I Just Need You to Finish it For Me

I certainly enjoyed the many questions and conversations I had with the attendees of the 2nd Annual All Wheels Car Show who visited the EMC display of our Projects.

There were several topics that seemed to be on the minds of most of the Hot Rod Guys.

“How much will it cost me to have you guys finish my project?”

This actually was a two part question that started off with , “I have such and such done, and I just need you to finish it for me.” The “such and such” was usually – “ it’s ready for paint” or “ all the metal work is done.”

Once the discussion progressed, it was evident that one of several situations came into play.

  • The owner was acting as the “Contractor”, finding different sub-contractors to do each step from the beginning to the end of his/her project.
  • The cost of the total project or steps got out of hand.
  • The worst! And this happened twice to our 1965 Shelby Owner: The Bills keep coming and no work is done on the project.

I am not attempting to write a “how it is done” piece, we have all heard the phrase “ it doesn’t take any longer to do the job right the first time.” Also true is “when restoring an old house, you start with the foundation.”

Do your homework first!

I had more than a few “heart to heart” conversations with car owners who had unfinished projects and found themselves in a bad spot, wondering what is the best way to finish what had been started. The best advice I can give anyone wishing to do a build or re-build car project is, Do your homework first! Do a lot of article reading. Most important, visit shops that do a complete build. Talk to them about their process. Look at some finished projects, or projects in the process of being finished. The more shops you visit,. the more knowledgeable you will become. I have to say that of all the guys I talked with about their car projects, and there were quite a few, not a single one fully had the understanding about state of the art processes, proper sequence of steps to take, or the right way to do each step of a build.

Tips to consider:

Here are a few tips I think you should consider: Shops that only do a portion of a build or rebuild, are a red flag. All builds or rebuilds should have photo documentation of every step performed, beginning on the day the project arrived. If there are no photos, how will you answer the question “what is under the new paint?” All paint prep should begin at the “Bare Metal” stage by blasting or chemical stripping. If the Body is to be chemically stripped by placing it in a tank, a second tank dipping in a “neutralizer” is a MUST. The bare metal body needs to be Epoxy Primed or E Coated within 24 hours to prevent Surface rust. Epoxy Primer or E Coating ONLY! Primer, bedliner, or undercoating does not prevent or stop rust. Then do any welding or sanding and re-coat the bare metal spots with Epoxy Primer. Bare metal is the “foundation” of the build. There are a lot of right and wrong ways to replace or attach rusty metal or fixed body panels – learn the difference!

So guys and gals – Do your homework! Shop around! And don’t be afraid to ask questions! Prepare yourself for the journey ahead.

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