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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hey guys, I'm new to the forum and I need some help coming up with a decision here.

I've always wanted a 69 GTO, and one finally came up for sale in my area yesterday, but it has bad rust issues. It's a complete car but according to the seller, it has "significant rust in the floor/rocker panels to the trunk and in the quarter panels".

I don't have any experience at all working with rust, so I'd have to have someone else do it. I've been told that it will be "extremely expensive" to have this all fixed. What I'm wondering is how much are we talking here?

I would be completely willing to put in the time and effort needed to get this car back on the road, but it'll mainly come down to exactly how expensive this will actually be.

I don't have any pics yet. I'm currently waiting for the seller to send me some more detailed pics and once I get them I'll post them here.

EDIT: Forgot to mention that the seller is asking $4000 OBO for the car.
 

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I would recommend using the money it would take to buy and install new metal in this car plus the initial purchase price and find a GTO in better shape. My rule of thumb is always buy the best car you can afford.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
That's a good rule of thumb to go by. I'm surprised nobody else here has replaced their floor and quarter panels due to rust issues though. I was hoping to talk with someone who has been through this before and what it cost them, how difficult it was and how long it took, etc.
 

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I replaced my trunk floor, quarter panels, and rockers. Basically anything that was covered by chrome trim was completely rusted. I bought the panels, a plasma torch, an air compressor and a welder and went to work. I did everything on my car myself except for the chrome moly roll bar and final assembly of the engine. 6 years later it rolled under its own power.

I say buy the best car you can also because even though replacement sheet metal is available the quality isnt near OEM.
 

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That's a good rule of thumb to go by. I'm surprised nobody else here has replaced their floor and quarter panels due to rust issues though. I was hoping to talk with someone who has been through this before and what it cost them, how difficult it was and how long it took, etc.
DeVaux, Alky gave you some very good advice. Have replaced one 1/4 with nos on two of my keepers, luckily, they are very solid cars, did not have to chase the tin worm. Also have provided nice straight rustfree original sheet metal to many restorers. One of my customers had a rusty '69 4 spd GTO through a very similar process to what you are describing aprox 7 years ago. Proper metal replacement, with PPG products, blocked, he was ready for paint at right under 18k, in metal and bodywork... prices have gone up, though.

Here's a rundown on that '69. Replaced both '69 hardtop 1/4's with full repro's (just came out) replaced outer wheel houses, trunk drops, all done systematically one side at a time. Replaced trunk floor, outer catwalk, properly rebuilt rear window channel with hand formed steel patches, replaced floor pan with pair of high quality full length sides, replaced outer rocker panels, rebuilt front window channel properly with steel. Original fenders worked, quality lower patchs and metal worked. Nice hood to begin with. Nice used TX doors required little work. No rust through, or big dents in roof, no replacement of rear tailpanel, no replacement of rear package shelf, no rust high up in the toe boards...

Today, that's an easy 25K expense, put in epoxy primer and high build, that's if you live in one of the "flyover states" where labor is less, and you can keep a qualified metal man happy, a fellow that has low overhead. Very hard to find them, if you cant do it yourself. I deal with many production type body shops that wont touch such a job. Several shops I've supplied hard to find original sheet metal to for years, won't even paint a full car anymore, even if you bring said car to them on a golden platter.

Unforeseen hidden rust, previous repairs, near impossible to track down quality parts all add to the the bill. Cost Plus is best billing method for shop owner or individual metal/ bodyman. Go in and estimate a job, then find hidden problems that need correcting, and then expect to be held to an estimate, one of two thing happen. Either, corners get cut, :mad2:, or shop/ help does the job right and loses money.
 

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Talk to Mogoat on here about body's shop "jail" too......lots of abandoned projects out there because an over enthusiastic owner got in over their heads or the body shop went belly up.

Not trying to scare you off but for a run of the mill GTO if it's too rusty it is better to find a solid car.

Now if it was a RA IV.......
 

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Thanks guys. I'm glad I found this forum and decided to look for others opinions before getting myself into something I probably couldn't handle by myself.

Sadly I think I'll pass on this one for now. Frustrating because I've been waiting so long for a classic GTO to come up for sale in my area and I got pretty excited when this one popped up on Craigslist yesterday, but I guess patience is a virtue in situations like this.
 

