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Restorer recommendation

jcsb

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Can I get some recommendations on a restorer. I'm not looking for a concours restore. I want this to be a good driver quality. Presently the person who owned this previously did a rather amateurish job at repainting the car. I would say a 15 footer. I have a 1960 MK1 BN7 2 seater. Mechanics are strong and the interior is more than acceptable. Appears body panels are in good condition. Anyway any recommendations would be appreciated.
John
 

AH100M

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Just one comment (not a restorer recommendation like you asked for - sorry). The response to not wanting a concours restoration could be "What do you want me to do wrong?" Although you may have thought about it already you're going to have to be specific about what you want done and not done. It would be difficult to say "Do a half-a**ed job on the body work but a perfect paint job". It would be better to do some stuff well and some not at all. Easier to agree on this also.

Mechanical restoration to be functional but not beautiful in appearance is one way to keep costs down. Like replace all the bushings in the front end but don't strip down all the parts, sand blast and re-paint. Things like that.
 
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Paul Tsikuris, Tsikuris Classics in Lakeland Florida is one recommendation. He'll do partial or total restorations, or in my case, take over the external bodywork when I ran out of skill. After the bodywork was done, I was given the choice of going with his concours painter, or the merely very good(!). Well >10 years after the fact, the car still gets regular complients on the body & paintwork.

So he's one (1) option...

559595_10151204278653291_430792284_n.jpg


559595_10151204278643291_875178521_n.jpg
 

Editor_Reid

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"AH100M" in Huntington NY already beat me to quoting the late Rich Chrysler when people would tell him that they didn't want a "concours restoration." Rich would then ask, "What did you not want done right?" The difference between a concours restoration and a "good driver quality" restoration is often not a difference in time or cost. It is a difference in the knowledge and dedication of the owner and restorer.

As the Moderator of this forum I hesitate to make recommendations such as this, so I'll just reference my personal experience and say that Paul Tsikuris of Lakeland, Florida ("Tsikuris Classics") and John Wilson of Marcola, Oregon ("Healey Lane Restorations" of Marcola, Oregon, not to be confused with a different business using the same business name and located in southern California) do very excellent work and I give them my highest recommendation. There are other excellent restorers, but I have no personal experience with them.
 

AH100M

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Reid-

I didn't know I was paraphrasing Rich Crysler. I just always thought the quote was "pithy", if not a bit smart-alecky!
 
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jcsb

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Well I appreciate the 2 recommendations I received and should note that this isn't my first restoration. I'm a manufacturing engineer who owns a machine shop (until early this year when I retired). I am presently rebuilding a 1983 Ferrari 308 which was completely disassembled and refinished. The engine was bored and stroke to 3.5 liters and electronic fuel injection installed and it is now producing 350 hp. Here is a link to the build https://www.fordgtforum.com/forums/...-ever-really-gotten-away-from-you!&highlight= . So restoring a car doesn't mean 'what do you want me to do wrong', but how obsessive do want me to be. I haven't seen a car yet when first produced would be considered in concours condition.

Restoration to me is determining what level I'm willing to condition the car to. I'm looking for the car body to be straight, free of obvious waves, any rust removed (presently it doesn't show any but you never know), and then a good paint job with color sanding. Since this is a car I plan to leave at a house I own in Santa Fe New Mexico and you as a summer car I'm considering it a daily driver for half the year. So, I hope this clarifies what I'm looking for. I'm presently doing some mods to the mechanics and can do anything required there this won't be a need.
John
 

Patrick67BJ8

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Well I appreciate the 2 recommendations I received and should note that this isn't my first restoration. I'm a manufacturing engineer who owns a machine shop (until early this year when I retired). I am presently rebuilding a 1983 Ferrari 308 which was completely disassembled and refinished. The engine was bored and stroke to 3.5 liters and electronic fuel injection installed and it is now producing 350 hp. Here is a link to the build https://www.fordgtforum.com/forums/...-ever-really-gotten-away-from-you!&highlight= . So restoring a car doesn't mean 'what do you want me to do wrong', but how obsessive do want me to be. I haven't seen a car yet when first produced would be considered in concours condition.

Restoration to me is determining what level I'm willing to condition the car to. I'm looking for the car body to be straight, free of obvious waves, any rust removed (presently it doesn't show any but you never know), and then a good paint job with color sanding. Since this is a car I plan to leave at a house I own in Santa Fe New Mexico and you as a summer car I'm considering it a daily driver for half the year. So, I hope this clarifies what I'm looking for. I'm presently doing some mods to the mechanics and can do anything required there this won't be a need.
John
There is a shop close to where I live that charges about $36k to paint a Ferrari. I assume it's "perfection" at that price. I just got my BJ8 back from the paint/body shop that painted it and they are also in the Dallas, Tx area. They have done Healey's and also ones with Jule frames. The did a very good job and I was clear that I would not get a concours paint job but would get one that I would be satisfied with and not be paying the extra $10k for a perfection paint/body job. It is very important that you know and understand what you are getting and what you are expecting. I asked about how many fisheyes and was told "none". They ended up picking my car back up and removing all the fisheyes and there was several of them.
 
