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Process

The road to perfection is paved with small details...

Good communication is the best way to assure the finished product we provide exceeds your expectations. We start with a conversation about the car you own or have always wanted to own and explore how it fits into your future. Will you use it on weekends? Shows? Competitive events? The majority of vehicles we restore are for occasional personal use. Many have been owned by a family member since new. Some have been to college with one child then another. Some represent the car or truck you always wanted but couldn't afford until now, but unfortunately they haven't aged as well as you have. Sometimes our customers just want the vehicle back they regret selling years ago.

The vehicles we restore are expected to hold their value, but restoration costs will often exceed market value. Assuming it's not a purely emotional decision, there are some moderating factors to consider. First, if the project is to serve as regular transportation, what are your other options? A new car can cost far more, plus they're harder to pick out in a parking lot. If you spent the same money on a used vehicle, what will you spend to reach the same level of confidence in it that you have in your restoration project with a known history? From and investment standpoint, vehicle value is determined by market demand and the number of good examples left. Production numbers are important initially, but the number available on the market in good condition is a more reliable benchmark. It's how high production vehicles become valuable, there simply aren't many left.  Multiple people will "put up" a new car they expect to be a classic one day, but everyday cars are treated as appliances and driven until death. In hindsight people realize how good they were, but try and find one now. 

Most of the vehicles we restore do something very few new cars and trucks can, they appreciate as you drive them. Many customers restore a vehicle to diversify their portfolio, recognizing that a car in your garage can't lose 100% of its value overnight, plus they're just a lot more fun than a quarterly statement.

Restore a vehicle you're passionate about, that you've always loved, and that you want to pass down to the family member who appreciates it as much as you do.  

Step 1-Initial Consultation

Contact us to discuss the restoration project you have in mind. Share the vehicle you have that you want to give a second life to, or describe the one you're looking for. Go ahead, it's free, just click here.  We will try to determine the scope and cost of the project based on what you want, and otherwise try to establish parameters so you can give further thought to proceeding. Limits are generally imposed by budget and good judgment, not by our ability to execute anything you can imagine.

Step 2-The Vehicle

Start with the best chassis you can find. For most models this means your search area should be nationwide, as the amount you can save by starting with a good example will greatly outweigh the cost of transport. It may also take months to find the "right" example.

Visible rust on your existing car isn't always a problem. Some vehicles have "weak points" that deteriorate regardless of climate and use. If rust is limited to these areas, it may not be as serious as you think, let us assess it and determine the cost of repair. In some cases this will exceed the cost of simply starting with another chassis, we can transfer the engine and other components so it's still "your car."  If you don't have the car or truck you want, then we'll help you find one. Southern and Western chassis are usually in the best condition, and the money you save on rust repair will offset the up front expense  many times over. If the prospective vehicle is at some distance, we will usually arrange for a local shop to inspect the vehicle before purchase.

Step 3-Transport

Before we can do a proper assessment, we must be able to inspect your vehicle in person. We can provide local transport (contact for quote), for longer distances a commercial car transport company is the most cost effective. There are two kinds of transport, enclosed and open carrier. For unrestored vehicles, open transport is less expensive but your vehicle will be exposed during it's move. Enclosed transport is strongly suggested for restored vehicles. You are also welcome to deliver your vehicle in person, we'll provide shuttle service if you need it.

Enclosed Transport

Intercity

Horseless Carriage

DAS

 

 Multiple Submission Sites, Open Transport

http://www.carshipping.com

http://www.autotransport411.com/new/index.php

 

Step 4-Assessment

We must be able to inspect your vehicle in person to provide a detailed estimate. Pictures simply won't suffice. We have a flat fee of $200 for the assessment, which includes mechanical, chassis, body work/paint, and interior inspection and estimation.

Step 5-Estimate

Our estimates are provided in a simple spreadsheet format, divided into 3 main sections: mechanical repairs, paint and body, and interior restoration. Parts are listed individually along with descriptions and pricing, labor operations are paired with the parts and priced, and sublet work (paint, interior, etc) is described and priced. It's the best way for you to see exactly what goes into your project. Your estimate will also include suggested services, parts and repairs that are suggested due to age or mileage. Notations offering further explanation for the reason a part or service is required or suggested are included.