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Talk to Mogoat on here about body's shop "jail" too......lots of abandoned projects out there because an over enthusiastic owner got in over their heads or the body shop went belly up.

Not trying to scare you off but for a run of the mill GTO if it's too rusty it is better to find a solid car.

Now if it was a RA IV.......
^this^

I have read all the horror stories and looked at a lot of overpriced pieced together Bondo queens for over a year looking for a '67 and found a Ca. car that was rust free that the second owner paid 25+ just for paint and interior.
Cosmetically it was a 10, mechanically about a 4 but for the most part it was original and unmolested.
I probably paid too much but I did get the seller to come down 16K.
I did most of the work myself, under the dash was a mess, I rebuilt the steering column, restored the steering wheel and the heater core was leaking so I replaced that and had to source another A/C heater box that someone had cut up with tin snips to remove the core from the inside.
I also had to re glass the plenum which had cracked and became brittle with age.
Both the original and the one I sourced were in bad shape.
Going through the dash was time consuming and would be expensive if you could find someone willing to do it.
The suspension needed everything all new suspension parts and I added boxed trailing arms, Bilstien shocks and upgraded the front drums to disc.
Then there are the incidentals, harnesses, vacuum cans, gaskets, mounts, PHS report, shop manual etc.
I also replaced the J.C Whitney gauges with Greenlines and a retro sound system and speakers since I had the dash apart.
I went through the tranny at my buddy's shop, new pump seals, pump bushing, clutches etc.
These parts were cheap but again not so cheap if you have to have a tranny shop do the work.
All that including going through the rear end and rebuilding the driveshaft is done.
Exhaust and new tank is done, Pypes system and I traded boatwork on an outdrive for the welding.
Then there is the engine it has to be rebuilt if you want it to run on pump gas.
5 new tires and another Rallye II rim for the spare since the 14" rim would only work if I got a flat on the rear.
It is all done now just waiting on the engine from the builder.
I have spent the 16K I talked the guy down so I was pretty close to what I told him it would cost but it would have been a lot more if I had paid to do the work instead of doing most of it myself.
I am just waiting on the engine from the builder so the cost of the car restored bumper to bumper is right at 61K including the Ca. tax and DMV fees.
It will look like it did when it rolled off the line in Fremont in '67 but it cost a bit more than the original price of $4,105.87.
:)

If you can't do the work I would pass on the car and try to find one that is in better shape, finding a shop to do the body work is going to be nearly impossible to find at any price.
I went through this with another vehicle (body shop jail mentioned above) and had to get it back and do the work myself and buy the equipment to do it.
I got ripped off for 4K and 6 months of time (estimate was 4-6 weeks) while it sat outside and I got it back with some of the parts missing I had to source and pay for.
That is why I bought one rust free with all the bodywork, paint and interior finished, I probably saved money in the long run and I got to inspect the work up front.
4K sounds like a good price but if you can't do the lion's share of the work or have a large bankroll I would pass and keep looking, you don't want to have 25K sunk into a project that is half done and nobody willing to finish for you.
 

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Thanks guys. I'm glad I found this forum and decided to look for others opinions before getting myself into something I probably couldn't handle by myself.

Sadly I think I'll pass on this one for now. Frustrating because I've been waiting so long for a classic GTO to come up for sale in my area and I got pretty excited when this one popped up on Craigslist yesterday, but I guess patience is a virtue in situations like this.
Where are you located Deveaux? We have a classifieds section on here post up a wanted ad or maybe another member on here can help you find what you want. If you find a car out of state another forum member might be able to check it out for you also. Do you have a budget? Are you mechanically inclined where you could find a roller or at least something you can drive without doing major body work?

As a side note there is a beautiful Verdoro Green 68 GTO with a green interior on STL Craigstlist that has been there for a while for only $18.5K and I think that is a steal, judging by the ad car is pretty pristine looking. https://stlouis.craigslist.org/cto/5047694882.html "1968 Pontiac gto, great car. Runs/looks good. Has original motor serial number matches paper work. Has hood tach and his/her shifter verdoro green ext. Nice driver. $18,500 obo"

I'd love to see you get your dream GTO, maybe we can help. :cheers
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Where are you located Deveaux? We have a classifieds section on here post up a wanted ad or maybe another member on here can help you find what you want. If you find a car out of state another forum member might be able to check it out for you also. Do you have a budget? Are you mechanically inclined where you could find a roller or at least something you can drive without doing major body work?