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Randy i'm a little confused when you say concourse painter or merely good
The merely good job (driver/club quality) was estimated @ $8k, and the concours paintjob was $16k. Since Paul had already done $8k worth of bodywork in preparation of paint, I opted for the merely good, which was essentially flawless, but not perfect... ;)

The paint job speaks for itself, as it's always complimented on, even by non-car people, and again, it's more than ten (>10) years old.
 
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jcsb

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Thanks guys. Hearing some numbers helps too! The car wont be shown it will be driven. A good paint and body fix is really what I'm looking for. I'm selling my Audi R8 because it doesn't get driven enough (3,600 miles). I'm downsizing my cars so that I can devote more time to driving what remains.
John
 
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57_BN4

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The difference between a good and not so good panel shop would come down to how many Healeys they have done previously and how attentive to detail they were, particularly with respect to getting the door gaps even and to the rocker panel compound curve. Once you start seeing cars with an incorrectly formed rocker panel-front fender curve you can't stop looking for it. Ask for photos and get them to point out where they put effort in to get it right.

The difference between a good and not-so-good paint job/shop would come down to whether they are going to use polyester products on the vehicle. So far I have not found anyone here prepared to paint my car without using polyester, either as a spray or as bondo. Polyester is the one thing that will shift under the paint and be showing itself within ten years. I have yet to see a polyester paint job last ten years.

To get a car straight without using polyester is a very lengthy operation involving a large amount of planishing, shrinking and filing (= hours and hours at high dollar rates) followed by more hours and hours of spraying and sanding. Bondo and or spray filler are the smash repair industry shortcut to this.

Have to say I don't like this "what would you like me to do wrong" thing because concours has almost nothing to do with bodywork. It is all about how far an owner is prepared to go to avoid generic replacement parts and stick to factory options. A 'rolling Moss catalog' will never be a concours car but it is far more economical for those that don't care about how it was/should be.

Andy.
 
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jcsb

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Hi Andy,
Thanks for the remarks, but I know of very few (0) shops that still used lead to fill voids. I believe the majority of owners considering a periodic paint job acceptable since there will certainly be some damage driving a car for 10 years and such the additional costs of have the body work done to this level unnecessary. Would I prefer that to be different, yes, but since this will be pretty much a daily drive not necessarily useful. As I noted I'm not interested in a concours car and actually would not want one. Then it would be just a something to look at and not something that I feel I could drive. I really enjoy looking at those who have taken that step. I'm just not one of those. I once owned a English Bulldog that we showed. He bit the judge. LOL. Nope not for me.
John
 

Patrick67BJ8

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Hi Andy,
Thanks for the remarks, but I know of very few (0) shops that still used lead to fill voids. I believe the majority of owners considering a periodic paint job acceptable since there will certainly be some damage driving a car for 10 years and such the additional costs of have the body work done to this level unnecessary. Would I prefer that to be different, yes, but since this will be pretty much a daily drive not necessarily useful. As I noted I'm not interested in a concours car and actually would not want one. Then it would be just a something to look at and not something that I feel I could drive. I really enjoy looking at those who have taken that step. I'm just not one of those. I once owned a English Bulldog that we showed. He bit the judge. LOL. Nope not for me.
John
From what I've been told, and several times at that, lead shrinks and swells and you will see it after a while and bondo is formulated to shrink and swell wth temp changes more compatible with the body metal. The paint used on my frame/chassis was about $400 per gallon. The same $400 the body paint. I don't know if that is for polyester or otherwise. Pay attention to the body work because it is the most expensive thing to correct, if needed, in a buyers eyes should you ever decide to sell your car.

As was previously said, once you see a car with bad gaps you'll always look a Healey and you will look for those gaps. My first premium body and paint was in 1975 and the car was taken down to bare metal. Metal was welded in with a gas welder and has held up fairly well but the shop that just did my bodywork was firm when they said that type of repair wouldn't fly with them and they ended up cutting all the gas welded patches and used a tig(I guess) to repair the body.

You also must be willing to supply them with parts sources such as Kilmartin, etc. and definitely be prepared to deliver all the chrome trim pieces so they have them for "fitting" the trim and body together and don't pre-plate the chrome or you may have to do it the second time. It also helps to copy pages from the Parts Manual and yellow highlight the pieces you provided as well as numbering the pieces. I even provided the shop all the screws and bolts per the Parts Manual and where they went on the car. I also supplied them with the Nuts and Bolts/screws guide so they know what size they are should they get them mixed up. All this stuff was neatly labled and in a binder and boxes.

