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Discussion Starter #1
This may not be the right forum for this but I need some help. I recently purchased a 1969 GTV and hope to do a serious bare metal restore on this car. I have talked to Daron at Vintage Customs at length and am close to sending my car there to get the works. But this is a long and expensive treck from Charlotte, NC where I live now. Anyone have a body shop that has some alfa experience and can perform a vintage custom's type body restoration. Any where in the south east USA or East Coast for that manner. Let me know your thoughts.

Thank You
J
 

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Daron's work and attention to detail seems to be quite exceptional.....the one off transport costs will be long forgotten as the quality remains!
 

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Just to present the other side of the debate:

Having your restoration shop within easy driving distance of your home is a tremendous advantage. In any restoration, unforseen things will arise. A remote shop can send photos and talk with you on the phone, but nothing beats taking a quick trip over there on your lunch hour, and seeing things first hand.

In my restorations, I was always running over to the shop with grilles, bumpers, etc. to be fitted. I can't imagine how you would do this remotely.

Many decisions need to be made - for example, chosing the paint color. A local shop can paint one fender #603 blue, another #604, and the third Mazda #789-KP-89 (I just made up those codes), and you can decide which you like best. With a remote shop, you have to delegate that decision to someone else - maybe you will agree with their taste and maybe you won't.

Darron seems like a great guy, and I'm not discouraging anyone from using him. But if it were me, I would try to find a local shop ideally with some Alfa experience, or failing at that, with experience in restoring similar unibody European cars.
 

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Hey Rusty Racer- A 1969 GTV huh- I wonder if you got my old car? I heard it was sold to somebody in Charlotte. It was a 1969 GTV 1750 that had flat metal in the floors where somebody previously replaced the floors? Please post a photo. Anyway Apex Vintage in Raleigh does this type of work I believe. (919) 781-1871
 

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There are very few people in the industry who both know what they are really doing and are willing to take the time to achieve the best possible outcome for both the customer and the shop's reputation. Saving money and having convenience does not necessarily mean a quality product. Choose wisely...
 

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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
Thanks so far

Thank you all for the thoughts so far! I know that Daron provides a very unique service in quality and experience and that is why I am going to invest the $3+k in roundtrip transport to get the car to him unless someone can provide me with a connection to "the alfa body man" for the south east US or at least the east coast.

I emailed Apex Vintage here is their response: "Sorry, but we are not into bodywork – just mechanical restorations. I don’t have any people that I can recommend."

So if you have some connection pass it on (10 degrees of separation and all that)

My car appears to be in amazing shape, no rust on rockers, in spare tire well, around windshield and only a couple of well done patches to floor boards with no residual rust. But who knows what lurks underneath? Does suffer from a bad 6 Pack red paint job liberally applied to the car as well as overspray on engine, radiator etc... I am not willing to sacrifice quality or longevity for a couple grand in a project this big!

Some Pics:












Lastly One of the GTV next to its LeMon Racing Bound 73 Spider Sister
 

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Paint samples can be FedEx'd back and forth and if your car is in such great shape you will not require the 'lunch hour' runs to the shop to deal with the ugliness that can occur with some restorations. Your 105 will be a piece of cake and your great grandchild will be able to possibly drive it one day....
 

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I think $3k is a conservative estimate for the transpo. I sent mine to Daron as a stripped roller and it was ~800 from the SF Bay area. Since then I got a little wiser and bid out a transport of a 164 from the east coast for ~800 as well though it was a driver. Not sure what the covered transpo will be yet when it's done but Daron did say he delivers (or did at the time of the discussion) though I doubt that would apply to an east coast delivery.
I am very satisfied with the work VC has been doing and with the level of interaction and communication. Copious photos, emails, calls etc.
Regarding paint, he will send a 'let down' panel with your paint or paints of choice for review and approval. He also has relationships with very good people up there for engine and suspension work (and other I'm sure) if needed. I am not using those add services except where convenient to do so (rehabing the steering box and idler for example).
Yours seems to be in better shape then mine was but there will be 'gotchas' found for sure. Start (continue) saving now and don't be in a rush to get it back. Mine's been there for a year (come Jan) now and it's just now ready for final paint. I should get it back, ready for the rest of the work of reassembly etc. some time after the new year.
Best of luck and welcome to the BB.
 

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Rusty Racer:

Looking at your photos, I still see a lot of bits attached to the car. Before sending the body off to any shop - local or remote - I would strongly encourage you to remove things like the arm rest brackets on the inside of the door, rear bumper attachment bolts, fuel tank, spare tire hold-down, etc. etc. Believe me, regardless of what body shop you end up using, when the shell comes back, some of that stuff is going to be missing. And, the last thing you want to do is try to find small parts like those when you are trying to reassemble a car.

I know, I know - in the ideal, body shops shouldn't misplace or damage loose parts. But from my experience, these guys are artists, not accountants - tracking every little bit just isn't their forte.
 

