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$1100 is not cheap paint by any definition, it's paint from a huge corporation that buys out their competitors and ruins the formulations while maintaining their own at thousands of percent mark up. And they have to pay for those free booths they install for shops who sign long term contracts somehow, so everyone else gets to pay for it.

There are lots of small brands out there that make great quality bases at a fraction of what you get from PPG, DuPont, Sikkens, etc. I paid $85/quart for my Prospray Viper Blue base , which isn't a cheap color, but at the time Prospray was a good quality base (before they got bought out by either Valspar or Sherwin).

I sprayed some Automotive Art on my truck last year, that was pretty inexpensive too and also covered very well. Wanda is a Sikkens brand another quality paint for not a lot of money.

Of course the SPI bases are some of the best that you can get if they have a color you like.

And I wouldn't hesitate to use Urekem base on a car now after having some experience with it.

Some people wear the cost of their base as a badge of honor, as if they're proud they got ripped off paying over a $1000/gallon. It would be an embarrassing day for them if they park next to my car


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Well, I am in that situation right now. I totally stripped down my 65 Fastback (that I have owned since 1984), of the interior, windows, and all the trim. I stripped off most the the paint, took off the hood, front and rear valences, fenders, etc. I did some light bodywork, and sprayed with high build primer and block sanded the best I could. I am no body man.
I could not find anyone who wanted to for less than $6000 up to $40,000. I didn't want to pay so much that I would be afraid to drive it. So decided I had to go with Maaco. They had just opened an new shop on my side of town and were very interested in getting the work. I told them I wanted their top of the line job, the Platinum service. The car has been with them for almost 4 weeks now, which I don't mind because they told me they were going to take their time and do a really good job on it. They hope to take pictures of it and use it for their Grand Opening, so I hope that is also an incentive for them to do a good job on it. I am paying $3200 for the work which also includes color sanding and buffing it out. I should be getting it back before too long and I will report back on how it came out. By the way, I am having it done in Acapulco Blue. I am retired and 66 years old and just want to drive it again.
 

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My experience tells me that:

Sometimes when a shop doesn't want the job, they will throw a scare-em-away price at you to drive you off. It usually is nothing personal, just that they see the job as more trouble than it is worth;

A restoration shop is not the place to go if you want a "Driver" quality paint job;

A restoration shop builds its reputation painting trophy winning show cars and will generally not risk its hard earned reputation doing anything less;

The labor to properly prep a car for paint can be staggering and labor is the single largest line item in a repaint budget;

Minimum wage in a number of areas hovers between $10.00/hr and $15.00/ hr, for an apprentice level body shop helper. Who do you think pays for that minimum wage?

Higher quality paint and materials can be very expensive. Yesterday I was at my local automotive paint store and the guy behind the counter was quoting materials costs for another customer. The numbers for epoxy primer, base coat/clear coat, and reducer exceeded $1400 and he was still adding other consumables (sand paper, scotch brite pads, tape, masking paper, etc when I turned my attention away;

Do NOT automatically discount the quality of a MAACO job. Over the past several years, I have had MAACO do two project cars for me. Granted, neither car required much hammer and dolly work, neither car needed rust repair, and both cars were delivered to the paint shop without glass, trim, interiors or powertrains. I am fortunate that my local MAACO franchisee loves doing the older cars even though his bread and butter work is collision repair of more modern cars;

Here's a link to the '68 convertible I freshened up several years ago: 68 S CODE 390 CONV

Note that a since that car left my driveway, additional efforts to take the car to the next level were lavished on it but, as far as i can tell, the paint is the same $2500 MAACO job that I put on it.

The car in my sig pic below was done at a small 3 man collision shop more than a dozen years ago, long before I learned of my local MAACO option. The agreed quality standard of that job was based upon a car that this painter had done for a mutual friend of ours and was in my mind, a high level driver paint job. Cost then, $7500. Incidentally, I got an even better quality paint job than I paid for and every compliment I received confirmed my impression.

