the question: Paint and materials(materials is everything not liquid) dedicated to a 356 from hand stripping (no disassembly) thru polishing figure $3500 if you are going to do your own work; add 30% or so if you are going to have a professional. (Media blast all over in the range of $2000 plus transportation; chemical at a proven shop, epoxied range $3000 plus transportation....both at cost). Yeah there is cheap but if the car is to be red, it will definitely be that much with base coat at $250 a quart times three so you have some left over) Then metal work and that is not the question, but the implication for a painter is that he should be able to walk up to the car, do some detail cleaning and wax/grease removing and begin the process. Of course the time to do the filler or primer depends on how much damage, how much rust repair was done and that can range from nothing to a lot, and this is where a "range" that means anything gets sticky.
But my experience of 35 years painting tells me it is a rare painter that can get it done in 160 hours and the result will be equal to new and long lasting. 200 hours, mayby plus polish. It is not just about time, but about experience and dedication. I have also learned to not get into bidding on a job when the customer's focus is on price and that is his driving motivation. I have seen plenty of disasters due to that focus, some recently, where after the work is in process the owner begins to understand that the car is a long way from being painted but he has paid what he thought it was going to cost. The worst one a guy had bought NOS panels for the entire car, except the roof. (including NOS hood, doors, deck lid and bumpers) After the car was in primer he decided enough was enough and brought the car for us to "paint". The car looked good as a shell, but when we couldn't get the doors on for a preliminary fit we knew we had stepped into a mess. Suffice to say, he probably had spend at least $60,000 on the car to that point. We had to cut the car completely apart (after we got the spray on bondo off that was an inch thick in some places), jack the inner panels back into place and finish the car. There is one in our area now where the owner has paid a shop reportedly $25,000 to ruin his car and he thinks they can now fix it......
So, to do the actual paint process for an as-new with current paint finishes, a responsible range would be $8000 on the low end by a professional 356 shop up to say, $13,000. Plus materials. Some charge more but those figures fit reasonably in the Texas market, and if you really want perfect (I have never see perfect, although I have seen a whole lot of really good work) that might require painting the car more than once, just pick a number. Now if you want to go to a regular body shop, I know a few folks that got really burned on that approach; not that it won't work but you have to realize they are into 'production', not restoration.
The general attitude of some that post here seem to think restorers both mechanical and body, as well as parts sellers are just getting rich. Let me correct that assumption. Perhaps one or two percent of the restorers are doing well but I expect most make a living, get by but do this because they like the cars and have a long relationship with them, and they like their customers. Do they have a condo in the Swiss Alps...not hardly unless they have other endeavors. There are also crooks out there.
Now if you are going to do it yourself, materials and the necessary equipment are all you need. Of course, your time has no value; you trade that for the thrill of doing your own work and that is exactly how I got started. However, I started with lacquer, not entirely without adverse affects but nothing like the carcinogen laced materials of today which requires substantial personal and environmental expenses, and coming home to roost next year for everyone. Check EPA 40 CFR Part 63.National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants: Paint Stripping and Miscellaneous Surface Coating Operations at Area Sources
None of this is a "secret"; it is the same in every business. But cost should not be the primary factor if you really want it done right by someone that knows what they are doing. It is not a good idea to get someone to experiment on your car and find out that is the first and last he will do for that price......
.....these are my opinions, observations, not necessarily based on my or any other particular restorer's pricing, is based on me being customer selective, nor is it meant as a solicitation of work.
Chad Comeau wrote:
I know there are a lot of variables to this question but wanted to through it out to the group. What is the average amount of hours or the average cost for a bare metal paint job on a 356? Assuming no metal work is needed only filler and paint work is needed.
Again I know there are a lot of variables to this question but I am just looking for some high level guidance.