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Discussion Starter #1
Hi -

I've posted a few times here about my woes (the usual old car issues) with a 67 Camaro I bought a couple years ago. Long story made short; I spent $23K on an SS clone with a 'built 454'. When I got it home I realized it had some issues and spent the next year diagnosing it (in and out of shops, etc.). In the process I spent about $10K on misc fixes - new front suspension, replacement of cooling fans, etc. and eventually the teardown of the motor as it still wasn't cooling. So I'm into it $33K at that point.

Once we've gone through the motor, we realize that it's not really fixable - block is old and worn out, there's scoring on the cylinders, crank needs to be refinished, etc. I decide rather than trying to rebuild a bunch of worn out parts, it'd be best to just replace the motor with something new/reliable. I ordered a 489BBC. Total price another $8K. Now it's $41K all-in.

Ultimately, I bring it to a shop to install the motor. They come back with a list of things that need to be addressed to make it run (well):
- Motor installation with new motor mounts - $2K
- New fuel cell, electric pump and boost regulator, new lines - $3K
- New distributor - $500
- New High(er) flow fans and controller - $900
- New brake lines and changing pedal ratio - $950
- New wiring kit & re-wire - $3K

At this point I should make it clear that I'm no millionaire. Just a regular Joe. And every time I look at the car (scratch that - every time I think about the car), the bill gets longer. I know that's the way it is with these things - so it's mostly me moaning - but at this point we're talking about another $11K to get it running on top of the new motor I just bought.

A total of $52K.

Is it 'too much'? Should I just park the shell in the garage and call it a day? Or should I have it done, sell it, and cut my potential future losses?

Thanks for the feedback (and letting me vent!)


Mike
 

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Find another shop. Some of that stuff doesn’t pass the smell test. Looks like they are milking you imho....

Don
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks Don. Unfortunately, this is the third shop I've used.
The first one was not great and ultimately ended up closing down.
The second one took forever, never hit any of their commitments and ended up charging me thousands of dollars for virtually nothing before I pulled the car.
This is the third, and 'best reviewed' of the group. I also like the team I met that's working on it.
Of course, the results will tell the story, but at this point, in the DFW area I haven't found any better options.

Mike
 

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Hindsight is 20-20 but you would have been far ahead buying a $50k car versus the path you are on. There is another new member from Dallas who seems intent on taking that same path...

Don
 

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I know a guy in SE Kansas (5 hours from Dallas) that could knock that stuff out the park for you. I would trust him with my car .... and I dont trust anyone with my car. Personal friend that has been building resto-mods and hotrods for decades. He has a small hotrod shop in his retirement. Im betting he could fix you up for way less, and do a better job. PM me if you want his info...

Kip
 

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X10. The prices for the work are way high. I put entire new EFI fuel systems in my Protour cars for $650 in parts. EFI tank, pump, filter, regulator, braided fuel lines, fittings and wiring. 1/2 a day in my garage by myself easy. Give them 8 hours at $100 per hour and it’s still 1/2 what they quoted.

A full wiring kit is $600 and be done easy in a lazy weekend

And I’m not a “professional” mechanic
 

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If you plan on selling the car then you spent too much(simple math) but if you plan on enjoying the car the no you did not waste money.
If you bought a 50k car(not a classic) chances are it would be worth much less then your Camaro which has been increasing in value.
I do agree with everyone, prices from your mechanic seem high. I swapped out my bb with my wife in the driveway, one day and had to borrow an engine crane.
Not sure what you do for a living but if you make more then 2k a day then give the other guy the work.
 

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I'd have a look at the 454 you're pulling out in addition to what the others have said. "Old and worn out" isn't always the case when it comes to engines. Usually they can easily be rebuilt. You may not want to seeing how you already ordered the 489, but a complete 454 has pretty decent value if it's rebuildable. Did they tell you what the bore measured? Standard, .020", .030", .040" or .060" over? Do you know what heads are on it etc.? You might want to post some pics of the casting numbers and dates and see what value it might have. It could potentially take some sting out of your build.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Hi Hawk - it was 0.060 over. I think it wasn't cooling properly as a result (especially in our great texas weather). I can go snag some pics of the parts once I'm back at the shop next and will post them. I'd be interested in selling some of the old parts as I know they're not all bad. I believe the crank was already refinished, for example, so can be used in a new build. Thanks.

Mike
 

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There is no guarantee buying 50k car would be any better than what you have now. I do question the prices being given. There is nothing on that list that you can't do, $900 for brake work, 3k for wiring? I would install your engine for $ 100 if your were near.
Start doing the work yourself, you will figure out what you need and what you don't.
 

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I guarantee you I could buy a better car for $50k than he will have when he is finished spending $52k, especially since he paid good money for a car with a bad engine and then invested a butt load of money into worthless and overpriced repairs...

Don
 

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That is a problem with collector cars/bikes/boats/etc...too many out there dress up a pig, slap on some lipstick, and then sell for top $$$$ just for the guy who buys it to find all these issues, throw more $$$$ at it, and then another issue pops up, so more $$$$ is thrown at it for a fix.

Problem is also, lots of guys/gals own these classics and pay for someone else to do the work...it can get REAL expensive quick.
Not bashing you.

Its just what you want...are you worried about being upside down on the car or just want a classic no matter the costs. I know I have wayyyy more in my car than I could sell it for...but its mine and matters only to me whats in it :beers:
 

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It's interesting to me that so many people buy Classics and can not find a good shop to work on them. I'm asked all the time at car shows if I know anybody and if I will work on their cars for them.

