What does it cost?
This is a question that everyone wants to know and can never be answered easily. The best advise that can be given is to put it on paper. Include everything that you want and everything the car needs. With both of these categories, you can then start to determine a budget and time frame that it will take. You must factor actual costs and real estimates in this budget. Many people make the mistake of factoring in unreal figures -- “$5,000 for paint and body and $2,500 for the drivetrain” etc. Those figures are made up and unrealistic. You should visit at least one shop with the car and get an estimate. Be sure to include freight charges when figuring parts. If it seems like an overwhelming task, it is. We know better than most what is entailed in a restoration. It is a labor of love and can be very expensive. There is a huge difference between new carpet and an economy paint job versus a complete restoration. We are happy to help with any part of putting it on paper.
What are some types of restoration?
Frame Up Restoration:
To simplify, a frame up restoration begins above the frame. The paint and bodywork, trunk, interior, and motor are completely redone. However, only necessary replacements are done on the frame and suspension. The car, more importantly, will also be safe to drive. These cars can typically have as much as 300 to 500 hours of labor involved in the restoration. Many in our hobby prefer this type of car for two reasons; 1) affordable price and 2) the car can be driven in inclement weather without worrying about extensive hours cleaning the undercarriage.
Body Off or Frame Off Restoration:
Simply, every nut and bolt on the car has been either restored or replaced. The body of the car is physically removed from the frame so every crack and crevice of the automobile can be cleaned, prepped, and restored. These are easy to detect. Crawl under or slide a mirror under the car. All suspension parts will be new and freshly painted or powder coated. Exhaust systems will be all new. All body mounts and suspension bushings will be either new rubber or polyurethane. Some body off restorations feature floor pans painted the same color as the body. In addition to the undercarriage, the engine, interior, trunk, etc will all be restored to highest quality. These cars may represent as much as 1,000 to 2,000 hours of labor. Once completed, these cars are capable of winning in the majority of shows. They are also much harder to maintain - the frame and undercarriage can demand hours of cleaning each week.
What if I want to do some of the work myself?
So you want to build your own car... no problem. We can perform up to whatever level that you feel comfortable finishing. We have done many "painted rollers" where we do all the metal work, panel fitment, welding, bodywork, sanding, painting and suspension; then you can finish the project with only needing basic knowledge and hand tools.
Do you supply a project car?
Yes! We can help you find the car of your dreams. Let us know what you are wanting and we can help you find it if it is not in our current inventory
Do you fix more than just GM vehicles?
Yes we do! Classic cars produced by the “BIG 3” manufacturers were all built with the same basic innovations that were available at the time. The suspension, doors, windows, interiors, etc. are all very similar in function. The metal fabrication and paint work applies to all of the cars as well. We have restored several Mopars and Fords
I think I found a good project car. Can you help me determine if it is a possible project car?
We can help you determine if that project car you found is “a good candidate”. Just give us a call.
For vehicles undergoing a complete restoration or any panel replacement, remove all items affixed to those panels. Disassembly takes time especially if you plan to reuse those parts. Disassembly of affixed parts will be charged at a hourly rate, save yourself some money by doing it yourself.
Floor Panel Replacement - remove seats, seat belts, sill plates, carpet, ect.
Quarter Panel Replacement - remove all interior components including the headliner.
Door Shell Replacement - remove glass and regulators (leave in latches).
Dash/Cowl Replacement - remove windshield, heater, dash components, wiring, ect.
Roof Skin replacement - remove all weatherstripping and channels.
Front Sheet Metal replacement - remove bumper, brackets, wiring, ect.
Rear End Sheet Metal replacement - remove rear bumper, brackets, wiring and anything in trunk.
Remember to "bag & tag" all hardware, fastners and clips. Some items are not reproduced and will need to be reused.
As always do remove any personal items, GM Muscle cannot be responsible for any lost items.
If needed we can remove the windshield or the rear glass but we will not be responsible for breakage.
Things to remember when choosing a restoration shop.
Be aware of shops that charge "all-inclusive" pricing. If you are quoted a "fixed" price, chances are someone is going to come out short, either money or quality or both. It would be very unlikely that the shop working on your car would fix unforeseen problems for free in order to stay within the quoted price.
There are many stories of shops taking a deposit to begin your restoration only to push it in a corner until they can get to it. The problem is that the job was underbid and cannot be finished for the price stated.
GM Muscle builds and restores cars based on an hourly rate that is billed in real time. Technicians keep time cards on the vehicle they are working on. You will not be charged for anything except time spent on your vehicle, parts and materials. It's that simple!