My favorite call is “How much for an auto restoration?” I usually respond with something like “How much is supper?” It depends on your goal…
The short answer is, a frame of restoration of your classic, muscle car, or antique car is really expensive. If the car is in good shape, a low price is $45,000. That would be a car that is pretty complete, doesn’t have much rust, and is easy to get parts for.
Restoration of an antique auto, the price is quite a bit more, in the $80,000 range for a concourse style job. Muscle cars are less because they are generally simpler. Something like a Cadillac, with 6 power windows, power seats, auto-dimming headlights, will be somewhere in between.
But honestly, less of the work we do is actually frame-off auto restorations. Most of the time people have a budget that doesn’t allow for a full auto restoration of their cool car. I suppose the typical job is a ’68 Camaro with some rust, a bum engine, and mouse-house interior.
In that case the auto restoration is more in the $30,000 range. That is the typical job. And pretty often the customer has so much fun while the car is with us, the price grows a little bit because they start adding to the job! Start thinking about a big motor while your auto is getting restored, and it’s pretty hard to get to sleep nights! An engine rebuild is about $6,000 when you consider radiator rebuild, carburetor rebuild, alternator, new water pump, hoses, belts…a new crate engine is only a couple grand more, but look! That 450 HP one is only a couple grand more… See how it happens?!
Most people who call for a restoration of their antique, classic, or muscle auto, aren’t really thinking of frame-off auto restoration, when it really comes down to it. ‘Perfect’ is great, who doesn’t like a perfect car! But there’s kids and houses and savings and all these other things that get in the way of satisfying the 12 year old inside us, so maybe a killer paint job, big motor, and a new interior are the new definition of perfect!
And to be honest, that’s just the right car for many people. A ’57 Chevy that’s been with you for a while, maybe putting a modern overdrive automatic in it, and keeping the original 283 is just the ticket! That is about a $3,000 job. We can paint the car for you, if there isn’t much rust, for about $9,000. And that’s a great paint job! You’ll be looking great as you drive around, hit a local car cruise, or enter an outdoor show. Disc brakes in front adds a little, and we can install a great sound system and new carpet while the car is with us, too.
So defining auto restoration is key to our good relationships with our customers. I never disappoint people who have reasonable goals and a reasonable budget. We like our work, and we like our customers! Wanna join the fun? Call anytime and let’s talk about what auto restoration means to you! Fiat, Camaro, Cadillac, Mustang, Caprice, Cord, we love them all, and would be happy to ‘restore’ it for you!!