As a side note there is a beautiful Verdoro Green 68 GTO with a green interior on STL Craigstlist that has been there for a while for only $18.5K and I think that is a steal, judging by the ad car is pretty pristine looking. https://stlouis.craigslist.org/cto/5047694882.html "1968 Pontiac gto, great car. Runs/looks good. Has original motor serial number matches paper work. Has hood tach and his/her shifter verdoro green ext. Nice driver. $18,500 obo"

I'd love to see you get your dream GTO, maybe we can help. :cheers
I really appreciate it, that's something I'll look into. I'm located in Arizona. That STL GTO is beautiful but way out of my range for now. I was originally looking to get a project GTO and then fixing it up to make it my own, so my budget wasn't set all that high.
I did however finally get some more detailed pictures from the seller who has the previously mentioned GTO with rust issues. It's hard for me to tell how bad this would be from the pictures, but I'm assuming it's pretty bad. I attached a few of the pics. What do you guys think?
 

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Need more pics and those images are too small to tell. I know what you are saying about "making it your own", I'm with you there. Just remember that they made 72,287 GTO's in 1969 alone (how many left though?) there are more out there. Not to mention you live in Arizona? Home of dry, rust free sheet metal and you are looking at a rusty GTO?

This '68 does seem like a good deal though and the owner is even asking obo! So just think about what it would take to bring the GTO you are considering to this condition and the fact that you could enjoy it tomorrow rather than a few years down the road.....
 

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What I'm wondering is how much are we talking here?
I can't tell you what it will cost to do your sheet metal replacements, I did most of my restoration on my 66 and hired 2 experienced body guys to come to my building, use my welder and tools to replace both quarters, the tail panel, the trunk and a small portion of the floor. They were contracted to get the car paint ready.

The labor cost alone was $10,000 and the sheet metal cost was somewhere in the neighborhood of $6 to $8 K.

That doesn't include, rebuilding the engine ($4,000), the interior ($3,000), the transmission ($800), the brakes, frame restoration with new bushings and the diff ($3500) and to seal, prime and paint the car ($6,000)

To have a professional shop do the work can double the above cost. 2 different shops quoted me $60K to do a turn key restoration.

If I had it to do over I would purchase a restored car that needs nothing and I could have saved ten of thousands of dollars. On top of that I was doing the restoration when the economy crashed and you could buy the cars really cheap.

Good luck with your search,
 

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Beign that you are in the southwest, there is absolutely NO reason to buy a rusty car. Rust is the WORST thing that can happen to a car, bar none. Buy as good a car as you can afford and don't be in a hurry. Haste makes waste.
 

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:cool: If you have the time (lots of it), it's doable (but very expensive). There are plenty of videos on YouTube that explain how to do stuff like panel replacement. Overall, restoring an old car is a great experience -- it will give you a real sense of accomplishment (providing you finish the restoration -- my current project is a car that was parked in a garage in 1982, and has gone through five subsequent owners with little or no progress).

Still, the only thing that's better than building them is driving them. Buying the best one you can afford and moving forward from that point is your best bet. The first old car I bought had a great body, but she needed engine/transmission improvements, as well as interior work. Something along those lines might be a way to go for you.
 

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I think we scared him off......:leaving:

Seriously OP, if you are still here, take your time and find the right car for you. To fully restore a car takes time and money but can be a good or bad learning experience. We are just trying to save you some heartache if you buy a basketcase you may never get it back on the road. I drove my 69 home for $1500 after it sat behind a barn for 12 years but it required a frame off restoration with major body panel replacement and a complete overhaul of everything. My resto took 6 years because I did it all myself while working and going to school full time. My wife was nice enough to put a family aside until I finished my car....(thanks babe, I love you!)

And GTO's are relatively "easy" to restore because a lot of the items are reproduced so you may think, "oh, i'll just open the catalog from "X" or "Y" and order what I need, but the fit, finish and quality a lot of times isn't there and/or the price is astronomical so you'll want to find the most complete car you can, and ideally, the most original (says the guy with the Chevy powered GTO:STFU:).
 
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