I was at BJ and Mecum last fall and talked to a few new 1st time buyers. They told me there were things they would need/want to do to the cars but did not work on them themselves. On top of that they knew very little mechanically about the cars they had purchased.

To run a successful shop you need to charge $85-$100 per hour shop rate by the time you pay overhead and mechanics.

So if you can't or don't want to do the work yourself it will cost you a ton of $ to have work done. If there is troubleshooting involved it can take hours and hours to figure some things out.

So when you take your car to a shop you have two choices. #1 sign a work order estimate and pay the hourly rate. Basically you are writing a blank check because you have no way to track hours or #2 (if the shop will agree) pay buy the job. This way you know where you stand however the shop will probably quote higher to cover themselves.

Either way get a very detailed work order as to what parts and labor are included. Best is to write up your own scope of work to be attached to the work order. You want to avoid the "hey we ran into some unexpected issues" phone call. You also want a commitment in writing as to when the work will be finished.

The hourly shop rate can be deceiving relative to the cost of the job. There are shops that quote $45 an hour but if they take twice as long to complete a task you end up paying more.

Many of us, myself included, here look a quoted costs here and say I could/would do it for a couple hundred bucks. Easy to say as we are not paying to rent shop space, utilities, insurance and mechanics.

For example I can completely re-wire a 1st Gen in a weekend and I like doing it. I've done many of them. A few people I've met at cars shows and cruises have asked me to re-wire there cars. I charge them $1000 plus the cost of the harness which is about $600. A good local shop here in Vegas charges $2500 - $3000. If I owned a shop that's about what I'd have to charge to stay in business.

The best we can offer is opinions of labor hours to complete a task.
 

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The sad fact is. Many who buy a classic car ( especially a "hot" rod) have no business owning them if they can't do most of the work themselves. Unless they have very deep pockets they ultimately can not afford the car and if they don't have the skills to build or work on the many are clueless about quality work, and the price of such work. Then other issue is their lack of skills do not allow them to see shoddy or overpriced work done by others untill its to late....

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"The sad fact is. Many who buy a classic car (especially a "hot" rod) have no business owning them if they can't do most of the work themselves."

Says you. Lot's of people out there have lots of money and can do whatever the heck they want with it. If you are a first time buyer bidding on a car for its looks at B-J, then cost of maintenance is likely not a big concern. There are buyers who will pay high 5 to 6 figures for a car and then bring it to a shop like Kindig-It and spend another $50k+ just to change the paint color, wheels and stance. And then there are the custom ProTour builds costing $250K or more, and the buyers do not work to build or maintain them. To each his own. It takes all of kinds of buyers and builders to keep the hobby going. Just another viewpoint.
 

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"The sad fact is. Many who buy a classic car (especially a "hot" rod) have no business owning them if they can't do most of the work themselves."

Says you. Lot's of people out there have lots of money and can do whatever the heck they want with it. If you are a first time buyer bidding on a car for its looks at B-J, then cost of maintenance is likely not a big concern. There are buyers who will pay high 5 to 6 figures for a car and then bring it to a shop like Kindig-It and spend another $50k+ just to change the paint color, wheels and stance. And then there are the custom ProTour builds costing $250K or more, and the buyers do not work to build or maintain them. To each his own. It takes all of kinds of buyers and builders to keep the hobby going. Just another viewpoint.
I agree, However most of the discussion here is from the perspective of the average guy.

My last 2 LS protour cars sold for over $100K to guys that do not have a clue about working on the cars themselves. Fortunate after 3 years on the 1st car and 2 years on the 2nd the guys that bought have NEVER had an issue. Gas and oil changes is all they've had to do. Well along with them asking if I'll build cars for they're friends.
 

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I didn't say all I said many. The discussion is based on the average person.( does the average person spend a hundred k or much more their cars? Of course not) I base my opinion on real world experience.( couple of decades of owing a full service auto parts and machine shop). The forums are riddled with stories here and forums everywhere and it does not matter what it is, cars, bikes, trucks, boats, tractors etc) whenever you have people that engage in activities that require the skills of others because you do not have such skills you will have the problem of what is being discussed in this thread and will always happen to many. It's sad and I don't mean anything negative to those involved but it is what it is. Apply some common sense this happens in all area's of life . All of us can be taken advantage of if we rely on others to do things we don't have the skills to do or the knowledge to check on what is taking place... Expand the discussion to construction for instance.. Is there any of the same problems in that market that I spoke of here??? Cheers

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I don't disagree with anything you have said, and realize you were referring to the average Joe, not the minority with bottomless pockets. I am just saying we need all ends of the spectrum to keep the hobby and aftermarket industry thriving. And for those of us who are willing to turn a wrench up to a point but are not terribly skilled or experienced, forums like this where we can get advice from those more knowledgeable are invaluable. And those with the wrench skills should not look down on the ones without, because they likely have other valuable skills that the wrenchers don't and may one day need. :nerd:
 

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Being someone that bought a 10k project car and completely modernizing it from an every bolt off the car rebuild... one thing I really agree with that someone said... it takes all kinds to keep the hobby alive. For me it’s not about money at all. It’s the journey and pride of doing it all myself. Reminds me of being 16 again and working on cars with my dad. I have money now that I’m older and I alway dreamt or doing a complete frame off everything off restomod. Now I can. Living the dream for me! Takes all kinds. :)
 
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