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Old 03-02-2005, 03:37 AM
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High prices for a paint job?

Someone posted a thread about a paint job costing $5k. Then it disappeared

Perhaps it was a senior moment I had. Or the pitcher of margaritas

Originally Posted by twr
Will anybody pay 5K just for a paint job?
You bet people pay $5K and more for a quality paint job. I know a fellow in Burbank who charges a minimum of $10k to paint a Rolls, Mercedes, or similar sized car and his finished product is flawless every time. George Barris' shop in North Hollywood charges $5,000 for a "no frills" paint job.

Why so much at Burbank Coachworks? It's because every car is stripped of it's panels and ALL paint is stripped off. Any dings or dents are either hammered out or leaded before air filing to complete smoothness. NO other body filler is used. Rusty panel that is no longer available? He makes a new one by hand on an English wheel.

He has a 16 X 40 X 30 paint booth plumbed with a three inch water line and a Halon system and infared heating lamps. Because he has a waterfall trap after the main filters he is able to legally spray those paint products that are otherwise outlawed in the Republic of California. It cost him a mere $230k for the booth and around $8k a year in permit fees.

Then he has the really expensive paint jobs where he removes the entire drive train and suspension and puts the car on a revolving spit so his men can easily get to every square inch of the car. The suspension is powder coated and all rubber is replaced. The entire car is stripped to bare metal. All wiring is removed and if a new loom is needed, he makes them up in his shop. All the seals and gaskets are replaced and if they are no longer available he has Barry Controls make them for him on their rubber mills. Every nut, bolt, and screw is treated in some fashion, whether it's chromed, powder coated, anodized, or cad plated. Assembly is done with all new fasteners.

He sends the power train out to a mechanic's shop to have the components powder coated or painted with Immron epoxy paint. Sometimes he uses our shop for that.

The owner often has the interior done at Thomas Tops in Hollywood. Hand stitched glove leather runs around $15k.

His bill on a 1955 300SL Gullwing was $58,000 (took 24 months). Restoration on a 1957 Porsche Speedster was $41,000 (14 months). A 1967 427 Cobra was $40,000 (8 months). A 1957 Chevy ran $24,000 (seven months). A pair of 1978 Porsche 935's ran $36,000 for the matched pair (12 months). A 1974 Berlinetta Boxer was $45,000 ( 24 months). A GTB4 Dayton Spyder was $55,000 (18 months). A 1972 917K ran $32,000 (18 months). He charged me $18,000 each for doing two of my Porsches (12 months and 18 months). These are cars from my first hand knowledge and I don't know about most of the cars he finishes. He ships world wide.

His shop and the one where I work have several things in common: No advertizing, no signage, no phone book listing, and by referal only. He usually has thirty to fifty cars on his lot.

You can get farther with a smile and a gun than you can with just a smile.

1984 300D
1985 300CD
1980 300SD
1993 SL500

Last edited by Tirebiter; 03-02-2005 at 10:04 AM. Reason: too harsch and unnecessary
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Old 03-02-2005, 04:34 AM
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Location: Kansas City, MO, USA
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My clearcoat is peeling from several parts of my 300SD. However I will not dig a lot of money into a repaint. Maaco is having a $250 special that I'll use to just have a layer of the same color put back on top. That'll do.
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Old 03-02-2005, 06:42 AM
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If what you say about Burbank Coachworks is fact, then by my experience, you are getting a lot of quality for not much money. I'm serious.
95 SL500 Smoke Silver, Parchment 64K
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Old 03-02-2005, 07:04 AM
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I have a friend that restores cars in his back yard shop. He just finished a '68 Camaro RS SS for a fella (new BB crate engine) and did a beautiful job with it. The "customer" brought it to him already apart. It took him 16 months and he only charged $6500. He said NEVER AGAIN because the price he agreed on at the start was WAY too low. This was a full rotissari restoration too.

Last edited by engatwork; 03-02-2005 at 03:46 PM.
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Old 03-02-2005, 07:48 AM
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I am really glad those statistics were posted about the length of time and the price of good paint jobs...

I have painted two cars in my lifetime.... so I know how large a job it is... you are sick of looking at the project long before you get through...

The two I painted were both mine and I suspect bracketed the spectrum. One was a 1973 Superbeatle....and the other a 1964 Lincoln. One had fenders, hood, trunk which unbolted easily. The other did not...and being ' slab sided and painted black' was about the least forgiving situation possible....

When you start quoting YEARS to get a car back from a paint job it is the result of what I have been saying in other threads.... when you put paint on you need to wait weeks before you touch it for the next process... and as anyone who has painted a car knows it involves many coats of primer , often of different colors, and careful sanding between applications.... this translates to weeks and weeks sitting time.

However, I don't want this view of painting to discourage DIY'ers from tackling your own car. If you follow a few simple rules and are serious about it you can do the same kind of job as Barris does... maybe not in one application.. but the most important thing is the rub out... I can paint a car with a Brush and you can not tell it.... all you have to do is put it on heavy enough and know how to take it back down to what should be left to look good... It is also possible to paint sections at a time.. like a door, a hood, a trunk lid, and no one be able to tell the difference when you get through.... and I am talking a beautiful paint job.. one everyone will think cost you an arm and a leg... some simple rules and lots of Elbow Grease ( air powered ).
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Old 03-02-2005, 08:18 AM
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I am respraying a roof with 199 gray this weekend.. LOL, I'll let you know how it turns out.

15 years ago I had a 280se repainted for about 1500.... it turned out to be a solid job, not perfect, but solid.

