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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
hello guy's i have a 1970 chevelle all original malibu 2 door car ,stock original engine, tranny, 10 bolt, champane gold with white top and white bench seat enterior, i want to do a complete frame off restoration, it does not have any rust issues so it will not need any panels replaced, the pass fender has small dent i was told she would cost appox 40,000 to do a frame off resto on this car and i dont see how it could,i just wanted to get some kind of idea, we live in northern california the shop i asked charges 70.00 per hour for labor please give me your feedback i want to restore her but the money don't sound right i got this car from original owner with all the paper work in glove box since car was built including pop on her best day she is worth 12,500, she is not a ss she is a a/c, 350 s.b. turbo 350 tranny 10 bolt , tilt column , 115,000 original mile car has been garaged most of her life thank you guy,s in advance, mark
 

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Im a little south of St. Louis Mo. and around here that car could be done for 15,000 to 18,000 labor..then add in your parts.if you are rebuilding motor[3000] trans{500] rearend[500] still should be around 25k to 27k.. this is what it would cost around here 45-50 per hour. for a nice car average restro time is about 300 hours. greg
 

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it will cost what ever you allow "them" to charge......:noway:
100% Agree.
If you do it yourself it will cost you half as much and alot of hours that I know. Iam doing a 69 ss convertible and Iam 3/4 done and Iam guessing without all the figures to finish it on the top of my head it will be around
$30K-37K to do mine without all the hours in it of course.
 

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If you are hiring somebody else to do it, then it will be expensive.
If you can do some or most of the work it will be a huge money saver.
Why do a frame off restoration. not every car needs a frame off resto.
just do what it needs.
 

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Welcome to the world of building cars!:D

It would absolutely cost that much to do a frame off restoration. Panel replacement or not. Once you remove the frame you will find all kinds of little things that need replaced because it would not make sense to leave those ugly things on a new car. Those little things add up in a hurry, not to mention the cost to have them installed. A really nice paint job will cost up towards 25% of the 40k. Removing and replacing a frame can cost 5000 or more. Thats just R&R from what I have been told. I am very fortunate because I can do all of that myself. I just replaced the frame on my 66 and it has been a 3.5 month project. Of course I did more than just r&r the frame. So, while your car isnt book value at 40k...it would definitely cost that much to build it to that level. Now you also see why I get irritated with people who think because its a 69 Camaro basket case it is worth 10k because fully restored its worth 40k. It costs too much to build it to make it worth paying 10k for the car. Thats just my opinion though.


Can you do any of the work yourself? Does it have to be a full restoration? You could do a cosmetic restoration at first and then do mechanical stuff later. It wont be a frame off new car but it will still be really nice and you will be closer to having book value in the car than 40k. Best of luck!
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
the car does not need frame off resto i just wanted to get a idea from some sane chevelle owners, im having the same shop do a frame off on my 72 ss 402 chevelle it did need a frame off plus both qtrs replaced he said that one would be appox 590 hrs 40,00.00 in labor and 20,000.00 in parts every thing need,s to be replaced or rebuilt, replated, etc thank you guy,s for being honest
 

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I agree with these guys if you can do most of the work yourself do it. It will save you bundles. I'm doing a frame off on my 67 because it needed it bad. I have help from other people in various areas because I have basic know how, but somethings need to be done by other people like the welding part in my case. If you don't have to do a frame off I would do just what needs to be done. If you do think it needs a frame off, and you want to do it yourself, be prepared to spend alot of time and money. But when done right the rewards are worth it. Because you get to say that you did it. This is the second car I've restored but my first frame off and it's a big difference. Good luck with what ever you choose.
 

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The 40K sounds about right to me especially from a 70.00/hr shop. I have several thoughts on frame off restoration. When you get right down to it a FO is 99% cosmetic. All of the suspension parts will work exactly the same rusty or painted. I don't care how much scrubbing and rubbing you do to an underside, nothing can match the look of a FO on the bottom. Most FO restorations end up looking far better than factory original. A FO driver is good until the first time you get caught in the rain. The condition of a car, within reason, to begin with has little to do with the process for doing a FO.
 

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If you don't feel like paying for a frame off, why are you asking about? I sorry if that sounds rude, but it the best way I could make the point.

Your car clearly does not warrant a frame off. Financially justified or otherwise. If it needs work then just ask about what it needs.

