June 27, 2015 – Body and Paint Complete
Body and paint complete, the Disgustang is now ready to come home. I basically took the entire day off to pick up the car; I was so excited the night before that I could hardly sleep. Just like the day we dropped the car off, it was threatening to rain the entire time. Luckily now everything is sealed in paint and primer, so rust was less of a fear. I also owe my friend Mark a huge debt of gratitude for his help trailer-ing this car from here to Timbuktu and back. I would have been lost without him, and having that second pair of eyes and a second opinion has proved invaluable.
This is a major milestone and it’s given me a burst of excitement and energy I haven’t felt since I started tearing it down two years ago. However, coupled with the excitement, I’m also feeling some fear, frustration, and regret. The fear and frustration are two sides of the same coin, in that they both stem from the stark reality that I drastically under-budgeted the body portion of this build. My original budget number was $3,000, which was based on both my own best guess as well as recent prices for driver-quality paint jobs from some acquaintances. I’d raised that number a bit when I started looking more closely, and I’d been blown away by some of the estimates I received from local body shops. Ultimately, I’d settled on Bill, whose $4-5,000 estimate pretty closely fit my budget.
The thing is…the final tab from Bill wasn’t $4,000…or $5,000…or $6,000. It was $7,000, and that excludes the cost of the media blasting and the purchase of the few replacement panels we needed. Probably $1,200 of the final body total was spent cutting out and replacing that left rear quarter panel (which we hadn’t initially planned for), and another $200 of wasted time trying to get that bad repro door to fit, so Bill’s estimate was actually pretty close. All said and done, I spent nearly 40% of my budget within the span of about six weeks. That’s a bit of a tough pill to swallow. I don’t blame Bill for that–he did a great job– I blame myself for not clearly thinking this through when I started.
I’m frustrated that I spent so much and that my first assessment was so wildly unrealistic. I now know that this project will most certainly be over-budget, and I’m afraid of how much over I’ll end up. But interestingly enough, the regret stems from not shopping around more. Yes, Bill did a great job, but for $7,000, I wonder if I could have gotten an even better job elsewhere. There’s no point in playing the what-if game, the car’s already painted, but it serves to teach the lesson: shop around and listen to what the body folks are telling you (and what they’re not telling you).
All my frustration aside, I’m glad to have the car back and to be making progress. Some of the photos below are from before he did his final polish and buff, but as you can see from the later photos, it looks awesome compared to how it started.