I could easily see spending 5k if the car had some long term value to it. However, I just drive my cars.
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Old 03-02-2005, 09:04 AM
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A really good paint job is very labour intensive, so the old adage "You get what you pay for" definitely applies.

The new paint processes can look good even with relatively unskilled application, but with any paint job it is the time and care of the preparation that is critical. That is where the money should be spent. My 911 was painted before I purchased it by a real craftsman in Toronto who today regularly charges $7k - $10k for a complete paint job. 15 years later I still get asked where did I just get it painted - its that good
1991 M-B 560SEL Arctic White/Grey 99,000 Miles
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Old 03-02-2005, 10:52 AM
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I paid $1300 for a complete repaint on the Jetta. I removed everything that was bolted, cliped or glued on. Everything. The car was completely gone over for dents, dings, etc. sealed, primed, sanded again and shot with Akzo-Nobel paint that allows primer, color and clear all when its wet. It came out very well. Looks like new. Even a cheap paint job can look great if you take the time to pull everything off the car. The problem I see with many MB's is they don't pull the trim, body cladding (SD's), bumpers and rubber, SUNROOF! and the paint looks okay until you start noticing the overspray on the weatherstripping, sunroof felts, etc. If you spent a couple days unbolting everything and then take it to Maaco or Earl Sheib it will come out great. And you have control of how it goes back together. If I ever bother to do the 300D it will likely have a $2500-$3000 paint job. Why? They don't make 'em anymore and I would want it done right. Even a complete restoration, done DIY, is much cheaper than a new car. So yes I can believe paying $5K+ for paint. It all depends if it is worth it to you. RT
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Old 03-02-2005, 11:11 AM
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My error in judgment

Originally Posted by engatwork
What is "no cops" supposed to mean?
I deleted the two words "no cops" from my post. It was an unnecessary statement that added nothing to the subject at hand. I refuse to be a willing spreader of hate. My bad.

Although the inclusion of that statement was an error in judgment on my part, it remains true that he and the owner of the shop where I work do not service anyone who works for or has retired from law enforcement.

The body shop owner's twenty eight year old unarmed cousin was murdered on his own front porch. Shot sixteen times. It was witnessed by his two children and his wife. The court ruled that the cops were in fear of their lives by a man clad only in a pair of gym shorts. He remains dead.

My shop owner went through the mill while he lived in Texas. His land and his family's possessions were taken under forfeiture laws because his neighbor, a Texas ranger, found marijuana growing in his garden. He lived in a 24 foot box van with his wife and three children for two years before the court found that the "marijuana" was actually a mulberry bush.

I have my reasons also but their justification has no place here on the best damn Mercedes board there is.

If you ask some of our members, by posting on the open discussion board, about their experiences with law enforcement you will probably get more than an earful.
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Old 03-02-2005, 12:42 PM
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Even though my uncle was a cop and I have goods friends that are also, I don't have anything against his business practice. For whatever reason he had (and a good one it is), he can refuse to do business with whomever he wishes. In fact, I admire his fortitude.
Michael LaFleur

'05 E320 CDI - 86,000 miles
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'85 300SD - 150,000 miles (sold)
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Old 03-02-2005, 02:05 PM
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$5k is about right for a good paint job, thats what I will probably put into my SDL in a year or two to bring the body up to snuff.

But I will do a lot of stuff myself like:
Hang two new front fenders
Remove every peice of trim

The shops job will be to take out the dents and make it smooth. Then spray the paint.

I may wet sand it after that or the shop.

Not to mention $1k of that $5k will be to get the plastic repainted.

Also all of the aluminum trim will either be re anodized or replaced. The chrome will be redone as well.

I might be able to do this myself with the help of my Uncle, he has restored a few cars. He can cherry a body to better then new. But I bet it will still cost me $2k in supplies.
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Old 03-02-2005, 03:35 PM
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I am a little leary of spending a lot of effort on a 123 type because of the poor adhesion of the original clear coat. Stripping to bare metal and working the surface up is a lot of effort but perhaps the only way to really do some of them properly. One could sand the clearcoat off pretty well and use a couple of coats of two part primer and go from there and in fact is probably what i will land up doing this year. Cost of materials to do at home probably 500.00 usd range and lots of elbow grease. Not the best job but there are limitations that should be observed when working on an average example. Unfortunatly body supplies and paint products cost more in canada so to even hit the five hundred range will have to import them from the states. A flyer from smart shoppers in louisville kentucky may save you quite a few dollars. Some of their product has worked well for me in past and quite reasonable as well. Probable a lot of firms in the states simular to that one but have not found them yet. Just my opinions others will vary. Guess it also depends what you want to land up with. I find it very time intensive to block out a car a few times but not doing it is not an option for me. With stripping to bare metal 5k is probably not unreasonable using the best materials at all.
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Old 03-02-2005, 06:12 PM
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Why don't you check your local auto paint supply store and ask them about a sealer. If it is only your clear coat coming off and the paint itself is good you might just take that off and use the sealer and the top coat.
Everything you buy should be from the same company with the supplier saying they are made to be used together....
Also , you need to test these things in a hidden area to see if there are any adverse reactions...
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Old 03-02-2005, 07:52 PM
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pic of the Camaro many months ago

I wish I had gotten a pic of the finished product. It is hard to believe that my friend agreed to build this car back up for what he did. This is the kind of friend I like to hang out with and learn from.

My friend still wonders what in the world made him say he would do this car for the little amount that he did. Oh yea, the fella that owns it spared NO expense on NEW parts when it was going back together - chrome, new crate 396, interior - everything.

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