Paint shop jail! Should I bail?


Veteran Member
May 19, 2000
Los Angeles
Man, I don't envy anyone trying to restore a car in today's environment. Inflation, flaky businesses and/or labor issues, supply chain issues and shortages, growing hostility to gas powered cars, etc...
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Nov 24, 2019
OK, I need some advice. I dropped off my 71 at the paint shop on July 5th of this year. The shop owner and I agreed (on paper) that he would finish final bodywork and paint the car within 60 days. I gave a down payment of $1500 to get things rolling. The remaining $3500 would be due after the job is finished.
Very little has been done to my car. The whole car has been sanded and that's about it. It has been over 90 days and all I get is excuses. It looks like he is having trouble keeping employees and maybe even keeping the doors open. My car is covered in body shop dust inside and out. My interior is brand new and now covered in thick dust. The engine is also covered in dust. They pulled the rear windshield off for paint and did not bother to cover it. Only one employee remains and is doing all the shop work.
My worry is that his shop is going under and that I will show up one day to find the place permanently locked and closed and my car will be trapped in red tape and court cases.
Should I just cut my losses and go get my car? Do I trust that he will finish the job? I check on the car twice a week and I get stories about how they are "about to start working on it" but that never happens. The owner is a poor communicator who avoids me and is never at the shop. He is going through a divorce and I'm worried that my car is just not a priority anymore (if it ever was).
I understand that I am getting a good price on the work and I understand that some people wait much longer to get their cars back but I don't want to ignore red flags that can be trouble if I wait. I have heard horror stories about cars getting stripped for parts and cars getting stolen or sold...
What should I do?
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Get that car out! The sanding is done so if you take it somewhere else you might get a little of that back anyway. $5000 honestly seems a little low IMO. So dont be surprised if its more somewhere else but would be worth it if the place us more legit.


Veteran Member
Mar 23, 2014
Ocala, Florida
Have faith… Everything may turn out perfectly fine. :D

And I have a bridge in Brooklyn to sell you.

You’ve been patient and trusted him long enough.

It’s time to bring the car home and out of this bad situation which has the potential to get even worse.
Watch this guy, he already sold that bridge to me and 5 others. LOL!!
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Veteran Member
Oct 9, 2020
Trust your gut. Like others, seems time to get Your car --- but don't you also want recompense? --- suggest talk with attorney YESTERDAY & before any load out. Keep quiet & Don't show your hand unless & until you will overwhelm.


Veteran Member
Sep 24, 2014
Pittsburgh, Pa.
Honestly, I would be surprised if this guy remains in business. I've seen this "house of cards" before. Has the earmarks of failure. Actually, if he has a conscience, he may be relieved if you take your car with everything else he's got going on before it hits the fan.


Veteran Member
Dec 14, 2014
Mobile, AL
Have you picked up your car yet?
Not yet. I will probably do it this week. I reached out to the owner via Messenger (because I cannot get him on the phone) and asked him if he intended to paint my car and he said yes but answered no other questions. I have the car mostly stripped on the outside with all my parts at home, so the windshield is the only part I would need to round up. One of my best friends is an attorney and will help me pick it up...
Thank you guys for your advice!
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Veteran Member
Dec 14, 2014
Mobile, AL
Not really...for a car that has already been body worked and just needs a final sand and shoot...$5K is about what I would expect...especially in Alabama! I had a neighbor who owned a collision shop, and he painted parts for me all the time. I did all the hard work and all he did was final sand, seal and paint. If the goal isn't a glass like show car, you don't need to pay $10K for it.

However, if the agreement was 60 days and now it's 90 and the car is in dire shape, time to tell him your out. Pay him for the labor he did and get refunded the rest. If it's already been this long, it will only be longer if ever!
I agree, In this area this price quote was about average especially since I have done all of the metal work.
Here are 2 cars I had painted within the last 6 years.. The black 67 was painted for $1000 and the 68 convertible was $2600. Unfortunately the guy who was doing my paint died a few years ago and this new person bought his shop...


Veteran Member
Aug 1, 1999
Wow. A black 67 Camaro was/is the car of my dreams. Small block 4 speed with RS package. If it hadn't been for the army showing a lot of interest in me I'd probably had one.