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Discussion Starter #1
Hi All,

Posting this for my bro who's got a 68 GTO he looking to get painted. Some minor surface rust on the hood and trunk, quarters, fenders, trunk, frame and floorpans solid. Is it normal for a body shop to only quote time plus materials without a ballpark of cost?

Any help most appreciated. Thanks.
 

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I don't know what's normal, but I can tell you as having painted my own car - that the vast majority of the cost involved is just sheer time/labor. Spraying the material is the quickest and easiest part of the whole job.

Bear
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks Bear. I get nervous as the guy chose will not provide any numbers or timeframe. I had an old car painted years ago and it was a 3300 quote and done for that price ( as I said, years ago :)). Seems like a reputable shop but I'd hate to see my bro into this way over his head.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I would think that any good body shop can assess a car and provide a ballpark figure on what the cost would be to repair and paint, of course with the understanding that rust and metal work would increase the cost. We've talked to 4 restorations shops, none would provide an estimate.....time and material only. Which means 15k up to 30k? Not sure if this is common practice.
 

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I would say keep looking for another shop. I wouldn't do it if they are not going to commit in writing an estimate or cost and timeline. I know guys who's cars have been at the body shop for 3 years and they still aren't close to being done. If the shop does collision work too, all those jobs go in front of your project.
 

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15-30K is a reasonable ballpark assuming no major rust is found & you keep the same color. Check the BBB for any complaints on the shop, make sure they have been doing business as that name for several years (some switch names because of bad reps) and if possible, get a reference or 2 from others who used them.

Keep in mind other costs quickly creep in like door and trunk weather striping, re-chroming trim etc.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
That's exactly what I needed to know. We've already done the background work on the shop and they seem pretty solid. He already bought all trim, weatherstrip, bumper, etc so now he is just having the body done. They're going do disassemble down to the quarters, paint and reassemble. Hopefully comes in at 15K but until they blast, all bets are off. Thanks for the info, all. Much appreciated.
 

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I've been in the restoration biz for 43 years. In today's market with cars this old there's no way I'd quote a fixed price. If I did you can bet I'd cover my back side with a heavy (worst case) quote, and that way I make proper $$$$$ when it goes south. They usually do go bad once you're hip deep into it. These cars have been in the hands of owners and shops that might not have had the respect for the cars that they deserve. I don't do too many muscle car restorations as I'm quite busy with heavy American Classics like Packards and Duesenbergs. My clients also enjoy something approaching 150 significant and provenance making awards from their respective peers/clubs. The average quality refinish of a well restored and properly fitted muscle car body runs about 180-200 hrs alone. That's block, paint (as a complete assembly in some cases), and full cut and polish, ready for final assembly. If the client wants a truly exact OEM finish (it can be done) that can add another 25-40 hrs depending upon the color/finish. Sheet metal repairs (panel replacement, floors, braces, etc) can't go by any form of "book price" from the past. Most replacement body panels are so far off that clients that I'm used to serving wouldn't accept it at any price. That additional labor to make right isn't on the shop doing the work as it's not us that made those crummy panels, but it's on us to make it right.

At the end of the day you get what you pay for. Some of my work that's over 20 yrs old still scores perfect or nearly perfect (99.5 recently). It's that longevity of the work which is the big intangible value and can only be assured by reputation and, most important, mutual trust. Maybe this helps, maybe not, but going with a known and respected value up front is the best value there is. Value vs price. Which means the most?
 

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Here is what I found in the California Bay Area

Media blast a car - about 800 to 1200. If you can find someone who will do it with glass.

Bodywork per hour is between 80 and 100 out here. That is a guy with 10 years experience.

A basketball size dent that is not wrinkled is about .7 hours.

A winkle on an edge upto 3cm is like 2 hours of work. That is welding pins in and pulling it then hammer and dolley.

9 square inches of rust repair that require welding is like 3 hours of work. Add .5 for each edge that needs to be folded.

Strip a car of external hardware. 6 hours.

Block sanding a car 12 to 15 hours

Wet sanding and buffing a car 5 hours to 7 hours

Paint and primer would not be much more than 500 dollars.

Each coat of a car about 1 hour. Usually 3 coats are done. 4 with a clear coat.

Now there are a few things I did differently. I actually liked a body shop that did insurance work because most of those companies are required to provide lifetime warrrante on the cars done under insurance repairs.
 

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BTW - I spent 12.5 on my 67 Camaro.

Now I stripped the car clean. No interior, No motor, No glass.

I had the car media blasted at Meyers with Glass and it was an even 1000.

That opened up a ton of worms

Bottom rear window channel was cut out and replaced. That was a replacement pannel that was precut. I think that was 4 hours.

my pans and trunk were ok. I had very very little rust on the car.

It included painting the engine bay, under hood, door jambs and inside the trunk.

Interior was painted black.

reinstalled all the pannels, doors and did the gaps. door locks were put in by body shop. Took car home and pulled fender and front end off to put engine back in and the body shop put the fenders back on and aligned them.

I installed the windows, bumpers, trim, trim tags and interior.

I got 3 coats of Roman Red and 2 coats of clear coat. Got a wet sand as well.

I had no hockey or ralley stripes put on. 1 color on the outside and dash was painted black.

He gave me a 15 year warente on it.

I found the guy because he did the OEM work on my wife's Lexus. I was extreemly happy with the end result. I will have him do my GTO when I figure out exactly what I am going to do with it.
 

