can take.
If a shop gives you a set price, one of two things usually happens:
● A shop will give you a lowball price to get you in the door. This price is based either off lack of experience or was done intentionally. They will then take the project completely apart only to find out it is far worse than they imagined, or originally told you. They will call you and go over all the details of what they found. At this point you are looking at your car in pieces and there is no backing out. You have to commit to trying to finish the restoration and just hope it does not get any worse.
● More often than not, a shop will give you a price and begin to take it apart. Once everything is apart and visible, they realize there is no way to finish the car correctly with the current budget. They will not call you because they dont want you to potentially back out. They use every trick in the book to paste your project back together and stay under budget. You pick up the car when they are done and they paint looks shiny and new. There are many ways to describe this style of work, but in short: "some putty and paint made it something it ain't." It now becomes only a matter of time before things start to show through.
So why would anyone restore a car? For some, that car has a sentimental value and it cannot be replaced. For others, it is a hobby that they enjoy working on (whether they are doing it themselves or signing the check to pay someone to complete the job). Either way, they have the satisfaction of turning the key and driving the car of their dreams. A lot of true car enthusiasts wanting to restore a car have been down the road of buying a "Resale Restoration" and want to know that the car they are currently having restored is being done properly. We will do the highest quality work to ensure that your car will last for years to come.
If you would like a rough estimate of how much it might cost you to have your vehicle restored, check out our
Automotive Restoration Cost Calculator
Can you paint over an existing paint job?
Yes, we can paint over an existing paint job - but we won't.
Why: We strive to achieve a paint job that will not only look good, but last for years to come. Therefore, every vehicle that comes in is stripped of all paint to ensure that we have the full view of any and all damage. There have been too many times when we've stripped a car and found areas that would have turned into horrible problems later on.
Beauty can sometimes only be paint-deep - but true quality can be both beautiful and long-lasting.
I want to save on cost, are there things I can do myself?
If you feel that there are things you would like to do, we understand and we will work with you. However, ask yourself how mechanically inclined you are. For example, when a car is disassembled for restoration, remember that the car may not be put back together for several weeks or months. Can you remember how everything goes? It is sad to say, but it happens all the time: Someone begins a restoration, takes a car apart and then cannot get it back together. Most times, the car is then either sold "as is" or taken to a shop where hours are spent sorting through jumbled, unmarked parts with the hope that nothing is lost or damaged in the process. Those hours spent figuring out what someone else has started may end up costing you far more than it would have if the car was taken apart by a professional.