Low cost paint jobs include low cost paint supplies and sometimes even a paint roller !! Seriously, several years ago some guy used a non-automotive self-leveling paint product to roll paint onto a Dodge Charger. Considerable hand sanding between coats was required but the end product was acceptable to the owner. Here's a youtube link to the process:
 

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we are a Restoration shop in Canada and your looking at $20000 + canadian$, metal work would be extra, We dont do driver quality paintwork, We always get someone saying i just want driver quality paint, (where do you want me to cut corners for that "drivers quality?")
I'm sorry but $20,000 Canadian is ridiculous for paint unless it's going to SEMA.

I've become a proponent of "do the bodywork/metalwork yourself" due to circumstance. There's not really "driver quality" bodywork. There's doing it right and there's doing it wrong. And as my grandfather always says, "If you can't do it right, don't do it at all." I couldn't afford $9000 for bodywork on my car but I could afford a welder and a hammer.

But driver quality paint is one that isn't mirror like. It may have some orange peel but it'll be durable and stand up to abuse. My car has 3 or 4 layers of clear over the paint and I didn't pay to have it color sanded and buffed in order keep the cost down. It's got a few specs of dust in the clear, there are two small paint drips, it's not perfect. They didn't go over it with a fine tooth comb, a magnifying glass, or an electron microscope. That would be pointless for a daily or even regularly driven car. But that's not cutting corners. It's going as far as it needs to knowing full well it's going to get scratched and chipped and dirty.
 
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Last time I checked, Jeff Miller in Temecula Cal will paint a Cobra including the body and door fitting and a few other things for around $7500. Even though a Mustang is larger the cost may be comparable. and this is not just for a DD type paint job. He mainly does Cobras, but I think I've seen other cars at his shop
 

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another thing i should point out is i cant tell you how many times we quoted a paint job and customer come back to us later saying they made a mistake getting a cheap paint job, most high end shops will not do "driver quality " jobs, as their reputation is on the line, what happens when this guy goes to a car show and someone asks who did your paint, is he going to say "i only asked for a driver quality job" i think not and that person goes away thinking your shop does that work, its not the paint job itself that makes the price high, its the time spent with prep, panel alignment, proper gaps. wet sanding after the paint is on, for getting to a high level that takes time, Only people in the restoration business will understand this, one thing that hurts the restoration business is all the reality tv shows restoration shops doing full restorations in 4 week and $25000, in the real world this doesnt happen
 

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another thing i should point out is i cant tell you how many times we quoted a paint job and customer come back to us later saying they made a mistake getting a cheap paint job, most high end shops will not do "driver quality " jobs, as their reputation is on the line, what happens when this guy goes to a car show and someone asks who did your paint, is he going to say "i only asked for a driver quality job" i think not and that person goes away thinking your shop does that work, its not the paint job itself that makes the price high, its the time spent with prep, panel alignment, proper gaps. wet sanding after the paint is on, for getting to a high level that takes time, Only people in the restoration business will understand this, one thing that hurts the restoration business is all the reality tv shows restoration shops doing full restorations in 4 week and $25000, in the real world this doesnt happen
Well said. Most people just do not understand how much work goes into a car just to get it ready for paint. You want to save some money then disassemble the car and do the assembly yourself.
 

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I also paint- on the side for extra cash but I put out show quality jobs and have customers lined up for the next year - no daily drivers for reasons already discussed- reputation! They will always bad mouth your work - lesson learned! They will point out that sand scratch under the trunk lid or a small run under the rocker that I missed - I spend a lot of time looking for that stuff but occasionally miss something- I quote $30/hr but end up working for $20 cause everything takes longer than expected - like removing a rusty bumper. 150 hours is minimum for a paint and $1800 is minimum for quality material that won't self destruct in the sun after 5 years . So we're at $6500 bucks ! 10 grand is not unreasonable. I'm slowly trying to get my prices up there cause it's hard work ! Plumbers charge $50/hr - no offense to plumbers but us painters are putting out art work that people can show off for years and pass down to their children. We know you are proud of your cars and there is great pleasure for us when we see your smile when it's all done ! We love doing it but we also need to get paid what we're worth
 

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Check out the Youtube channel "Jo Daddy's Garage." I don't know if he's a member here, but he does a lot of early Mustang bodywork videos, and he's very good at explaining what he's doing and why he's doing it. Helpful videos like that can save a beginner untold amounts of frustration if they're trying to do their own bodywork to save money.