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The shop should be able to give you an approximate high/low ballpark figure. On the estimates I got from 2 high end shops for my 68, they both said 3 to 4 weeks work, at $$ per week, and approx. $1,000 in supplies. none of this was firm, but both said it would be a fairly accurate guess. In my case it was $4,500-7,500. I already have the car stripped, epoxy primered, all metal work done, ready for final prep work, jamming, and painting. Just waiting now for the call.....
 

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You should DEFINITELY be able to get a ballpark quote, but it will come with stipulations that if they find anything questionable labor time will increase. DO NOT drop off a car to a shop thats just saying "time and materials" , that gives them a blank check and no incentive to finish car. You need to do some research on paint shops in your area and find the one with the best reputation of providing a good product at a fair price. These days it is very easy with social media to find the good and bad shops.This shop may be more expensive but down the road it will be worth it. That being said you can pay anywhere from 5k-30k on a paint job, depending on what part of the country your in.
 

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Just for an example we bought new fenders, door shells, goat hood, goat tail panel and new windshield channel metal for a 66 Tempest for $2,790 shipped to my door. $3000 in block work and lining it all up and $1000 in primer/paint/clear with my SW discount. $8000 gets these cars REAL nice. $30k for some?! Id rather buy three $10k hot rods than pay $30k to paint one... Dont go crazy... Hell there is an absolutely immaculate '65 4 speed car for sale in my area for $28k right now. Complete car!
 

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Discussion Starter #15
So my bro just got bill# 3. He's into this for 16k with another 5k due for future work. For 16k he's got full disassembly, media blasting (no significant rust noted, the restorer said this fall in the top 10% as far as condition post media), primed and sealed, now block sanding the quarters (no rust, just height and low spots). Looks like that they put in 34 hours on the right quarter and part of the roof and 9.5 on the left quarter. Seems excessive.....thoughts?
 

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So my bro just got bill# 3. He's into this for 16k with another 5k due for future work. For 16k he's got full disassembly, media blasting (no significant rust noted, the restorer said this fall in the top 10% as far as condition post media), primed and sealed, now block sanding the quarters (no rust, just height and low spots). Looks like that they put in 34 hours on the right quarter and part of the roof and 9.5 on the left quarter. Seems excessive.....thoughts?

Excessive is a relative term. How do you define "excessive?" My opinion. Never give any shop the ability to dip into an open wallet. If they are any good and have been doing this as their mainstay, they should be able to break down all the work into specific groups, ie, disassemble frame, blast/strip frame, prime, paint, re-assemble; strip/prep/prime/block quarter for final paint, etc.. Good thing you have no rust repairs - I could only image that price tag.

Here is also where the owner can save - having the ability to disassemble/reassemble some of the items himself and doing some of the "grunt" work.

With 34 hours into a single quarter that did not need any repair work, I'd say what he is going for is a concours perfect body and paint job. You said he will be done for another 5K so not unreasonable (21K) if its ready to drive out of the shop fully assembled & painted. With the body as fine as it is going to be, I hope the rest of the car is up to task with every other nut/bolt, engine, interior, glass, chrome, etc. as perfect as if it rolled off the showroom floor.

I see a lot of money invested that you may never recoup should you ever sell - but if you keep it a lifetime, keep it in pristine condition, have it fully insured, then the expense could be justified over a lifetime and it'll be something to enjoy - again, excessive becomes a relative term.

I would never restore/rebuild a car without a firm estimate range anymore than I would build a home without a set price range. I don't know what you paid for the car or its mechanical condition, but you have 16K plus 5 K to go for 21K (assume this means your car is completed and handed over to you as a driver?). Sometimes cheaper to purchase a car already done in the price range you will be topping.
 

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So my bro just got bill# 3. He's into this for 16k with another 5k due for future work. For 16k he's got full disassembly, media blasting (no significant rust noted, the restorer said this fall in the top 10% as far as condition post media), primed and sealed, now block sanding the quarters (no rust, just height and low spots). Looks like that they put in 34 hours on the right quarter and part of the roof and 9.5 on the left quarter. Seems excessive.....thoughts?
Impossible to judge without seeing the car and knowing exactly what it needed, but - speaking as someone who did all of my own paint and body work myself, and therefore gaining an understanding of how much labor is really involved - No, it's not the least bit excessive for a top tier high quality result.

Bear
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Thanks PontiacJim and Bear. Just to be clear, the 21k (16 plus additional 5) will most likely not be the end. At this point, still needs fenders, hood, trunk lid, glass,plus full reassembly and paint. Unfortunately, the car was meant to be a driver and was communicated to the restoration shop and will be reiterated. I told my bro not to cut the 5k check until the restoration shop can provide a number now that the media blasting was done and no rust exists.
 

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Thanks PontiacJim and Bear. Just to be clear, the 21k (16 plus additional 5) will most likely not be the end. At this point, still needs fenders, hood, trunk lid, glass,plus full reassembly and paint. Unfortunately, the car was meant to be a driver and was communicated to the restoration shop and will be reiterated. I told my bro not to cut the 5k check until the restoration shop can provide a number now that the media blasting was done and no rust exists.
Ouch! Feeling your pain, but at what price does this guy stop??? I might at this point get a quote, and a firm one, for putting the car in primer and together. I hate to see him get it in primer then hit you up for another 5-8K to paint a color coat.
 
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