Yea, amazingly consistant replies. I've got an 88 VW cabriolet sitting
in the garage that I shold get started on as my next restore. It is in
excellent shape, no rust, 45K original miles. Needs a lot of love in
the interior (convertibles seem to fair badly WRT seats for example)
and needs paint and detailing. For a great condition like this car I
figure I'll have about 5 to 10K in it when done if I don't do a new
top (was replaced once, but the replacement is starting to shrink...)
Most of that cost will be paint and seats which I want to match the
originals if possible.
What do you mean by a "complete restoration"?
You say that you want it to be just like it rolled off the showroom
floor. That is fine BUT there are a LOT of improvements that could be
made to it with aftermarket parts. Such as stainless brake lines, better
brakes front/rear, engine upgrades that would give you more power and
better fuel mileage than the current worn out carbed engine, trans
replacement with a modern O/D trans that gives you better cruising rpm.
For a ballpark number 25K isn't a bad number really.
If the floor is rotted out you have more work than you think. That is a
uni-body car. There is no real frame under it so the body provides all
the strength. Any rot means cutting out the old steel, welding in new
and replacing ANY rusted metal. This means stripping the entire chassis
down, either dipping it in acid or walnut blasting it, repairing the rot
and then a good paint job. The panels and work can easily eat $10,000.00
not including the final paint work.
Running gear will need a complete rebuild, sitting for 15 years means
checking and rebuilding as required.
A GOOD engine rebuild will take $1,500.00 or drop in a new crate engine
for $2,500.00. Crate has the virtue of updated parts and usually a 3/36
Trans will be $1,200.00 or so for a rebuild.
Brakes and steering another $10-1,500.00 depending on what you need.
Suspension pieces will take $3-400.00.
Wiring harness will be $500-1,000.00
Interior and trim work could run over 10K itself depending on what parts
you need and what is actually available new.
As for the overhauling show. The LOWEST cost car done on the show was
$34,231.00. The highest was almost 100K! The ONLY advantage on that show
is that a lot of the parts and labor are provided in exchange for the
air time and product placement, basically the companies write it off as
That 67 Ford was in better shape and MUCH simpler to work on than your 81.
This is the biggest of the worries I have, Steve.. A rotted chassis is like
and fixing it has to be professional, exhaustive, complete.
In some cases, patches can be fitted, but if this thing is a rustbucket,
have to do it right or junk it.
The OP really doesnt realize how much labor and parts costs will add into
project. Now, if she can accept something less than factory rollout
then maybe she can get this thing rolling.
I asked her where she was located... Two reasons...if she is in the cold
country where salt is routinely added to icey rodes, the prognosis gets
worse, and the price goes up.. .Second, if she is within an hour or two
drive from me, I would drive up and take a first hand look. I am semiretired
and it wouldnt hurt me.
But we have to separate TV from reality.
Just out of curiosity, does that "OverHaulin" show still air on TV, and
if so, do they still do the surprise restore/rebuilds on peoples classic
cars?? Because if so, maybe it wouldn't hurt for me to fill out an
application with them??
I dont know if it is still on, but you can check it, and why not fill out a
"Pimp my Ride" was another of this ilk.. (Mind you, I have seen the
type of work "Pimp" did, and it sucks.)
But as we discussed earlier, use your money for a good looking,
running, car. Restoration is not for you.
Seems a reasonable price for a full restore, including engine work.
More than reasonable actually, may be too cheap.
True, a restoration will cost as much as a new (good) car, and as
well, you are unlikely to recover the investment for such a common
No, you want to restore a prized '81, and there's no real difference
in the work required!
I don't think so, at least 1) not a full restoration, and 2) not in
the condition that you describe your car as being in. Remember, TV is
NOT real life, it is entertainment only. How much did the guys get
paid for labor? Zip, nada, nothing, and labor is one of the most
expensive parts of a restoration!
Sure, he want it, but don't give it to him. At least not in running
Impossible to say without seeing it, but it can cost from $5000 to $50,000.
Mice eating wires can be a couple of thousand bucks in repairs alone. If
the floorboards are rusted, other parts are too, even if you don't see them.
Frankly, this is not the car to give a 17 year old. An amazing number of
teenager wreck their first car. Insurance can be a nightmare cost wise on
any sporty car, especially for a young male.
Give the kid the car as a project to restore and learn. When he earns
enough money to buy a car, let him buy a shitbox that will be in the
junkyard in a year. I was a teenager, I had teenaged friends and I raised
teenagers. Not a single one was mature enough to have a Camero coupe at 17.
You will also do well to make him raise the money for his own car. He will
be more inclined to take care of his investment.
Michelle said, "I am wondering if someone could give me some
information? Could someone please give me a rough/ballpark figure on how
much it would cost to do a complete rebuild/restore of a 1981 Chevy
I have a 81' Camaro which has been garaged for 13 years, and probably
now needs a complete restore/rebuild. The car does NOT run, and has both
engine and body problems."
Between the rust, mice and age damage, I would just seek out and buy a
similar car and retain the original car you have as a parts car, as
that's about all it's good for..
I worked in body shops for years, and any 81 camaro with the floor boards
rusted out is junk. Sorry but there is no other way to tell you. If the
rusted then it is rusted to hell other places too.
And you won't get all the problems you listed fixed for anything like
five thousand. That is just a low-ball dreamy guess.
That wasnt a lowball dreamy guess. That was an estimate assuming the
thing wasnt rust rotten, a junkyard engine installed, etc, just to get the
running an on the highway AT BEST. No custom paint job of course.
And you might be able to do it under those conditions but but if it is a
bucket, all bets are off.
When she told me she lived in the Maine area, that indicates without
further inspection that winter road salt has taken its toll on this car.
That $5k would be much better spent on a car in decent running condition.
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