Body restoration estimate

Mylacamaro

New Member
Apr 16, 2021
4
I understand it’s hard for shops to estimate body work but curious if this sounds right.

I’m having replaced on a 1979 Camaro T-Top car:
Complete Toe board
Complete floor pan
Both outer rockers
Both inner rockers
Both full rear quarters
Left rear frame rail

I’m buying full door shells and front fenders so bolt on and adjust for fitment. No primer or paint calculated into this.

$14K labor only estimate. $65 per hour rate. That basically equates to 27 - 8 hour days of work. It’s hard to believe with an experienced shop it would take this long. I’m sure other stuff will pop up that needs fixed and this doesn’t cover anything new so afraid it’s going to be a nickel /dime add on game from here on out. Hard to turn back once you get started. This doesn’t include what I need to pay already for some disassembly and blasting. Removed engine, front/rear suspension, front subframe, and doors. Interior was already shelled.

I trust this shop but at the same time this seems a bit high when looking at it from a time standpoint for an experienced shop.

Should I proceed or evaluate other shops? Hard to answer I know. Just curious if others have had similar work done and the cost.
 
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Mylacamaro

New Member
Apr 16, 2021
4
Charlotte, NC. Of all the shops I called $55 to $75 was the range for fab work. All reputable places. I’m just curious at the time they estimate to do the work.

I don’t mind paying for it be done right but also want to be educated at the time this stuff takes.
 
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Twisted_Metal

Administrator
Staff member
Lifetime Gold Member
Feb 26, 2004
31,906
Bloomington, MN
That's a lot of work and $$$ to spend on body work alone for a rusty 79.

I'm not saying they are too far out of line on the estimate but, by the time you get parts, paint and everything else into the body rebuild... It will be a VERY expensive body.

For $14K, you should be able to find a complete, rust-free 79 which needs minimal paint/body work.
 

steins70z28

Veteran Member
Apr 14, 2012
327
Tulsa, OK
Unless your car has a strong sentimental value, you would probably be money ahead by looking for a donor car. I understand a t top body may be harder to find but there are many standard hard top cars. Most of us have way more money in our cars than they'll ever be worth but that is a huge chunk of money that could go a long way in finishing a car. Just me 2 cents worth.
 

badazz81z28

Veteran Member
May 4, 2001
22,367
Alabama
This is the realization of what it cost to repair a rusty car. These “deal of the century” gems I see on FB are sold for exactly this reason. It just cost too much to fix. I think you will have more work than the quote. That rusty metal is welded to other metal and they will probably find more damage needing repair. $14k could buy you a pretty nice 78-81 Camaro. It would have to be a rare car or be sentimental to put that kind of money into it.
 

Mylacamaro

New Member
Apr 16, 2021
4
T-Top cars are a little harder to find. Even if I did find one in “good condition” I was still planning to blast it to uncover any rust and the chance of that happening is pretty good resulting in body work on a much more expensive car. I bought this heap knowing I was going to have to invest but seems like an experienced fabricator could do the work quicker than 27 eight hour days. They have recently completed another 2nd gen so they were confident in being able to give an estimate. I also understand that could change. I’m ok investing as I know when I get it back I’ll have a very solid foundation to build on. This car also came with a lot of the parts needed.....all of the weatherstripping and many new interior trim pieces.

It sounds like this is what is to be expected. I can’t help to think these guys get you roped in then once they get started they nickel and dime you to death.

Thank you for the responses! Going to meet up with them today and talk about a game plan.
 

badazz81z28

Veteran Member
May 4, 2001
22,367
Alabama
T-Top cars are a little harder to find. Even if I did find one in “good condition” I was still planning to blast it to uncover any rust and the chance of that happening is pretty good resulting in body work on a much more expensive car. I bought this heap knowing I was going to have to invest but seems like an experienced fabricator could do the work quicker than 27 eight hour days. They have recently completed another 2nd gen so they were confident in being able to give an estimate. I also understand that could change. I’m ok investing as I know when I get it back I’ll have a very solid foundation to build on. This car also came with a lot of the parts needed.....all of the weatherstripping and many new interior trim pieces.


It sounds like this is what is to be expected. I can’t help to think these guys get you roped in then once they get started they nickel and dime you to death.

Thank you for the responses! Going to meet up with them today and talk about a game plan.

If that’s the perspective, then why this post in the first place? Drop the car off and write the check...don’t look back.

It takes time to do this work, cutting the old metal out, cleaning it up, fitting, welding...a quarter panel alone probably eats up a day or two. You have to remember there likely will be more than one guy on the job. “Man hours” does not only mean 1 person. Heck they may burn a day simply cutting and welding in support bars to keep the car stable for the work.

Ill never understand getting that deep into a car with labor. I guarantee there is a T-top car in California/Arizona/Nevada that needs zero body panel repair.
 
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SPG

Bumblebee Builder
Gold Member
Sep 1, 2018
1,500
Sacramento
I guarantee there is a T-top car in California/Arizona/Nevada that needs zero body panel repair.
Yup, honestly you'd save more money shipping a car from a dry state than trying to find something local. You'll still have some rust but it's not nearly as bad as other states
I stripped off the undercoating from my car and you wouldn't believe me if I told you it was 45 years old. Not a single rust pit.
 




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