Another thing I didn't see mentioned: a lot of restoration shops won't paint over someone else's paint job. I don't blame them a bit. There's no way of knowing what's underneath a paint job, whether it's improperly mixed filler, solvent pop, etc. You can do everything "correctly" and still have a paint job fail due to someone else's shoddy work being underneath it. I don't do bodywork professionally, but if I were attaching my name to a paint job, I would absolutely have to strip the car to bare metal before starting. That's a tough concept to get across to a customer who's only looking for a "driver-quality paint job."
 
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I also paint- on the side for extra cash but I put out show quality jobs and have customers lined up for the next year - no daily drivers for reasons already discussed- reputation! They will always bad mouth your work - lesson learned! They will point out that sand scratch under the trunk lid or a small run under the rocker that I missed - I spend a lot of time looking for that stuff but occasionally miss something- I quote $30/hr but end up working for $20 cause everything takes longer than expected - like removing a rusty bumper. 150 hours is minimum for a paint and $1800 is minimum for quality material that won't self destruct in the sun after 5 years . So we're at $6500 bucks ! 10 grand is not unreasonable. I'm slowly trying to get my prices up there cause it's hard work ! Plumbers charge $50/hr - no offense to plumbers but us painters are putting out art work that people can show off for years and pass down to their children. We know you are proud of your cars and there is great pleasure for us when we see your smile when it's all done ! We love doing it but we also need to get paid what we're worth
The $1800 minimum for paint hat won't "self destruct" I can not agree with. But as far as how you charge . . . . . I charge time and materials. I don't ever loose, but I don't ever "win" either. I sleep well.
 

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Agreed. Stripping the paint down to metal is the only way my guy would do the job, but it wasn't a hard sell since I wanted it done that way myself. Good thing as he uncovered a LOT of rust covered up by a LOT of bondo. A scuff and spray job would have been money wasted, and while I'm spending a lot more than anticipated, the car will be better for it as I'll now have years and years to enjoy a nice paint job.
 

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Should have been more specific - minimum $1800 for all material- paint, clear coat, primer, tape, sandpaper etc. decent paint is $400/gallon on up . I don't ever lose money but I make less an hour than I plan on - I need to start calling the customer and negotiating for more money when I find stuff but I stick to the quote price figuring I'm the one who screwed up by not quoting properly . Now if I find a bad quarter panel I'll call him - I won't eat that but there are a lot of little stuff I do for them along the way for a better product that cost me time but no money - it's not my main job - just a hobby that has turned into a side business- for those that do this full time - absolutely charge for every minute you work !
 

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I took mine to a guy that does mostly insurance work, but prefers to work on the older cars. He did the car of a fellow club member, and it looked really good. He looked it over and gave me a quote of 4-5 thousand. That was in my budget. Took everything off, a little rust work on the doors and the roof side. Took some of it back to metal, other areas that were still good just got a good sanding. I was there when he started putting color on it. I would say he did top-notch quality work.
 