I would be very hesitant to use a body/paint shop that hasn't done a Healey and also one that is out of town unless you have someone overseeing (Project Management), the job and are willing to pay them. Ask around for Healey folks who have had their Healey body/paint restored and ask them about the problems they had and the most important question of all...would they use the body/paint shop again.
 

Editor_Reid

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Have to say I don't like this "what would you like me to do wrong" thing because concours has almost nothing to do with bodywork. It is all about how far an owner is prepared to go to avoid generic replacement parts and stick to factory options. A 'rolling Moss catalog' will never be a concours car but it is far more economical for those that don't care about how it was/should be.

There is almost no better way to stir controversy that to utter or write the word "concours." Unfortunately most of the controversy emanates from those who know little-to-nothing about the way it is practiced in the Austin-Healey community in North America. I can assure you that bodywork is very much a part of concours judging, at least here. (One sure way to identify these people is by the way they misspell concours as "concourse.")

Also, "concours" does not - despite the apparent wide-spread misconception - mean "perfect." And "concours cars" may be driven; having a concours car does not prevent you from driving it.

In any case, this thread was originally started by asking for a restorer recommendation, but we soon discovered that it was really focused only on body/paint. If you just want pretty good paint work, you have thousands of choices. Good luck.
 
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jcsb

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Yes, your right that I probably should have noted that the car really needed a good paint job. Unfortunately I wouldn't want to spend that money without seeing if there were underlying conditions that needed to be taken care of. Generally someone who does restores these cars should be able to offer options to the level in which to take the reconditioning. I know I never mention concours in my original comments asking for recommendations. I have often felt that someone who restores a marque does so to the conditions of the owner. By requesting for a recommendation on restoration companies I was really looking for someone with the ability to review the condition of the bodywork and give an honest assessment.
John
 

Patrick67BJ8

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There is almost no better way to stir controversy that to utter or write the word "concours." Unfortunately most of the controversy emanates from those who know little-to-nothing about the way it is practiced in the Austin-Healey community in North America. I can assure you that bodywork is very much a part of concours judging, at least here. (One sure way to identify these people is by the way they misspell concours as "concourse.")

Also, "concours" does not - despite the apparent wide-spread misconception - mean "perfect." And "concours cars" may be driven; having a concours car does not prevent you from driving it.

In any case, this thread was originally started by asking for a restorer recommendation, but we soon discovered that it was really focused only on body/paint. If you just want pretty good paint work, you have thousands of choices. Good luck.
I was told that the word "concours" was a term used many years ago given to the display of race cars after the race where the cars were merely cleaned up and displayed. Hardly perfection by any means given that the car was a race car and might have some dings. A whole discussion topic can be given to the meaning of "concours" and what it is today and yesterday and that might be appropriate and a good thing given the misconception or conception of it.

Probably a lot easier to discuss and define than a Factory "M" or a Dealer "M".
 

Frameman

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When proceeding with a project as you describe, I believe to two strongest elements for body and paint work are the shop should be licensed tradespeople and the shop is well versed in repairing Austin Healeys. When you remove the panels from a Healey, the true condition of the car is exposed. This is going to change the process of repair and finishing the car. If you get an upfront quote to do the body and paint work, it is a clear indicator the shop is not familiar with Healeys. Do not be drawn in by a full quote of repair. This quote will get you in the door but either the final price will be more because there will be the need for extra work that the inexperienced shop has no idea about or the shop might try to stay within the quote but will take short cuts to try to stay in the budget. Neither is good.
The final item I want to address is "what part of this don't you want done right". I feel this comment is a slippery slope. Sometimes replicating what was originally there might not always be the right thing to do.
 
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Yes, your right that I probably should have noted that the car really needed a good paint job. Unfortunately I wouldn't want to spend that money without seeing if there were underlying conditions that needed to be taken care of. Generally someone who does restores these cars should be able to offer options to the level in which to take the reconditioning. I know I never mention concours in my original comments asking for recommendations. I have often felt that someone who restores a marque does so to the conditions of the owner. By requesting for a recommendation on restoration companies I was really looking for someone with the ability to review the condition of the bodywork and give an honest assessment.
John
Well, that's the exact reason I chose Paul Tsikuris; I had restored the chassis and running gear from the ground up, but at the final finishing stage, I had to either accept my limitations, or swallow hard and pay the man. I knew for a fact that Paul had already restored many Big Healeys, so he'd be well aware of the pitfalls of their bodywork, and how to manipulate it for acceptable gaps and finish.

I was trying to find a couple pictures representing the door gaps, but this was the best I think of...

IMG_7623.jpg
 
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