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Old 11-12-2019, 05:26 PM   #1
BRENT in 10-uh-C
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Default Interesting read in Hemmings about restoration costs.

I have repeatedly stated here that skilled labor is becoming too expensive in this country. The reverse side of this is many hobbyists undervalue what a restored Model-A costs simply because they under-estimate the amount of actual time it takes to do a task. Painting, bodywork, and sheetmetal repair is a great example of this.

Adding to that, many hobbyists do not realize that as small as a Model-A is, there is a tremendous amount of surface area on Model-A sheetmetal when all those areas are added up. For example, ...fenders, body aprons, and even the hood are twice as big as they appear when you factor in that both sides of the item show. Then factor in that Black is the predominant color, -and we all know that any panel painted a dark color must be straight to look good. So, for those of you who are still in the mood for discussing this topic, take a moment to click on the link below and read Hemmings' take on this, ...and then let me know your thoughts.



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Old 11-12-2019, 06:30 PM   #2
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Default Re: Interesting read in Hemmings about restoration costs.

That is a very interesting article. Being partially in the resto business none of it surprises me. What often does surprise (or startles) me is the cost of materials and products!
And, I find it pretty much on point. Restoring cars is sorta like renovating old houses; most don’t give credible value disassembly! One has to un-do and then start re-assembly. Ain’t that easy!
If you’re paying to get something restored it can’t be for one with a weak checkbook
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Old 11-12-2019, 07:11 PM   #3
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Default Re: Interesting read in Hemmings about restoration costs.

I owned a body shop for five years doing mostly higher end paint on older sports cars like Triumphs, Mg's and 240z's etc. The amount of work preparing even a body in reasonably good shape for a near flawless paint job is incredible. Imperfections/welds etc from the factory that are unnoticeable with factory paint become blaring when you are doing a color sanded/polished finish. Quit after five years because we realized it was going to take a long time to gain the reputation necessary to charge what we needed to stay in business. I had a family to feed.
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Old 11-12-2019, 08:54 PM   #4
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Default Re: Interesting read in Hemmings about restoration costs.

Like Humperhill I owned part interest in a restoration shop which was an extension of a commercial shop and the cost of materials, labor and time factors became prohibitive, now we only do special small job such as some SMALL corrective "redos" painting small objects such as wheels etc. and a full agreement with customer before any work is done. If we have a customer who says "too much," I ask buy some materials and see for yourself...
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Old 11-12-2019, 10:14 PM   #5
Jeff P. / MN
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Default Re: Interesting read in Hemmings about restoration costs.

I think $$$ is the main reason old “patina” is so popular.
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Old 11-12-2019, 10:48 PM   #6
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Default Re: Interesting read in Hemmings about restoration costs.

I still have the receipts from the guy who originally restored my coupe in '84, and even then the bodywork and painting represented the majority of his total restoration costs. Easily over $10K in 2019 dollars.
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Old 11-13-2019, 01:02 AM   #7
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Default Re: Interesting read in Hemmings about restoration costs.

I just painted a car a little while ago as practice. some single stage blue metallic. just a cheap used car. I think 9-12 hours spread over a few days of color sanding and polishing. A better application could have saved me a bunch of time. The body work took quite a bit and a trained eye could pick it out I did water proof filler, spot putty, a couple coats of primer. I feel Im getting a lot better at it. This is probably the 6th paint job I've done. I have some good mirroring on it. I was mindful of the flop. It looks pretty nice....for a used car. But It would never pass the scrutiny any of us put on a paint job that would be on our Babys.To pay to have the time put into this job by the cheapest of professionals would cost more than the 2000 the car is worth. This is the 67$ a gallon starfire daytona blue matallic. for the price amazing. for twice the price it would still be great paint. But its nothing compared to good stuff. The urethanes are so much better but cost so much more.



Edit:I must add every time I paint a car all the running around and sanding and work, sets off my hip pain or elbow pain or something where I cant do much till it gets better. And USE YOUR RESPIRATORS!!! CLEAR COAT IN THE AIR WILL MAKE YOU SICK!!! only did that once about 15 years ago.




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Old 11-13-2019, 06:20 AM   #8
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Default Re: Interesting read in Hemmings about restoration costs.

I think $$$ is the main reason old “patina” is so popular.





amen to that...........


I can buy 2 cars with patina for one nice looking car.........
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Old 11-13-2019, 07:05 AM   #9
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Default Re: Interesting read in Hemmings about restoration costs.

I have advised many people to just find the car they like and buy it. To find an old car are restore it, is a losing proposition. You are never going to get out of it what you put in it. I did my dad's 1925 coupe about 12 years ago. Every nut and bolt type of restoration. I did all of the work myself with just a pretty good paint job and I had over $16000 in it. You can buy those cars all day long for $12 - $16000.


The article is right on about everything. Labor rates quoted might be low. Thanks for posting the link!
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Old 11-13-2019, 08:04 AM   #10
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Default Re: Interesting read in Hemmings about restoration costs.

