Compared to having your modern car repaired at the local body shop, a comprehensive restoration of an antique, classic, or muscle car has no flat rate or "menu" price board. The hoped for crystal ball telling us "how much?" simply doesn't exist. Even a well-intentioned "ball-park" figure is difficult to quantify because each vehicle is uniquely different: its mechanical history, the overall maintenance of the various body components, the success or failure of previous restoration attempts, and finally, the passage of time. All of these items factor into the complexity of the restoration.
We've seen the extreme of a well maintained vehicle that might be called a "survivor" in today's terms , but to restore the vehicle to "driver quality" required approximately 500 hours, plus the additional cost of parts and materials. The other extreme is the "used and abused" vehicle that once disassembled, required so many parts that it literally required "two vehicles to make one" plus additional parts, materials and labor.
Both owners of each car possessed a mental "vision" of how their vehicle would look when fully restored, and naturally, they wanted a final price for the restoration.
The question: Is it possible to determine such inherent complexities before hand? The answer: Unfortunately, as you may now expect, there is no way to accurately determine the "true reality" of a restoration (through a superficial visual inspection) prior to a disassembly of the vehicle.
The solution: Disassembly is where the restoration process begins: we completely disassemble the vehicle to determine what apparently needs to be done from the bare frame and working outward to the interior and then the fenders, doors, roof, hood, trunk deck, etc.
Actually the disassembly process provides a detailed, customized, verified roadmap or "game plan" for each component within the entire restoration project. Frequently, however, what is apparent on the surface of a mechanical part, sheet metal component or interior item is vastly different than what is found upon further examination.
The dilemma: "OK. I have a vision of how my vehicle will look when you are finished but I don't want to overpay you nor do I want to underpay either. So, how do we handle the finances fairly and squarely?"
Over the last 30 years of our business life, we have tried a number of different approaches to achieve a "fair and square" transaction and great customer referrals. We kept coming back to our current practice and here is how it works.
The procedure: The time-tested method that is fairest to both the shop and the customer is a system of costing and billing on a "time and materials" basis.
The shop's responsibilities include providing a full hour's work for every hour billed, and to only use materials of highest quality that will give years of customer satisfaction. Most important is to conduct our business in a manner that is open, honest and timely with each customer. This way, you only pay for what is actually consumed on your restoration: time, materials and parts!
Customer's responsibility- is to find and engage a trustworthy, qualified shop that has a demonstrated ability to fulfill its end of the bargain, as well as to personally fund the project on a timely basis. We always tell our customers beforehand that the restoration of a vehicle is expensive; that total restorative costs may be eclipsed by the purchase of a starter home or a four year college education at a private university.
While restoration costs are sometimes dramatic, the results we provide are always more dramatic in appearance not to mention pride of ownership and showmanship. Those characteristics are impossible to quantify but they are real nevertheless.