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J,
I originally planned to have my car painted locally. But after looking at several local shops, and wincing at the prices charged in SoCal, I decided to talk to Daron. His prices are very competitive, and he knows a lot about the cars. I know that when he strips the car, he will be able to repair the floors and reinforce parts of the chassis so that they will be indistinguisable from new.
Finally, none of the shops I talked to down here were Alfa specialists. Daron has a love for the cars and a passion for seeing them restored. He made several sensible recommendations that were in line with what I had been thinking about the car, so I knew he and I were on the "same page". After several months of research, and agonizing about the shipping, I finally sent my car up to Washington, and it should be arriving today.
Hope this helps!
A.
 

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But from my experience, these guys are artists, not accountants - tracking every little bit just isn't their forte.
This is the absolute truth. Chassis must be completely bare except for steering column, suspension and wiring harness.

The only other option is to move to the great NW and leverage all the resources available. You just need to deal with the personalities... :)
 

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J, you might want to talk to Mike Marcelic at Euro-Craft Classics, Inc. He's in Manchester, GA about halfway between Atlanta and Columbus. Although I have not used him a number of local Alfa club members have and are quite pleased. He is more than just a body shop and has done restorations that have been on the lawn at Amelia Island. 770-682-8974, 706-846-8690, or 770-815-6803. His email is MMarcelic (at) windstream.net

Mike Hollinger
Atlanta
 

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mubezzi,
Why leave the harness? I pulled mine and everything else except steering and suspension so we could roll it on a carrier.
Daron did convince me to leave the front and rear glass in place too. My front glass and trim surround were damaged but he convinced me the aluminum trim (repairable in my case) was delicate and difficult to r&r. They had the skill to do, me probably not and I'd end up damaging it and having to buy new. So they will replace the glass (front will be new), the gaskets and the (my) trim before returning. They'll do the headliner too of course as part of this (I did leave the wiring from the a pillar to the dome lights).

And I don't find the personalities around Puget Sound too difficult, as long as I stay to the relatively settled areas!;)
 

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In most cases you will need a new harness so pulling it is a good idea and yes leaving the glass is necessary if you do not know how to pull the trim. I dove in without knowing a thing and if given the chance a second time around am going to do things a little differently...now that I know a couple things.
 

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rusty racer,

I feel your pain since I'm in the same situation. Houston is not a hotbed of auto enthusiasm as is the West Coast or New England. Sure, there are a few shops in Texas that'll do a 100 point concours restoration, and bucket loads of collision repair shops, but for those wanting nice, quality body work, those shops are few and far between.

I, too, am considering spending the extra dough for shipping my '69 GTV to VC, as I'm sure their expertise can outweigh any disadvantage of not being local. However, it would great to find a reputable local shop so that I can watch the transformation personally.

Remember if you're going to use a local shop, check their history, get references, look at their previous work, and if they don't allow you to drop in at any time, find another shop.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Thank You

Thanks again for all the input! The plan of course is to finish the stripdown before off to the body shop. Motor and all the little pieces have to come out. Plan to dedicate a couple days to this in early January then off to body in February.
 

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Rusty Racer

I thought about this a bit and to be completely honest your better off finding a qualified body person in your corner of the world and helping that person get up to speed on the Alfa unibody so that others on the East Coast/South East can leverage this resource. This will strengthen the restoration front to make it possible for others to eventually afford a proper restoration. Nothing against the mafia in Burlington, WA but they kind of run a scam. Also, when you have a competitive playing field the customer benefits. For the price of transportation you could add a few goodies from Alfaholics. Body work is a commodity not a specialty! You just need to find someone willing to be patient and is fair and honest in their dealings. That unfortunately is a specialty that few are willing to live by...
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Yeah you have kind of hit the debate nail on the head so to speak. I know this is the first of many alfas that I will do a bare metal restores on in my life (have done several respray low budget spider restores in the past) so probably need to find a good local guy to "train" on the marque but not a big fan of being the guinea pig with my money and my car haha.

Options seem to be buy a transport truck to get my cars to daron, convince daron to move to charlotte, or find and work with a local guy.

Now one question is though whats the "scam" about VC?
 

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Washington State Mafia...

Now one question is though whats the "scam" about VC?
I didn't say VC scam....please reread what I posted. Given your situation I would highly, highly recommend you find a local resource. It will payoff in the thousands. Now if you were looking at only one chassis then I would say go for it. You will not need to 'train' a good body person who already understands unibody. You will only need to help this resource identify panel parts and a source for these parts. Information is abundant. Find the skill and simply provide this resource with the necessary materials and references.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Mafia?

Guess I misread or misinterpreted you terminology. Not sure I know who is included in the "mafia" in Washington. But I digress...

Thanks for the input and suggestions.
 
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