Is your body shop competent and professional, do they take pride in doing their work correctly? Maybe you’ve purchased a Mustang that has been painted recently and it looks great, but was it done correctly?
Project Playboy spent some time at two body shops (now labeled Paint Shop Prison or PSP), both exhibited the capabilities, professionalism and attitude that would garner trust in their work. Unfortunately as time progressed deadlines were missed and attitudes deteriorated rapidly.
PSPI – L & H Kustoms, Sandy Oregon
L & H Kustoms never really got to finish any of the work, they just started some of it. The body had been media blasted, the floor pan was replaced but left unfinished, the passenger door and fender were started but not finished and a handful of minor welding was performed.
I pulled my Mustang after two missed deadlines and its a good thing I did. The work that they had done on another Mustang was never completed, and was a real hostage negotiation that lasted six months. I went and took a look at this Mustang once it had been returned to it rightful owner and I was highly disappointed in the craftsmanship and attention to detail; If you consider this shop you should think again and avoid L & H Kustoms entirely, they really suck!
PSPII – All Classic Restorations, Beaver Creek Oregon
All Classic Restoration was my second stop, they said that they knew the type, referring to L & H Kustoms and that it is shops like L & H that give every body shop a bad reputation. All Classic Restoration pointed out some of the unfinished work and commented on other areas that could have been done better all translating to “We will do the quality of work that you expect, and we would never be like the L & H Kustoms that are out there”; unfortunately I had to remove my Mustang from this shop also and complete the job myself.
I hauled Project Playboy home did a dry build and finished up the floor pan and undercarriage and then moved on to the body work…..
Since some of the work on the body shell appeared to have been started correctly at Paint Shop Prison II, I approached the body shell with a finish the work that had been started attitude and planned my approach toward completing it.
The roof had been started as well as the quarter panels and trunk lid; it appeared to be in the final stages with guide coat and block sanding remaining, indicating that all of the metal work had been repaired and corrected.
I decided to begin working at the roof and work my way down to the quarter panels and trunk. Starting with the roof I began sanding with a 16 inch sanding block with 80 grit sand paper attached in an area that was known to be in great shape. I would block an area until I reached metal and then bring the rest of the roof into perspective from that point.
I sanded for about five minutes without the results I was after so I changed to an air file to speed things up. Another few minutes of sanding had passed, again without results. I was really sanding off a lot of filler and was beginning to wonder just how thick this filler was; so I chipped a small piece out and discovers about an eighth of an inch plus across the entire roof; It was time to get out the grinder/sander and take it all off.
Here’s what I discovered
- Lots of body filler, the roof was completely covered
- Un-cured body filler, the top had about a six inch diameter puddle of goop under a hardened top coat. This would have been catastrophic if I had not found it before final paint and assembly.
- Every dent was still in the roof with no visible attempts to correct any of them, with the exception of one area that was so bad it looked like an ape gave it a try.
- The quarter panels also exhibited over use of body filler, up to an eight in thick in spots.
- Every dent was also left untouched on the quarter panels, which suggests that the excessive body filler was an attempt to reshape the panels without putting any effort into doing it correctly.
- The driver side lower front quarter panel had an area that had been impacted badly, had a small rust issue and should have been removed and replaced; but instead it was treated to a thick layer of filler in an attempt to reshape it.
I haven’t proceeded to the trunk lid yet and at this point I will most likely be reversing the work as I did on the roof and quarters backwards towards the IQ level of All Classic Restorations which is around Zero (0) +- a point.
Here’s some related resources:
How to Spot Bad Body Work: from Car Craft Magazine How to Spot a Potentially Bad Body Shop or Body Man: I couldn’t find a write up on this one so if you know some pointers post them here.