Thanks for Posting this article Brent. It says it all. I put my remarks in a facebook page that also had it. Like you I've been doing restoration work for 45 years. It took me a long time to get honest with people and tell them what they where looking at in the end. I've tracked the time on this work over the years, so I have a good idea of the time it takes and sometimes I'm still out by 20% due to the condition of the vehicle. I tell most people today that your looking at $125,000. to start for a ground up restortation and we'll go up from there depending on how detailed and correct you want the car. Because the cars we start with a pretty rotted it can easily take 8 weeks just to do the metal work including fitting. Then 3 weeks to do the filler work. 6 weeks for paint prep. 1 week to paint all of the pieces, 10 days to watersand and polish. And then go from there for the assembly, mechanics, upholstery, wiring, glass chrome. This is why when you own a Model "A" you need to learn to do as much as you can. But we do Love them!! JP
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Old 11-13-2019, 08:09 AM   #11
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Default Re: Interesting read in Hemmings about restoration costs.

I am currently painting my 31 Slant Windshield Cabriolet using TCP Global, Acrylic Urethane. Wonderful paint! I agree with this article 100%. I've spent 2 summers on the body work and finally started painting in September. I have completed the fenders, splash aprons, hood and doors and so far so good. I can't say enough good things about the new paints. I am using epoxy primer/hardener, high build primer/hardener and (3) top coats with hardener. The next day this paint is hard and smooth as glass!


The labor on a job like this is a killer. The cost of the paint is the least of your worries. Getting the rumble lid perfect is proving to be the most difficult for me. I am using full sheets of sand paper and sanding in multiple directions and find that I have to skim coat again in one area.



I am painting Kewannee and Elkpointe Green. There are so many different interpretations of these colors. I couldn't find any codes for these colors, so I held my breath and purchased quarts of blue, green, white, black. I used a web site called "TryColors.com that allows you to electronically mix colors to get close to what you want. I used liquid oz. as units. It is amazing, I couldn't believe how close I came to what I wanted on the first test batch. After you get the lower body color the way you like it, you simply add black to get the darker trim color, in my case, Elkpointe Green.



The challenging part of all this is that TCP Global has many different shades of the various colors of white, blue and green. You just have to pick base colors that are in the right direction for the color you want. The paint was mixed in pint batches and finally poured into a gallon container and mixed for 10 to 15 minutes to be sure it was all in the final color. The various paint colors all mixed and blended very easily to get the final color. I mixed 4 quarts of Kewannee Green and 3 quarts of Elkpointe Green. I figure I have about $1200.00 in paints, hardener, solvent, sand paper, mixing cups, fine line masking tape and painters tape.


The sad thing for me is this is my last paint project (I'm 77). I think I finally know what to do to get a presentable paint job and it is over! If you are young and love this hobby, purchase the necessary equipment, do a lot of reading and do the body work and paint yourself. You will save a ton of money and most likely be able to sell your car for what you have invested in it.
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Old 11-13-2019, 08:52 AM   #12
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Default Re: Interesting read in Hemmings about restoration costs.

That article and all of the above comments are spot on. Def. cheaper in the long run to purchase a car already finished than to restore one, IF youre paying someone to do so. Some people (like myself) restore as a hobby. Labor is def. the highest cost factor, and even for a do it yourselfer, time is valuable, although it may not have a dollar amount. There was similar discussion on another forum I belong to and it was the general concensis that a min. paint job would cost $20k plus. I agree, again IF you have a shop. I posted a thread that I called my 'cheap paint job'. On my car (70's Pontiac) I have about $3k in product and tools. On my current project I have less than $1k into the paint and everything is done but the hood. Both jobs are far from concours quality, but are at least as good as factory. Not a knock on any pro shops, but it is still possible to have a quality car with a quality finish if you are willing to put in the sweat equity.
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Old 11-13-2019, 08:55 AM   #13
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Default Re: Interesting read in Hemmings about restoration costs.

Edit to above post: In my never ending quest for a Model A, I am def. looking to get one already restored for all of the reasons described, however I would also love to find one that needs restored, just because. I would really love to do a woody, being a lifelong woodworker, master carpenter, furniture maker.
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Old 11-13-2019, 09:37 AM   #14
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Default Re: Interesting read in Hemmings about restoration costs.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ed in Maine View Post
I am currently painting my 31 Slant Windshield Cabriolet using TCP Global, Acrylic Urethane. Wonderful paint! I agree with this article 100%. I've spent 2 summers on the body work and finally started painting in September. I have completed the fenders, splash aprons, hood and doors and so far so good. I can't say enough good things about the new paints. I am using epoxy primer/hardener, high build primer/hardener and (3) top coats with hardener. The next day this paint is hard and smooth as glass!


The labor on a job like this is a killer. The cost of the paint is the least of your worries. Getting the rumble lid perfect is proving to be the most difficult for me. I am using full sheets of sand paper and sanding in multiple directions and find that I have to skim coat again in one area.