A frame off restoration is costly no matter what. I just did a 55 chevy for guy and all he wanted me to do was the sheetmetal work. He and his brother wanted to do the rest. It cost him about 11k just for my part. I did not make a killing either. the parts for this car are unusually high compared to a Camaro/Chevelle, but the point is valid.

You will always find that a car is much worse that the owner even dreamed once the body is off the frame and the car is blasted. That is why I won't give a solid price. If the customer insist on a carved-in- stone price, then I will just make it sky high.

Reconsider wht you want and get back to us.


Larry
 

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hello guy's i have a 1970 chevelle all original malibu 2 door car ,stock original engine, tranny, 10 bolt, ...... mark
Guarantee it will cost more than it will be worth, so plan accordingly. I seen a number of people do one and do it right only to sell the car a year or 2 afterwards and sell it at a loss compared to what they have in it. Also plan on more than anybody quotes, as you will find hidden treasures(costs $$$$) as you go.
 

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My sone and I bought 68 with a 10 bolt, pontiac 400 and a turbo 350. The car was in a lot worse shape once we started doing a complete frame off. We decided to do most of the work ourselves to save $$$.

We had the all frame parts , suspension sandblasted and repainted them. $1000

We replaced the engine with a Chevy 350 and rebuilt it new pistons, intake, crank, carb headers, exhaust. $1500-$2000

We rebuilt the trani. Replaced the rear with a 12 bolt. $1600

The entire floor pan, supports, trunk pan, quarters, inner and outer wheel wells, rockers, trunk lid, fenders, wheel wells, and rearbumper. We hired a reasonable body shop to do this work. I didn't know how to weld or do the metal work myself. $14K.

Had I known how, the welder would have cost me $500-600 and a plasma cutter about same. Bottle etc....$300 including gas. I could have done most of the work myself and saved $10K.

AS the work was being completed I went to the shop and set up a sandblasting tent and sandblasted the entire body. Cost of dust collector and sandblaster about $350 including sand.

We also bought a stand alone sandblasting cabinet for the garage to sandblast the smaller parts and paint them with POR 15. $300.00

Cost of a 13 year old burned out compressor? $400

The interior needs all new rags. $1000-$1500.

We still have to paint the car. We figure that to be at about $1500 doing it ourselves.

Right now I'm guessing it'll be $25K to get it street ready by May.

We learned lessons the hard way as I believe most of us do diving into these projects. The experience my son and hae had is irreplacable as well as the people who haved helped us, guided us and offered advice has been great. We'll have new friends we wouldn't have met other wise.

Do I dare say it? Priceless.

Good luck.
 

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Fixing up old cars isn't cheap, whether you do it yourself or pay someone else to do it for you. Even if you have the time or are willing to take your time with it and learn the skills as you go, the cost of acquiring or borrowing tools and equipment add up. But if you do it for the enjoyment and experience, it's all good. :thumbsup:
 

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I am in the process or restoring a 69 Charger. This car will cost me half of what my 70 Chevelle cost me to restore. I am doing everything on the Charger myself, and I mean everything (mechanical and cosmetic). I already did all the sheetmetal work, the bodywork is 95% done, and I will be painting it, myself, in about 2 weeks or so. Only cost I have in it are parts, which will total around $15,000 or so.
My 69 malibu cost me just a shade over $13,000 to restore, frame off. I did everything on that car except the bodywork and paint.
Lastly, $70/hour seems a bit high. That's almost double of what body shops around here cost.
 

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I have a 69 chevelle and replaced engine (502 now), transmission, rearend (moser 12 bolt), brakes (wilwood discs), suspension (hotchkis), etc. Once we removed the body from the frame it became painfully obvious that a lot more money would be needed to bring the car back to life. Parts that came with the car were in bad shape and could not be re used. I needed to replace everything from wiring to interior. The body was in bad shape too. New rear quarter skins, trunk, and gas tank were needed. (did I mention I live in Juneau, AK; rust is the word for cars up here). New bumpers, all new brake lines and fuel lines,... the list goes on. I am doing all the work in my garage...it is a father, son project. This will end up costing approx 40K (that includes shipping parts to Juneau, approx 2.5K) when the tuxedo black is finally dry.

Ed
 

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My sone and I bought 68 with a 10 bolt, pontiac 400 and a turbo 350. The car was in a lot worse shape once we started doing a complete frame off. We decided to do most of the work ourselves to save $$$.

