FAQs

Q?

WHAT IS THE SMITTY’S CLASSICS REBUILD SHEET

A.

With every car we purchase, we do a complete rebuild cost analysis. The rebuild sheet is a check list we use to determine exactly what a car will need for complete restoration. Assuming a car is approved for restoration, the rebuild sheet is updated with additional things we may find along the way. We include the rebuild sheet with every restoration so you will know exactly what we have done.

Not every car we purchase actually gets restored. We use the rebuild sheet to get an idea of what our hard costs will be and to make some assumptions about the number of man hours needed to complete a restoration. That gives us a pretty good idea of what a full restoration will cost. If the anticipated retail value of a car does not cover the restoration costs we generally pull it from pipeline and offer it for sale. That doesn't mean its a bad car, It just means there is not enough room for us to be profitable.

Q?

DO YOU REBUILD OR REPLACE ENGINES ?

A.

Not if its not necessary. With every build, we remove the engine and transmission (assuming they are present). Once out, we visually inspect for any obvious damage and run a compression test to make sure each cylinder is consistent with the others. Assuming it passes initial inspection the engine is mounted on a stand (outside the car) where it can be operated and checked in detail. If there are no internal issues with an engine, we will clean, paint and re-use the original engine.

If any issues are found we make a decision about what to do. We may replace the engine with new, replace it with a re-manufactured engine, or re-manufacture the existing engine. Our preference is always to re-manufacture the original engine and/or transmission if possible.

Where re-manufacture engines are concerned, we do all or nothing. All surfaces are made new or replaced with new. Before installing an engine back into a car, it is always tested and broke in (new or re-manufactured) on a stand outside of the car.

Its also worth noting that in some cases we will opt for an engine upgrade. If, for example: we are restoring a Camaro that originally came with a 6 cylinder engine, we may upgrade the suspension and use a ZZ4 (or similar) replacement.

If we rebuild, replace or upgrade an engine, it will be listed in the rebuild sheet.

Q?

WHAT DOES SMITTY’S DO TO RESTORE A CAR?

A.

There are a lot of ways to make a car look really nice and turn it for a quick flip. The reality is that most buyers can't tell the difference between a well done restoration and a car that just has really nice paint and interior.

No two restoration projects are exactly the same but there are a few things we do to every car that gets the full Smitty's Classic restoration. For starters, we make no assumptions about safety. Every full restoration car gets a new brake system. The brake lines, brake hoses, master brake cylinder, wheel cylinders, and break pads are all replaced with new components. The rotors and drums are either resurfaced or replaced with new.

We pay attention to the details. Smitty's Classics checks over 150 items including: Engine, Engine accessories (alternator, PS Pump...), cooling system, Drive belts, air conditioning system, Fuel deliver system, Transmission, front suspension, rear suspension, axles, brake system, exhaust, electrical system, gauges, body parts, weather stripping, glass, mirrors, and trim moldings just to name a few.

We don't replace parts with salvage parts. If any parts are found defective or questionable, we replace them with new or re-manufactured parts from reputable sources that meet the OEM specifications.

We are pretty picky about what we put our name on which is why we can offer a 12 month 12,000 mile warranty. On a typical re-build, we spend more on a complete restoration than our competitors. In turn our prices are typically a bit higher. We have high standards and market to consumers with high expectations. If you are looking for quality restored cars you have come to the right place.

Q?

HOW DOES SMITTY’S CLASSICS REPLACE BODY PANELS

A.

BUTT WELDING -- Our preferred method for replacing body and floor panels is to use a method called butt welding. When Butt welding, the replacement panel is cut to the exact size of the opening where the sheet metal is being replaced. The weld then joins the end of the body (or floor) panel to the end of the new metal. Once welded, the welds are ground down so that the weld is even with the original body lines. The process is considerably more time consuming but produces a cleaner and more permanent fix.

LAP WELDING - We do not prefer lap welding which is where one piece of metal is layed over the top of another, then welded. Although it is an acceptable practice, lap welding leaves an area where moisture can become trapped and lead to rust. Although we do not lap weld the cars we restore, we do not typically replace a lap weld that was done on a repair prior to when we receive a car and the weld is of good quality.

OTHER REPAIR METHODS WE DO NOT ENDORSE THAT YOU SHOULD AVOID
POP RIVET - Although a faster easier way to making body repairs and undetectable on a new finish, pop rivets cause long term problems. We believe pop rivet repairs are unacceptable and always replace pop riveted panels. Pop Rivets are often used as an alternative to welding. It is similar to lap welding where one piece of metal is place over another but instead of welding, pop rivets are used to hold the new metal in place. Pop rivet repairs can usually be identified by the presence of the studs under the car or inside the quarters from the trunk side but are usually hidden by inside panel covers. Pop rivet repairs trap moisture, are much weaker, and generally begin cracking the paint after 4 to 5 years.

Foam (or Screen) and Filler - Sadly, this is the worst of the unacceptable practices and is done by to many restoration companies. Foam (or window screen) is placed on the backside of an area to be repaired and then filled with a body filler. It is generally difficult to identify but creates moisture and future rust problems as well as a very weak repair. In most cases slight pressure will cause the filler and paint to break. We believe this process is unacceptable, potentially unethical, and always replace this kind of repair.

Q?

HOW DO YOU IDENTIFY BODY PANEL ISSUES

A.

In most cases we are doing a complete restoration which includes a complete repaint of a car. We begin by media blasting all the paint and body filler from the car. Once the paint and filler is gone, we can begin doing a proper restoration of the body which will include removing rust, replacing warped panels and removing poor quality existing repairs.

Where we are not doing a complete restoration (Project cars we sell), we thoroughly inspect every panel on every car to identify rust or warping issues, and to verify any prior repairs are done correctly. In some cases we may sell a project car with poor quality body repair. If so, rest assured we will do our best to identify the problem areas so that you are properly informed prior to purchase.