Step 6-Revisions

There may be some things on your estimate that aren't important to you or are not in your budget. There may be some additional items you want included. There should always be questions. Often revisions are best accomplished in person over the phone as we both have the spreadsheet to work from. Eventually we come up with a final estimate that meets your needs and budget, and the spreadsheet becomes our master build sheet.

Step 7-Deposit Schedule

Initial Deposit-60%

Second Deposit-25%

Balance at completion

Step 8-Tear Down

With the scope of the job determined, work can begin in earnest. On complete restorations or a project getting attention in more than one area (engine/body/interior) these components are removed so that our craftsman can work on them concurrently, saving time. During tear down it is common to discover additional parts or service that may be required despite the thoroughness of our evaluation. These additional items are estimated and provided to you with pictures if needed. Sometimes we send pictures just to scare you (yes, we can put all that back together and it will work ).  This is also the time to pre-fit any modified parts. If holes need to be added or filled, suspension points need to be moved, battery trays deleted or relocated, or brackets need to be fabricated, doing it before paint and body work is always the best policy.

Step 9-Work In Progress

This is the long part of the project. Weeks and months pass while the body is stripped, repaired, and returned to better than new condition. Engines, transmission and other components are torn down, machined and rebuilt. Leather is patterned and hand sewn to fit perfectly. Custom parts are ordered, manufactured and shipped. Sub-assemblies are rebuilt, repaired, sand blasted, painted, powder coated, plated and assembled so they're ready for installation when the chassis returns. There is very little that's recognizable as your vehicle, but we have ways of making it exciting and keeping you involved...

Step 9A-Photo Documentation

 We've found the best way to keep you up-to-date and excited is to provide a record of the build as we go. Pics are posted to a dedicated page on our site for your car, we'll send you a note when your bi-weekly updates are available. It's also a great way to share your project with friends and family, co-workers, or anyone else who has an interest in the "new" vehicle you'll be driving soon.  

Step 10-Putting it all together

We finally reach a point where we have what amounts to a "new" vehicle in kit form, ready for assembly. This is where pre-fitting new components pays off as theoretically they're now "bolt on." A new headliner will have been installed if that needs to happen with the glass removed. The sound deadening that was removed from the floors, etc. can now be replaced. Wiring for stereo, and accessories is laid before the new carpet goes back in. Glass can go back in with new gaskets. Door mechanicals can be refitted and adjusted. Drive line, suspension, interior all get fitted. This is also the place where most cars that are "90% restored" come from. The last 10% of assembly takes as much effort as the first 90%.

Step 11-Quality Control

One of the most valuable services we offer is actually free. A restored vehicle needs to be driven to reveal any deficiencies that keep it from being 100% functional. We put miles on our projects in real-world environments. We live with them. It's be best way to assure the car we return to you is as trouble free as possible.  The standard is mechanical perfections, and our goal is for you to have little more to do than wash it, put fuel in it and enjoy it after it goes back home. If you live some distance from our shop, we strongly encourage you to come inspect your restoration before it's returned to you. It's the best way we've found to make sure the vehicle we return to you is exactly as you expected it would be.

Step 12-Delivery

The return of your vehicle is scheduled after work is complete. Scheduling pick up in anticipation of a completion date means a rush to finish and adversely affects the quality we want to provide. Between completion and pick up our projects get a final detail, buffing (if needed), and allows time for our certified appraiser to come in and document the value of your "new" vehicle (see below)

Step 13-Service after the Sale

By the time your project is completed it's as much a part of our lives as it is yours, and we're here as long as you own it to answer questions and provide technical support. If you have a local shop that handles your maintenance and repairs, simply provide our contact info to them. If you're traveling in our area, stop by, whether you need any work done or not. It's always rewarding to see our projects being driven and enjoyed!

Insuring your restored vehicle

Our appraiser uses replacement value for your vehicle, not market value. This is the best way to establish value in advance of someone else damaging your project. Some classic car insurance companies require this, but most just want pictures and a general description, you are free to pick a stated or agreed value policy that suits your needs. The good new is that while many collector car policies have mileage and storage requirements, they usually cost much less than a policy for your daily driver and with higher coverage. Some of the companies who specialize in protecting your investment are listed below.  You may also contact your existing insurance agent to see if they offer specialized policies.

Hagerty

Heacock Classic

Grundy

American Collectors

Geico Collector