Classic Car Repairs
Classic cars require special care and sometimes a bit of unique repair. Fortunately, modern times also mean up-to-date solutions for many antique automotive fixes. So, we asked our Dan Maffett to give us the details on MotorWeek’s “Your Drive.”
DAN MAFFETT: There’s nothing better than finding an old project car at a great price. If you’re anything like me, there’s always room for one more project. If you’re taking on this project yourself and you’re not a trained body-man or mechanic, you might reach a point where you have to hire a professional to get that build across the finish line.
There’s a lot of shops out there. Most of them specialize in a certain style of build. The shop that does your concourse-original car might not be the shop that does your weekend racecar. Likewise, there’s some shops that are brand-specific. So, if you’re part of a Jeep club or a Chevy club, they might have a shop they can recommend that they trust.
Now, if you have an old car like this— a ’55 Bel Air that’s one of the most popular cars ever made— you can get a panel for everything in here. You can replace the fender, you can replace the hood; everything’s available aftermarket. You just cut out the rust, get your patch panel in there, trim it to fit, and replace it any you’re good. But, if you have something unique that doesn’t have aftermarket support, you’re gonna have to find a coach builder. Now, coach builders are few and far between nowadays; but, they are trained artists. Their medium is metal. They can take a flat piece of steel and reproduce this entire car from scratch. You might be asking ‘how do you know you have the right shop?’ Well, you want to do a deep dive. Look in your area, see what shops are available, see if any are close enough you can gotake a look at. Look at their reviews, look at their social medias… see if their style matches what you’re trying to do.
Now, you wanna take a look at the reviews and sort them worst-to-greatest and greatest-to-worst. You want to look at the bad and the good. You want to know everything about the shop before you trust them with something like this. A build like this is a big investment, so you want to make sure it’s a smart investment. Visit the shop, talk to the owners, make sure you click; ‘cause with some projects taking six months, some of them taking over two years, you’re gonna build a relationship with them. So, make sure that is gonna be a good one as well.
Now, pay structures can vary depending on projects; but, most shops are time and material or deposit-based, where they have a lump sum and you pay it down every month. So, do your research, find the right shop to make your dream car a reality.
Any questions or comments, hit us up right here at MotorWeek.