So, this is actually my first ‘contracted’ 240Z restoration (Yes, we had a signed contract). Overall, I would say that it went surprisingly well. The restoration was done within the contract estimated cost of $40K and time frame of one year (almost).
The breakdown on the costs for the customer are as follows:
Parts and Material: $14,885.28
For a grand total restoration cost of: $39,361.53
Payments for the paint were made by the customer directly to the paint shop
Payments for parts and labor costs were made by the customer through Paypal. Payments were all made in advance in $1500 increments. When the $1500 was spent, I would send an invoice and then the next payment was sent.
This process worked very well and the customer was very prompt with payments and very supportive. The customer was able to monitor the progress through the blog and was very communicative and supportive during the restoration. This was done by e-mail and not through the blog. It was actually a very nice way to do things.
For the most part, the restoration went as planned. Below are some of the items that were lessons learned or different than originally planned or expected.
1. Initially, the plan was to restore the car to what Hagerty’s would consider a Condition #2 car, similar to my orange Z, which I consider a condition #2. However, after the paint job, the project was kicked up a level to where the car would be in the Condition #1 category. As I mentioned earlier, paint and body work quality is a huge factor in a restoration. https://www.hagerty.com/apps/valuationtools/1972-Datsun-240Z
2. Quality paint and body work is expensive. I was hoping to get the paint done for $5-10K. This is what I discussed with the customer. I got a number of quotes and even considered Maaco (they did a nice job on my yellow Z, not on my silver Z). However, I had seen Miguel’s work and really wanted a great paint job so I went in that direction. The total cost of the paint job was $14,000. The customer paid $12K of this and I paid out of my labor cost $2K. The reason I covered $2K of the paint job was that I had told the customer $5-10K for paint, and obviously we blew way past that. The other reason is that I charged labor for my early prep and body work, all of which was removed by Miguel. So, no fair to charge the customer twice, so the right thing to do was to pick up some of the cost. On the next car I do, after I remove all the parts, car will go straight to Miguel for paint. No need for me to do any body work, although stripping most of the paint would not be bad.
3. One more item on paint: I would consider my Orange Z a condition #2 car, primarily because of the paint. This orange Z that I just finished is about 90% in the Condition #1 state. As you can see from the valuation tools page, the price difference between the 2 conditions is more than the total cost of the paint. Aside from the paint, I would say the cars are almost exactly the same. If I had to do it over, I would have taken my orange car to Miguel. I think the ROI is worth it for the paint.
4. Scope creep: Every engineer has experienced this. There were a couple of things that we added that were not part of my initial restoration plan. Originally the car had the slotted mags. The customer and I discussed the pros and cons of putting on the steelies and hubcaps and eventually we went in that direction. That was a bit of a cost hit over the original estimate. Polishing the mags would be about $300. Getting a set of nice steelies and hubcaps was over $1K when all said and done. Also, we ended up going with a nice reproduction of the original OEM exhaust instead of just replacing it with an off the shelf system. The OEM reproduction came out great and looks and sounds super.. Nice choice on both items. I will do this same system on my white one as well. (Special thanks to Carl Beck for bringing this to our attention).
5. Organizing everything in large storage boxes by section works out great. I had an engine box, an interior box, and an undercarriage box. This makes finding parts much easier.
6. I do a lot of my own zinc plating, but when doing large projects, taking stuff to the plating shop is the way to go. There were several times I brought a lot of parts to the plating shop and just paid the minimum $75 lot charge. This is a nice way to go as it is quick and they do a nice job. Powder coating is also relatively cheap.
7. Time wise, paint took a lot longer than I was expecting. I was thinking 1-2 months. I think it took 5 months. Fortunately I was able to do the engine and some undercarriage items during this period.
8. Parts are starting to get hard to find. It has been very helpful to have the support of the classiczcars.com site in hunting some of these things down. Thanks everyone!
9. Not sure if I could do another one in a one year time frame. Need to take into account, Vacations, Birthdays, weddings, car shows, home maintenance etc.
These are some of the items that stand out the most on the restoration. I will add more as things come to mind if they are significant.