With growing up to the cool, stylish, high performance muscle cars of the 50s, 60s, and 70s, where it was a part of the family - father and son would work on them, families would take Sunday drives and were passed on to generations.
For those of us that were not fortunate enough to convince the family where we were kids to keep the cars, we are forced now to try and find that rare gem of a classic car. There are a few options: spend tens of thousands of dollars trying to find a restored car in good condition or spend tens of thousands rebuilding a project car. Either option tends to have underlying problems that the home weekend mechanic doesn't have the skills to undertake. This was my case. When I purchased my 1967 Camaro a few years ago, it had what appeared to be a few minor issues on the surface which I thought I could take care of myself. The minor issues turned major as a started working on it. I needed help. Most of the original metal body was either rotten with rust or banged and bent, all hidden underneath the paint. I had talked to a few body shops in the area, but they all wanted $30,000 or more just to fix the body. I enjoy working and learning bodywork on my Camaro, but these shops don't want that. Their target market are the wealthy people with deep pockets to put $100,000 or more into a project and never get their hands dirty, just cut a cheque and walk away until they can pick up their completed car. For me, and most 'car guys', it's the pride in building the car, or as much as you can, yourself. I take pride knowing that I rebuilt the engine, or installed the interior, or welded in a panel. These are traits that I can show my kids that I did or we can do together. I don't want to teach them to 'cut a cheque' for something, but to put the hard work and see the results.
So, with quotes of $30,000 and more to fix the body, my project almost died there. That was far outside of my budget for the bodywork. One day when I was looking at the classified ads on Castanet, I came across Jeff's ad for body work. After meeting with Jeff and talking to him about my project, I was surprised when he said I could work with him on my project. This was incredible. This is something that no one body shop has ever offered. After talking to Jeff about the extensive list of cars he has worked on, I knew he was the bodyman I wanted and needed to work on the project together.
Jeff got my project back on track - he gave me a task list to complete before getting the car over to him; items to prep, things to buy and parts to gather. Once the car was at his shop a few days later, we discussed a plan and got to work right away. This was, and still is, awesome being able to work on my project with an expert guiding me on what to do. I'm learning on my car while also able to save money by completing small tasks so Jeff can concentrate on the large tasks. We have made huge progress working together on my Camaro. From a few months ago when I thought the project might never get done, to now knowing that my hard work with the assistance of a professional bodyman who shares that same passion and drive for old cars, will have my Camaro closer than ever to completion in a few months, and on the road, completed, by next summer! I take so much pride in knowing that I have been able to do some of the bodywork and not 'cut a cheque' that others do to have someone else do all the work. If it wasn't for the 'co-op bodywork' with Jeff, I would never have gotten where I am on my dream car!