Restoring: Regular and Show Cars
What is the best restoration process for the body and paint of your car?
How does a typical and a show car restoration look like at West Coast Body and Paint?
What to expect when you’re expecting…
to restore your baby, we mean your car.
To you, your car might be your baby, your first love. It brings back happy memories and wonderful feelings. You might have grown up playing with toy cars and loved them so much that as an adult you finally get to play with the real thing. Maybe you have a car that once belonged to a loved one, or you worked on it with a loved one. Whatever the case maybe, you LOVE the car. And in order for you to want to restore it to its former glory you definitely need to love it and give it even more love, the green kind, money, because a restoration is not for those who want to restore it out of a whim. It’s a commitment. And just like parenting, it’s expensive, it takes time, and it’s hard.
At West Coast Body and Paint we treat all our client’s car like we do our own, with plenty of professionalism and care. Typical body and paint restorations, not show-cars, start at the 17K range and take about 4-6 months to complete. Show-cars can take up to a year. That is why our skillful technicians only work on about two restorations a year this gives them plenty of time to do the job right. Restorations are by appointment only because we have a 2-year waitlist.
Note: West Coast Body and Paint is a body and paint shop ONLY. If you need to have the engine or interior of your car completed you will need to have that done by someone else.
Before The Restoration Begins
After talking to you over the phone, email or text, we would set up an appointment so we may see your vehicle in person. We need to discuss your vision and see how damaged your car really is, externally and internally.
Typical questions we ask are:
- What type of restoration do you have in mind? Do you want a weekend car or show car?
- What type of finish, guarantee, and life do you want for the paint?
- What type of paint quality and materials do you want? Standard or Premium?
For a show car restoration we use all the best paint and materials on the market. Everything premium. On a regular restoration we use the standard paints and materials which are good because they have a lifetime warranty but the finish will not be a show-car style finish.
Cars with a show-car finish are very rare and expensive. On an average restoration we can also use premium materials but it’s at the customer request and with the additional cost. The body work and refinish process labor hours are pretty much set and they are almost the same for a regular and show-car, regardless of what type of materials are used. The average labor hours for a restoration range from 350-450 hours. For more information on our labor rate read about it here.
In many cases people make the mistake of confusing a restoration from a typical body and paint job. A typical body and paint job is when we don’t go all the way down to bare metal. The type of restoration is also based on the condition of the car. Each car is different. To have a better understanding of its current condition, you need to bring your car to the shop for a more accurate estimate range.
Typical things we look for in a car:
- Car’s body lines
- Number of coats of the old paint
- Parts that need replacement or repair
- Previous collisions
- Previous repairs
Once you agree to the estimate and descriptions of the body and paint work that will be performed at West Coast Body and Paint, we get to work. We try to anticipate the amount of work needed but sometimes run into surprises and costs, if that occurs we would inform you immediately. If you plan on adding or modifying from the original agreed upon work estimate please put it in writing so we may discuss it and add any additional costs.
Note: Payment is divided in three installments, the first is at the start, second at the midway point, when the car is ready for paint, and the last payment is due when the car is completed.
We have done several full restorations, four have won awards, each one was around 500-700 hrs of labor plus parts and materials. They each were in the 40k-60K range for just the body and paint, each took about a year to complete.
Our 25-Step Expert Restoration Process
1. Disassemble the entire car.
2. Remove all the old paint and body filler from previous repairs or original paint by sandblast, chemical strip, water strip, or similar methods.
3. When the car’s body is bare metal, we give it an acid bath. An acid bath is to free the metal of any oxidation and make the surface more resistant to rust.
4. The acid bath is rinsed off with water and soap. We make sure it was completely dry then we use grease and wax remover. After we rinse, we prep the metal for the epoxy primer. Blow out the air and then we apply epoxy primer. The epoxy primer is the best anti-rust agent.
5. Next is the body filler, we “skin” the entire vehicle with body filler.
Note: If the car needs any repairs due to previous accidents or damaged, and/or has rusted panels that would need to be repaired or replaced, this is the stage it would happen. The hours would be calculated depending on the severity of the damage.
6. Block sand the entire body of the car to create an even surface. This step can be repeated one more time to assure an even straight body panel.
7. After the body work has been thoroughly checked we spray a polyester primer which is like spraying liquid body filler. The polyester primer is a thick substance, super think, it’s like a liquid coat of bondo. This is done to give the body another coat of bondo as a measure of precaution. Many other body shops don’t do this step because it is very time consuming and additional session of block sanding of each panel. We do this as a precautionary measure to make sure the surface is completely smooth. The results turn-out laser straight.
8. Urethane primer, and then we sand, and block the entire body again.
9. After we make sure that the entire body is completely wave free, we proceed with the seam sealer.
10. Sprayable primer sealer.
11. Matching and mixing the color. In this step, spraying several samples is required until the customer decides which shade he/she likes. This is only based on one color, it can be a two-stage, three-stage, and candies. Candies, two-tone, and several tones combination each stage has its own price depending on the complexity of the color.
12. Apply the color.
13. Apply the clear coat.
14. Some people ask for a show car finish, which means we would need to re-coat with three more coats of clear the entire vehicle to be a total of 6-7 coats of clear, for this process. Three more steps are needed for a show car finish.
15. After leaving the car dry for a minimum of 7 days we begin the process of color sand and buffing 1,000 grade.
16. 1,500 grade.
17. 2,000 grade.
18. 3,000 grade with a 2.5 orbital dual action machine.
19. Wood-pad compound to remove the 3,000 grade sand scratches.
20. Foam-pad polish to remove the ultra-fine compound scratches.
21. Foam-pad ultra-fine polishing.
22. Dual-action machine polish to remove any evidence of swirl marks.
23. Dual-action machine glaze.
24. Dual-action machine wax.
Note: Optional and only if the customer requests it, we offer ceramic coating sealer. Which provides a minimum of six months up to a year of paint protection.
Some of our favorite brands we use are:
And that’s all! In a nutshell, restoring a car is a very intricate job, it takes time, expertise, patience, and you guessed it, money. Let us know if you have any questions in the comments below.
“I came in to West Coast Body & Paint for an estimate on my heavily rusted car roof. Not only was Jaider (the owner) extremely cordial he went over every step process on how he is going to fix the problem and assured me he would finish by a given time, which he delivered. My car went from looking like a bucket car to brand new! This place is definitely a body shop I trust when it comes to referring my friends and family.”
-Adriana C., Los Angeles, CA, 6/23/2016
Please let us know if you have any other questions or want to schedule an appointment, give us a call/text 818.793.7728 or email us email@example.com to talk about your baby, I mean your project. Keep in mind that restorations usually start at 17K and the waitlist is about 2 years long.
If you are not able to come by our shop during normal working hours, you can give us a call or send us an email, and make an appointment when you can come, in most cases we are able to accommodate our clients.