Whether you’re the proud owner of a vintage vehicle or are looking at a classic 1960s, 70s or 80s truck or car, you may be in the market for a restomod shop for your car. How to choose a vintage auto shop is not a task to be undertaken lightly, as the vintage auto restoration professionals from Wrenchers LLC in Michigan explain.

Because you’ve made an investment in your vintage car or are going to be laying down a sizable sum of money for the restoration of your car, the shop you choose is crucial. When looking for a high-quality restoration shop, there are some obvious red flags, and there are other signs that should make you feel comfortable putting the restoration of your vehicle in the experienced hands of  Wrenchers LLC restomod pros.

How To Choose A Vintage Auto Restoration Shop

It may seem obvious but don’t make any decisions on who will work on your car before you pay a visit to their restoration shop. What are you looking for?

  1. Is it clean? Yes, we understand a restoration shop is essentially a garage, but you know you’ve seen garages that are clean and relatively tidy and those that have parts scattered around, oil slicks on the floor and are just dingy.
  2. How well organized is the shop? Is there a space in the shop that is specific to certain restoration tasks? A bay for painting? A space for working under the hood and perhaps an area designated for a frame-off restoration? Are there car parts lying around, or are they on shelves waiting to be used?
  3. Ask what, if any, parts of a restoration of a classic car are outsourced. If any parts of the job are outsourced, where do they go? How well-vetted is the outsourced shop and its auto restoration pros?
  4. Where will parts and components that may be removed from your classic car be housed while your car is being worked on? You want to ensure that parts that come out of your car make their way back in during the restoration (unless, of course, they cannot be salvaged and need to be replaced.) How are parts that are taken off your car cataloged?
  5. Does the shop employ vintage auto-restoration craftsmen, or are they “parts guys”? How much experience does the staff have in vintage vehicle restoration?
  6. Where does the shop source its parts? Are they installing high-quality parts, or do they shop for the “best deal”? Remember, it’s sometimes better to pay for higher-quality parts upfront because you will get a return on your investment over the life of your vehicle.
  7. Ask for the restoration shop’s portfolio of completed work. The shop will likely have a “brag book” of before and after photos of the work they’ve performed.

This last step may not be part of inspecting the shop itself, but is an important part of a restoration project – how does the shop owner estimate and bill for the jobs they perform? Keep in mind that a quality restoration shop likely won’t be able to give you an estimate that is set in stone. Until the restoration pros get under the hood – as it were – it’s not easy to give that estimate. Don’t be concerned, this is a normal part of doing business for a top-quality shop. To fully estimate the cost of the restoration, the car will need to be assessed thoroughly, and that includes the disassembly of the vehicle. It’s not easy to visually assess what’s going on beneath the surface of the paint, under the hood or even with the interior of your 1960, 1970 or 1980 vintage car.

Expect a range of what it may cost for the restoration. At Wrenchers LLC, we will give you the low-end price with the caveat that the price could very well go up, but rest assured, we will keep you in the loop and let you know during the process what, if any, changes to the initial estimate we feel are necessary. Our input and acknowledgment of the changes to the initial estimate will be gathered before our service professionals move forward. Don’t forget to ask how long it will potentially take to complete the restoration project you’re envisioning. It could take months, so be prepared.

As the vehicle owner, you do need to have a clear understanding of the process of estimating and billing. Any concerns or questions about the estimate you’ve been given should be raised by the shop owner. Also, beware of the shop that requests a large deposit upfront when they haven’t taken your antique truck apart yet to begin the project and give you a better understanding of the price. That’s not to say you won’t be asked for a deposit for the project to be started, but if you haven’t been given a written estimate, there’s no way the shop owner can determine how much of a deposit to request.

The best, most reputable shop owners provide a detailed invoice as the restoration project moves along, and as mentioned, they will keep you in the loop before any large sums of your cash are spent. Let us know, upfront, what your overall budget for the project is. We don’t want to give you an estimate for a $100,000 restomod when your budget is in the $10,000 or even $50,000 range. Let’s talk about what is crucial to the project and what are nice-to-haves.

Don’t forget that the estimates for parts are one part of the project, but estimates on the man hours to complete the frame-off restoration are a separate line item.

“Go with your gut” isn’t a bad gauge with which to measure the rest of your truck or car restoration. If you get a bad feeling about any part of the process and can’t get your questions answered in a way that puts you at ease, it’s best to walk away. Remember, there’s nothing stopping you from getting more than one estimate – in fact, that is a good practice.

We know you will enjoy working with us and our classic vehicle restoration professionals.

At Wrenchers LLC, we are classic, antique and hot rod enthusiasts, and that shows in the craftsmanship of our vehicle restorations. Whether you choose a full frame-off, traditional restoration or custom work for your vehicle, our experienced restoration professionals listen to you and work on your vehicle with the same care they take with their own. When your keys are handed over and you slide behind the wheel after your car has been restored, you will be hitting the road in the vehicle of your dreams.