We had the all frame parts , suspension sandblasted and repainted them. $1000

We replaced the engine with a Chevy 350 and rebuilt it new pistons, intake, crank, carb headers, exhaust. $1500-$2000

We rebuilt the trani. Replaced the rear with a 12 bolt. $1600

The entire floor pan, supports, trunk pan, quarters, inner and outer wheel wells, rockers, trunk lid, fenders, wheel wells, and rearbumper. We hired a reasonable body shop to do this work. I didn't know how to weld or do the metal work myself. $14K.

Had I known how, the welder would have cost me $500-600 and a plasma cutter about same. Bottle etc....$300 including gas. I could have done most of the work myself and saved $10K.

AS the work was being completed I went to the shop and set up a sandblasting tent and sandblasted the entire body. Cost of dust collector and sandblaster about $350 including sand.

We also bought a stand alone sandblasting cabinet for the garage to sandblast the smaller parts and paint them with POR 15. $300.00

Cost of a 13 year old burned out compressor? $400

The interior needs all new rags. $1000-$1500.

We still have to paint the car. We figure that to be at about $1500 doing it ourselves.

Right now I'm guessing it'll be $25K to get it street ready by May.

We learned lessons the hard way as I believe most of us do diving into these projects. The experience my son and hae had is irreplacable as well as the people who haved helped us, guided us and offered advice has been great. We'll have new friends we wouldn't have met other wise.

Do I dare say it? Priceless.

Good luck.

The experience is Priceless...I agree!
It all adds up, parts, time, labor....
Some of the best cars to start with are unfinished projects where the majority of the parts have already been purchased. Often the sale price can be 50% of the seller's investment.
 

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I'm glad I stumbled across this post as I'm having somewhat of a difficult time trying to budget for a project that I'm considering. I understand that shops need to make money on jobs, and that a frame off restoration will probably cost more than what you'd be able to sell the car for. I also fully understand that some shops are catering to show quality trailer queens and that drives up the cost of restoration.

What I don't understand, however is how some of the small shops with less overhead can charge $80/hr and estimate that the average number of hours for a car can exceed 1000. Is it reasonable to pay $80,000 in labor for a run of the mill restoration plus the cost of parts?

I'm currently considering a really nice car, but I don't think we'll be able to come to terms on the price. I'm by no means trying to undercut the seller, but is this really an 80K build? I'm new to the hobby and am just soliciting thoughts and advise , and not knocking the seller. It's just hard to understand and justify the price swings.
 

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I think some of your cost is dependent on your goal. If you want a show car, it will cost more than a daily driver. Plus as stated, if you have the ability to do the work your self, you'll save a bunch.

I'm doing the wife's 67 chevelle, frame off. It's not going to be a show car but a daily driver. I personally just think a frame off is so much easier than fighting the chassis with the frame on. Pretty much everything on the car is new except frame and body. I literally wanted a brand new car (plus performance upgrades) so it'd be safe for the wife. all said and done, since I'm doing EVERYTHING myself, I can safely say I won't go over $20,000. It'll never win any awards but it'll be fun, safe and decent to look at. If I had to pay labor, with the upgrades I made, $40,000 would not be unreasonable. at the same time I'd expect a lot more from the final product.
 

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Just for kicks,(I don't have any money)I took a bunch of pictures of my Chevelle and went around to a few local recommended shops for an opinion/ball park idea of what it would cost to replace the rusty panels. If they were busy I didn't take up their time I came back later. This was just replacing Quarters,Trunk,Rear Window area and a few other damaged things. I was going to remove the interior and back seat. No paint just primer. The average quote was $5000 for each quarter, $3000 for the trunk, $3000 for the rear window area. Now I know your not talking about replacing panels, but you can see where the labor costs add up real quick. The numbers above were just the average, and I quickly figured out who was interested and who was not. The places that were interested agreed to never make the car unmovable except removing the Gas Tank. And if they found anything else while in any area they would let me know whatever additionally needed to be replaced. So my original guesstamate of $20,000 was pretty close.
 

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Depends what you can or want to do on car yourself. I split my frame of into 2 parts. First I took out what I could to make his strip job easier. I had a guy do the stuff I could not do such as the frame off stuff and welding of panels along with a bunch of special projects I wanted him to do. He had the body cradle, paint equipment (he did not paint car). He did a mini tub for me fixed a bunch of stuff powder coated frame and parts etc. He then delivered car back to me which I then reassembled a lot of the car (new wiring, interior etc.). I think he was like 250-300 hours and I put in another 200 hours putting it back together.
 
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