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1971 302 C4 auto convertible, Grabber Blue/white/white
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My 71 Mustang needs some metal work. I have no interest is stripping it down to raw metal and restoring it to the way it came off the factory floor…. the goal is to have a nice driver..It has a few areas with previous repairs and some bondo, about 30 year old bondo that is stable and the body looks fine. The floors are solid and replaced, the trunk floor has light surface rust that I can fix the plenum is rebuilt. Frame is fine. Since it’s a convertible, just about every inch of metal is visible from both sides…

The bottoms of the door latch pillars need work and strengthening, I get that might involve rocker, Quarter and pillar areas. That’s all I want done, maybe the radiator support too.

So I call/message auto body shops, and restoration shops in my area…most don’t return calls or messages….1 asked for pictures, which I sent. I explained very clearly my goals and I only want them to look at the latch pillar repair and nothing else…their answer-strip all parts off body, then they will media blast entire car, than talk to me about repairs…

second shop, visited in person, explained the same thing just look at pillar project, the owner would not stop talking, basically insulting me telling me how wrong the car is and how I paid too much.(car just came out of 25 year storage 8 weeks ago)..anyhow, he keeps circling the car tearing it apart…then says, it’s about $10k in body work, strip it down to the shell and I will mediablast the entire car and then give you a better estimate.

I really dont get it. Don’t listen to the customer, don’t quote what they ask, and insult them.
rant over.
804747
 

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68 Mustang Coupe
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Not sure I'd take it personal. They understand that there is about 3 times more rust than you see, it'll take 3 times longer than you think and 3 times as much cash. They could just do as you say but then when it comes up short they get blamed. 10k to get the body ready to spray.... then 10k to spray it, sounds about right. They have to do a quality job or again They get blamed.. There's a reason the lions share of vintage car owners do their own work.
 

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There are very few good shops that do rust repair (vs collision) and those that do it want to simply hang new Chinesium panels vs. clean patching and fabrication. Most shops will do a whole quarter panel for a 1" spot of rust at your expense. There is a lot of money being thrown around these days on big jobs due to all the shows and auctions. Small jobs just aren't worth it to most shops and they smell money on classic car owners. My last estimate for a repaint 2 years ago was 18K? I promptly bought a MIG welder and learned how to paint. That's not for everyone of course but I didn't see any other practical option honestly.
 

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1971 302 C4 auto convertible, Grabber Blue/white/white
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300 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Not sure I'd take it personal. They understand that there is about 3 times more rust than you see, it'll take 3 times longer than you think and 3 times as much cash. They could just do as you say but then when it comes up short they get blamed. 10k to get the body ready to spray.... then 10k to spray it, sounds about right. They have to do a quality job or again They get blamed.. There's a reason the lions share of vintage car owners do their own work.
You are missing the point, LOL, I only want them to repair the area of the door pillar. Sure there might be more rust, involving rocker or part of quarter panel. I get that, I know there always more rust. I don’t want them to tell me to strip the motor, trans, cooling, lighting, bumpers, dash, glass, etc out of the car so they can media blast the entire car. That’s not what I asked for. I am not asking them to prep the body for paint. the one guy is talking about welding and shaving the after market fender that’s barely on the car with 5 or so bolts and not adjusted or fitted at all, and he already wants to put 20 hours of metal work in the fender when I told him the fender was not his concern.
 

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I get the frustration, you have to look at it from their few point though. If a car leaves their shop and it looks bad in other spots but people know they worked on the body of that car, unfortunately they get branded with terrible work. Thats why you see this big name shops such as Kindigs, etc that say "if it has our name on it, its going to be completely done right. And they will strip down a job someone already had painted if they find the smallest defect to "see whats underneath". Usually find a ton of other issues and redo entire car......
 

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Most Body shops work on the insurance model. They can’t make as much on a non-insurance job, so unless you go to a shop that specializes in vintage cars, you’ll likely get the cold shoulder. Mot fair to us vintage enthusiasts, but that’s today’s reality.

Z
 

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Keep looking, check with your local autobody supplier and see if they know a guy. There is usually a guy or two that work from home or have small shops, ask any local car groups.
 

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The good shops are plenty busy, they don’t need your business.
Try this; offer to bring your car in and then pick it up promptly when each stage is completed. This is very much like an insurance model. Specific repairs for an agreed on price and your car is out of their hair quickly. My car needs a bunch of work and that approach works since I have very little money and the shop is very busy. Also, cash seems to grease the wheels…..
 

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Any shop that works on old cars and that is good will take you a year to get into
I'd be leary of any shop that says come on in.

You're better off driving in and let them see it.
 
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One of the members has a post in the build section kind of inline with the door post repairs you want done. Look it up and talk to him about some of the what you don't see that will need to be addressed when who ever gets in there.

His name is JRANGER & the post is 69 sportroof. MYSTIQUE I believe.
 

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67 Fastback T5 331 TCI Frt End, Canted 4 link rear susp
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Couple of things...first, it's a beautiful car. I went through the same situation, but was fortunate to find a small body shop (4-5 fulltime people) who needed work during the first Covid shut down when no one was driving, therefore no collision work was coming in. It looks like the car is on the road, so I would go to these shops in person, and not try to do things over the phone. They will take you more seriously, and appreciate what you are trying to do. One thing you said stands out, "The bottoms of the door latch pillars need work and strengthening, I get that might involve rocker, Quarter and pillar areas. That’s all I want done, maybe the radiator support too". Those may sound like individual things, but for example to do the radiator support, you need to take the nose off the car. Also, why are you replacing the radiator support? If it's due to rust, what is the condition of the frame where it attaches? Same question regarding what is going on with the B pillar / rockers that you say need "strengthening". As others have said, these shops may hear what you are saying and in their experience know it's never that simple when you are talking structural repairs.
I think 66kcar had a good approach. Get someone to do the radiator support, then move on to another section. This may make a body shop more likely to take on the work, since they can get it in and out and paid, without sitting in their shop for months. Good luck...if you have it on the road, then enjoy it and keep looking in the meantime.
 

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I ran into the same issue on my 65,

I wanted the stripes repainted and couldn't get a shop to give me a proper estimate.

One guy stood in the parking lot and spit out 4k.

I said I wanted a written estimate that broke down labor, supplies, shop charges, and tax. He said that's not how he does it, so I moved on.

Most shops only do insurance work and wouldn't even give me an estimate.

Times have sure changed, pre-2000 I never had problems getting bodywork and paint on a classic.
 

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We all know what you're going through, and it's why many here do their own work. I personally wouldn't enlist a body shop to do either of those repairs. As others have said, there's always more to the job than what's on the surface, and most body shops know that and rust repairs are especially problematic. Shops will want to replace, rather than patch. If you bought a rust free pillar assembly, and talked about replacing it, that might be a different conversation. Patching requires fabrication, and that's not something they are typically set up to do - they do panel repair and replacement. If you're not in the industry, it's hard to fathom the difference, but they are very, very different. You might want to hit some cruise nights and car shows in your area, talk to people and find out who they used, who does good work and who the hacks are.
 
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Where are you located? The shop I used in San Francisco did what was asked.

There are literally thousands of body shops in the Bay Area. So choosing one is based on asking asking other classic car owner's.
 
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I bought mine about a month ago. The body is straight and nearly rust free. Took it to a couple of shops to get estimates for whole car repaint. First one said "We don't do classics". Second one said the same thing but added, "Yeah, you're lookin' at about $18K from any reputable shop. Most just want insurance work but if you want to PAY, they'll do it." I'll probably learn how to paint like ToddMcF2002.
 
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