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Should have been more specific - minimum $1800 for all material- paint, clear coat, primer, tape, sandpaper etc. decent paint is $400/gallon on up . I don't ever lose money but I make less an hour than I plan on - I need to start calling the customer and negotiating for more money when I find stuff but I stick to the quote price figuring I'm the one who screwed up by not quoting properly . Now if I find a bad quarter panel I'll call him - I won't eat that but there are a lot of little stuff I do for them along the way for a better product that cost me time but no money - it's not my main job - just a hobby that has turned into a side business- for those that do this full time - absolutely charge for every minute you work !
What I mean by loosing is making less money, than you intend to make, per hour. I charge $40-$50 an hour, depending on the work being done. That is well below what most restoration shops charge.
Again, as for having to spend $400 a gallon to have paint that lasts . . just not true. That might be what the manufacturers want you to think. I used to spray House of Color clear on my top projects. It's expensive and it lays nice. But you pay for it. I started using Finish Pro on lower end projects. I sold a car that I had sprayed Finish Pro on and after 5 years, was able to see it again. The car looked like it did when I painted it and it was NOT garage kept. It sat outside. I stopped using HOK clear just because of it's name.
 

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Possibly what I would want if/when I get my 68 Stang painted is not available. Just like hand made buggy whips aren't made anymore. Original single stage
acrylic enamel. Lime Gold. The RF fender on my sig car is NOS which I roughed the factory primer with Scotchbrite Rattle can painted with custom mixed from tcp global through web site of Autocolorlibrary.

The Ford finishes at that time were poly and not called poly. The poly was very fine partical very slight metallic....just enough to impart a glow. The original enamel was very durable but did not have the deep high gloss and flashy look of clearcoated color sanded metalics.

I just want the straight forward primer plus single coat enamel. The passenger door you see in the pic is the factory original finish with a hundred touched up
dings. It did last!
 

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Pete, I have said it before. I will send you my car to paint if you want to tackle it. The Bay Area is a place where paint starts at $14k and goes up for a classic. I would be happy to put some money in your pocket and sing your praises to the forum later :)

And I don't know of ANY quality body and paint guys getting paid minimum wage, you pay for talent with bodywork, not so much when flipping burgers.

I would be happy with decent gaps all around (read not show quality perfection), and a paint job that I can put effort in to on the care and polish side to have it looking nice. Hell I will wet-sand it and/or remove any orange peel myself as I have that skill set if I have to.

Eldog, talk to me about where in CA you found that deal.
 

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All the talk about expensive paint...I went to CarQuest today and had them mix PPG's code for single stage Nightmist Blue because I want to shoot my floor pans (to try and get a "feel" for painting but in an inconspicuous place). The cost was...drum roll please...$35.00?!? Hardener was $21 and suggested at 8:1 (was told some don't use hardener on this paint). I'm as ignorant as a person can be on paint, just haven't studied it much. Why such a low cost??

I guess I should really go back and correct my previous post about the cost of paint, but I've heard terrifying prices on some paint...

Allen
 
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It's Acrylic Enamel. Hardener is not necessary, but takes much longer to cure. In a floor, you need the hardener. You wouldn't be able to move inside the car ( not any time soon anyway) if no hardener was in it. Its the first paint I sprayed, even before lacquer. And I sprayed it without hardener.
 

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Check with the local paint supply store, they know everybody that buys paint and usually know their reputation and quality of work. You will be surprised how many great painters DON'T work at commercial body shops! That's an inside tip at no charge! Lol!
X 2........ get a guy that works for cash and do the removaval and sanding (if you can). Unless you know FOR SURE, forget about stripping, you might find a lot of bad things--I'd highly recommend just blocking it out and making it straight (and that came from a pro painter after looking at our car with the thought of paint in 3-5 yrs and our car looks great from 2 feet). Having said all that.....I'd be shocked that you need to spend more than $3K if you get it ready to spray for the painter.

Just a thought....have you thought about learning to paint yourself.....I am kinda self taught (although my dad was a pro body/paint guy) am close to feel good about tackling a full job. I really enjoy spraying and it usually comes out well. AND, if you go that route.....Summit sells full paint kits.
 

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Pete, I have said it before. I will send you my car to paint if you want to tackle it. The Bay Area is a place where paint starts at $14k and goes up for a classic. I would be happy to put some money in your pocket and sing your praises to the forum later :)
Dang......all togue and cheek but man.... I'd come to Cali and shoot it for a lot less than that--crazy prices out there I guess.
 
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