I am painting Kewannee and Elkpointe Green. There are so many different interpretations of these colors. I couldn't find any codes for these colors, so I held my breath and purchased quarts of blue, green, white, black. I used a web site called "TryColors.com that allows you to electronically mix colors to get close to what you want. I used liquid oz. as units. It is amazing, I couldn't believe how close I came to what I wanted on the first test batch. After you get the lower body color the way you like it, you simply add black to get the darker trim color, in my case, Elkpointe Green.



The challenging part of all this is that TCP Global has many different shades of the various colors of white, blue and green. You just have to pick base colors that are in the right direction for the color you want. The paint was mixed in pint batches and finally poured into a gallon container and mixed for 10 to 15 minutes to be sure it was all in the final color. The various paint colors all mixed and blended very easily to get the final color. I mixed 4 quarts of Kewannee Green and 3 quarts of Elkpointe Green. I figure I have about $1200.00 in paints, hardener, solvent, sand paper, mixing cups, fine line masking tape and painters tape.


The sad thing for me is this is my last paint project (I'm 77). I think I finally know what to do to get a presentable paint job and it is over! If you are young and love this hobby, purchase the necessary equipment, do a lot of reading and do the body work and paint yourself. You will save a ton of money and most likely be able to sell your car for what you have invested in it.
Ed, TCP Global have all the paint code and color chips in their library for all the Model A colors. Did you talk to them about it?
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Old 11-13-2019, 09:42 AM   #15
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Default Re: Interesting read in Hemmings about restoration costs.

The restoration of what is termed as low end antique cars such as the model A and many other marques started out as a hobby for DIY guys. The only big restoration shops back in the 50s & 60s were the ones that had clients or wealthy owners that wanted to restore Duesenbergs, Marmons, or Auburns and the like. They weren't interested in the lower end cars so much.

Folks that have made a living in the general restoration of automobiles & related items have always experienced ups & downs but the sad thing is that the next generations may not be interested in the older cars. Automobiles manufactured in this day and age are pretty much throw away cars and few will last into future generations.

My own business in general aviation has experienced the same downturns but no one really has the funds to restore or overhaul them either. They have priced themselves into a smaller and smaller niche market where only experimental stuff and the least expensive stuff will likely survive. It goes back to the hobby DIY guy that wants something and doesn't have the funding to buy it in complete form.

If a mountain is there for the challenge then someone will always try to climb it.
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Old 11-13-2019, 10:08 AM   #16
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Default Re: Interesting read in Hemmings about restoration costs.

Many of the costs associated with first class paint jobs today can be attributed to EPA regs on paint booth air quality and hazardous materials disposal. Too, minimum wages in the fifties was around a buck an hour.
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Old 11-13-2019, 10:10 AM   #17
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Default Re: Interesting read in Hemmings about restoration costs.

Quote:
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Automobiles manufactured in this day and age are pretty much throw away cars and few will last into future generations.

Ironically, when you go back and consider many of teen-era and earlier automobiles, those were "throw away cars" also. The technology that was coming on each subsequent year's automobile made them obsolete by the time they were one year old. Additionally, many of these orphan automobiles suffered from breakage that also made them a 'throw away'. Today these early 'throw away' automobiles now have one of the strongest followings and command big prices. Maybe throw away vehicles are not a bad thing.



Also some food for thought. While 'Patina' is a fad that presently does seem attractive, I wonder how long that trend will last? Look at the infatuation that folks had with the vehicle know as a 'Rat Rod'. These were vehicles that were very popular due to the low entry-level costs. It appears the trend has now exited about as fast as it came in, and most hobbyists care nothing for them. What will be interesting to watch in the Model-A hobby is what becomes of the 'restored' vehicles when they become used-up and need to be re-restored.
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Old 11-13-2019, 06:15 PM   #18
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Default Re: Interesting read in Hemmings about restoration costs.

You guys are going about this all wrong. You need to do your homework.

Luckily I'm not too real far from Chicago. I can get a car painted plus $20 free body work by Earl, for $99.95

You just have to shop around I'll show you what I mean look at this 30 second advertisement.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Auvf7DDw5z0
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Old 11-13-2019, 06:37 PM   #19
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Default Re: Interesting read in Hemmings about restoration costs.

While I agree most all cars in the low budget market have always been considered as throw aways by the original owners and even the manufacturers to some extent. The difference is basic simplicity and popularity of the models. Cars of the modern era are not made from quality structural and trim materials and they have complicated electronics that don't necessarily have long service lives. If we think it's hard to get parts for model As, just wait till you have to restore a 21st century car 40, 50, or more years after production is over. I just don't think folks have as much nostalgia for the modern stuff. It all looks the same from year to year. When I was a kid, a model A was only 35-years old but it just looks so much different than a 60s car. I just had to have one. I'm just thankful that I can look back at the cars of my youth and still like a lot of them. I look at older 21st century cars and they just don't do that for me anymore.
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Old 11-13-2019, 06:59 PM   #20
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Default Re: Interesting read in Hemmings about restoration costs.

All that has been said above applies over here too. There is one advantage I see in doing a resto yourself over buying a car someone else has done. You know what you have. I have seen (both here and in the US) cars that look great but when you get right down to it, they have not been restored to the standard I would want. OK for a driver maybe but rarely more.
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