Fast Times Garage encourages car owners to be involved in the process of restoring their vehicles.
We understand how much it means to you to have your dream car done right, and we will treat your car as if it were one of our own!
That’s why we work, bill, and track your project the way we do. We strive to provide total transparency and accountability to our clients.
We want to work with you as closely as possible, and are flexible in what we do for you.
On this page, you will find answers to some Frequently Asked Questions about classic and vintage car restorations, and how to make sure you are picking the right shop for the job!
How do I pick a shop for my restoration?
When choosing the shop that you will hire to restore, build, or maintain your special project, there are many things you should consider. Please read this informative article, courtesy of Hemmings Motor News. They provide excellent information and insight.
What types of restoration services does FTG offer?
Concours : Is a vehicle restored to the same specs as it originally came from the manufacturer. Typically done to a much higher quality standard than the OEM production line.
Resto-Mod : Is a project that has a totally stock body but a late model, reliable drive train. Suspension modifications for road handling with front and rear disc brakes is common. The classic look with late model technology.
Custom Rod : Is what is usually referred to as a 1949 and newer body style, with custom modifications to the drive train, suspension, interior and even the body. Usually, these vehicles include a custom paint job.
Street Rod : Is a pre-1949 body style and is usually built with many new parts. This project is custom built for the driver to fit him or her specifically. Everything from mild to extreme drive trains are installed including all of the latest technology. These vehicles have numerous custom fabricated parts. Custom paint jobs with major body modifications are quite common.
Does FTG offer estimates for their services?
We do not give estimates on restoration of body and paint for the following reasons:
There is no way to tell exactly what we are dealing with until we have taken the car apart. Previous repairs and hidden rust, or other damage may not be visible. Carved-in-stone figures are not in either parties best interest. We will try to provide our clients with a general idea of what to expect, but will not provide contractually obligated estimates.
This way, requests for changes and modifications can be made mid-project without having to re-negotiate the final price, and job integrity is not compromised by trying to fit repairs and refinish into a specific dollar category.
Does restoring my classic car have investment value?
The value of any particular vehicle depends on how collectible and/or desirable it is. Supply and demand will always set value and we cannot change that.
We encourage our customers to focus on picking a vehicle to restore that has a personal connection, as opposed to seeking a return on investment. If you are looking to have a car built based simply on its investment potential or in an attempt to make a financial profit we may not be a good fit for you.
Does FTG mark-up parts and supplies?
Yes. We mark-up our cost for supplies, parts, and expenses by 20%. This is well below the industry standard of 25-30%.
It takes considerable time, research, and sometimes travel to source authentically accurate colors, OEM parts, manuals, parts catalogs, etc. We simply can’t afford to stay in business if we are not compensated for it.
How does FTG handle their billing?
We provide our clients with detailed invoices at regular intervals.
All invoices include line-item entries of each employees time spent on your project, with descriptions of the work that was done.
All invoices will also include line-item entries of all supplies, parts, expenses, and mark-up incurred during the duration of your project. Digital copies of all receipts are stored with each invoice and are included.
Am I able to track the progress of my project?
Yes! FTG provides all our clients with a private, password-protected page on our website, where you can login and see what we are doing on your project. We take detailed pictures and video on a regular basis, and they are uploaded instantly to provide an elegant customer experience.
Do you require a deposit?
We typically require a $2000 deposit to schedule your job and have the car shipped to our facility (equivalent to one week of labor for one worker at our shop rate of $50 per hour). Once we have looked it over, and started the disassembly process, bi-weekly or monthly invoices will be issued. Invoices are due *on receipt*. Failure to pay invoices in a timely manner will result in work being stopped.
What are the typical steps in a restoration?
While each restoration is unique, we still have a basic plan of attack we follow with with all full restorations. Here are the steps we normally take…
- Begin dismantling the vehicle and cataloging each part.
- Remove the exterior trim and strip the paint to the bare metal.
- Remove the seats and interior parts.
- Unbolt body panels and the entire body from chassis.
- Remove the motor and transmission.
- Disassemble the entire chassis.
- Repair any rust if possible. Otherwise replace or fabricate new metal.
- Assess and repair dents, creases or other imperfections in the body.
- Sand and prep the entire body and then prime the body.
- Strip the chassis to bare metal, make any necessary repairs and then paint the chassis black.
- Reassemble the chassis.
- Repair and/or replace the motor and transmission.
- Reinstall the motor and transmission.
- Reassemble the body panels and attach all remaining parts to the body.
- Paint, wet sand, clay bar and buff vehicle.
- Restore or repair the vehicle’s interior.
- Reassemble exterior trim and install the restored interior.
- Drive and fine tune the vehicle.
How long does a restoration take?
Each restoration is different, but be prepared to be in this for the long haul. To properly do a restoration takes time and it cannot be rushed. There may also be unexpected down time if we need to wait for replacement parts. It is very common for a restoration to take more than a year. In some cases it can take upwards to 3-5 years.
What is a "frame-off" restoration?
Although it is used often the term frame-off is a misnomer. The correct terms are frame-up or body-off and refers to a complete restoration from the frame up or the car restored with the body off.
Why do paint jobs cost so much?
Due to rising petroleum costs many of the paint products have become very expensive before labor has been factored in. For example, some reds are approximately $800 per gallon. By the time you add the cost of primer, surfacers, sealers, top coats, sandpaper, mask paper and tape, reducers, catalysts, spray booth filters and countless hours of block sanding between coats, a paint job that achieves the mirror-like finish that wins awards, can be quite expensive. If someone quotes you a very low estimate for painting your car you must consider where they are cutting corners … quality of workmanship or quality of product.
What about transportation for my vehicle?
There are many services that provide state-to-state transportation of vehicles. Please check https://www.transportreviews.com/. They have a great search tool to find the vehicle transport service you need.