FAQs

Q?

What can I expect from Smitty’s Classics?

A.

Honest work at a fair price – Having work done on a classic car is expensive. We will only invoice for actual time and materials spent on your car. We will document the time and materials. We will work with you on any issues that arise. One of the first questions we always get is, “How much will it cost?” We can give you a general idea of what something would cost on an assembled, unmodified, rust free car but we can’t be specific about what something will cost on your car. Please refer to our documentation titled “We can not Provide a Firm Quote” for explanations. We bill for time and materials. The time we spend working on your car will include some of the same issues you would run into yourself. Seized or broken bolts for example will increase time.

Communication - It is important that we have timely, clear and concise communications so we can both have appropriate expectations. It is likely that while we are working on your car, we will find something that neither of us expected. When that happens, we will contact you to provide an update and will discuss options. Its important to understand that we may not be able to move forward without your input.

We will make extra efforts to protect your car – To protect the front of your car when the hood is open; we use full wrap around fender covers made by Bobs Fender Covers. We use floor mats and seat covers to protect the interior. When necessary, we bag all or part of the car. Despite our efforts we cannot guarantee accidental or incidental damage won’t occur. This is especially important to understand with show quality cars where a scratch on a firewall, inner fender well or core supports is possible.

Q?

What does Smitty’s Classics expect from me?

A.

Clear expectation – Before we begin work, we need a clear understanding of what you want.  For example, we can’t start work if you just want better performance.  We can discuss what that means and work with you to create a clear action plan.

Ability to communicate – We try to schedule an appropriate amount of time for each customer.  If we find a problem with your car, we need you to be available to discuss options.  If we can’t reach you, we may have to bring another car in and reschedule completion of your work.

Payment on time – We charge for major components in advance.  For work that takes 2 weeks or less we expect payment when we compete the work.  On longer term projects we bill twice per month with payment due in 7 days.

Q?

How much does a restoration cost?

A.

Its expensive. We can’t estimate the cost of your restoration because we don’t know what we don’t know about your car.  Because of the comprehensive nature of the restoration process, specific estimates or “bids” of the total cost of a restoration project cannot be given at any time. It is most important that this be understood and accepted.

If you would like us to ballpark what we think the restoration will entail, we’d be happy to do that, but in no way will that figure affect the total price of your restoration. For more information please read why We Can Not Provide a Firm Quote

Q?

Do you do all work yourself?

A.

Some of the work we quote may be done by 3rd parties.  Among other things, front end alignment, paint and sometimes metal work may get outsourced.  If we are using a 3rd party for any part of your work, we always disclose who is doing the work and what work is being done.

Q?

What types of payment do you accept?

A.

We prefer cash, check or wire but can also accept PayPal and credit card payments. There may be additional fees when using credit Cards or PayPal.

Q?

What are your hourly rates?

A.

Our rates depend on the type of work we are doing but are generally $100 per hour for projects that are under 50 hours like maintenance, upgrades and repairs. For large restoration projects we charge $75 per hour.

Q?

What is the best way to 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.