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Costs of the restoration hobby

From: Bill in SD
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Date: November 19, 2003


I guess this post in is in response to junkbeach boy's post. I guess first of all any item is only worth what another person is willing to pay for it. People out there and even people on this board have sold say 58 bumper wings for $600 for just a front pair. Now when I bought my entire car for $350 and it ran and drove and only had 35000 miles I can't see spending that type of cash for a chrome accent part that will not make the car run any better. I agree that the cost of the hobby has gone through the roof. As of the first of the new year (2004) I'm starting my own restoration shop here in South Dakota. The main reason is because, like you, I'm fed up with getting ripped off. Parts cost a lot of money but it's the labor that really hurts. Recently my wifes 98 Plymouth Breeze was having some problems and got a fault code. I don't have a computer diagnostic machine to read the code. I took it to another shop. I got charged $70 for them to check the code and to tell me that a spark plug wire had damage that was on the inside of the wire. And they also checked all of the spark plugs which I had changed about 5000 miles ago. They wanted to charge me an additional $165 to change spark plugs and put on a new set of wires. I was able to do it myself for only $40 and that includes a lifetime guarentee on both the wires and plugs. It took not even 10 min. The shop was going to charge me an additional $125 for a ten minute job. Same with our hobby. I was told it would cost $350 to replace my brakes pads and turn the drums on my 58 Plymouth and it would be close to $800 if I also wanted the master cylinder replaced. I was able to do every thing including flush the lines multiple times for well under $200. Same with painting. $3500 at another shop or $500 myself. The more you can do yourself the better you are. Check the body shops in your area. Around here the average is $45 to $60 an hour. I'm going to charge $25 an hour for general labor and I'm not going to jack up the price of the parts either. What they cost me is what they are going to cost the customer. Sometimes you gotta take things into your own hands. My car will have cost around $8000 for a complete rebuild and half of that I've stuck into the engine. It would probably cost me $16,000 to $24,000 if I had someone else do all of the work. I was able to buy a complete parts car with the sport side trim for $20. Hunt around a bit and you'll luck out.


Last changed: July 19, 2018