Can you Trust your Body Shop?

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.

DSCF0019I 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…..

121108photos2Since 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.

DSCF0012I 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.

 

DSCF0017I 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.

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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.

One thought on “Can you Trust your Body Shop?

  1. Everyone needs to find a shop that will enter a contract that states ON TIME or it don’t cost a dime. Additionally, Then you all need a shop that will take your car in and do the job and only get paid on delivery “No Deposit and No Payments” Your Car and Parts are more then enough collateral for a REAL SHOP TO DO THE JOB ON TIME! If a shop is under capitalized they are always taking the next guys money to work on the last guys car. There is only one Paint, Body, and Restoration Shop I know of that fills that bill, its 3G Super Rides LLC in Republic, MO Owned and operated by Sam Glidwell the web site is 3Gsuperrides.com or call the Shop Manager Alan at 417-209-4468. Now there is an exception to the rules I set out above and that is the Building of a high-dollar parts and labor car. In that instance A real Shop will require that the Customer deliver the full price quoted into an escrow account to be held until the car is completed under the terms of the contract the car is released to the owner and at the same time the funds are released to the Shop. That is how we do it here at assassin racing.(Why would we do that you may ask? answer: Since we are not a car lot and only build one off cars to the customers taste we want to make sure the money is there to pay for the job when it is finished. It’s not because we need the money to operate from) I use 3G Super Rides on all our Show Cars and nobody can beat the Black Paint jobs they turn out on the straightest body lines you will ever see. 3G Super Rides is also the only shop I know of that runs two shifts running from 8am to midnight m-f. So give them a call for your next project or that project the others never get finished. Oh one more thing, they turnaround most jobs in less the 60 days.
    Daniel — December 30, 2009 12:39 PM

    I tried to find your heroes 3Gsuperrides.com on the web but no luck, have they gone out of business? I hope you will clear this up, I hate to think they may have failed.
    John — July 19, 2010 2:38 AM

    Call the number listed for 3gsuperrides.com, I did! Alen and Sam Glidewell are honest hard working father and son team. I have taken them 3 cars since I stumbled across them in January after reading about them here on another page. You cannot beat the level of detail the achieve and they do it for a fair price and for me have always been on time! I put the money in the escrow account on 2 of them and when they finished the cars a week or two early they got paid. On the 1 car I sent them it was an insurance job on my viper GTS all I did was ship them the car, they fixed it like new($23,000.00 in damage)! So give them a call if you want a job well don and on time! You can see a giveaway car they painted for Realitycheck.org and Flipflopbarock.com it also has its own myspace page with over 1000 friends you can find the 1966 Mustang Coupe at myspace.com/darksidemustang the paint is a work of art a true black beauty.
    Hope this helps,
    SW — July 30, 2010 10:17 AM

    Beware of it “walks like a duck and sounds like a duck” in the case of L&H Kustoms it isn’t a duck. Be wary of the hyperbole of his knowledge and quality of work. My experience with L&H Kustoms , unfortunately, was uncannily similar to project Playboy but potentially deadly since my project was mechanical including steering.
    A project that should have taken no more then a week stretched out with one excuse after another for two and a half months and I consider myself lucky to get my project back at that. L&H Kustoms repairs/modification were not only done to far less then a industry standard, they were completely unsafe and dangerous.
    Your comments in regards to not allowing any business that is under financed, such as the case of L&H Kustoms is, in retrospect, spot on. A qualified shop does not require you to dip into your wallet for nearly every part needed on an ongoing basis. Missing agreed deadlines while your project is virtually held hostage is not someone you want to do business with. Especially after paying for the bulk of the project before beginning the work.
    Hind site recognition of who your dealing with is to late when your vehicle is in a dismantled in an inoperable or un-towable condition. When, unfortunately to late, after discovering your post regarding L&H Kustoms, his position was basically that you “can’t please everyone” and that anyone can post to the web……true, and I just did.
    You may see, after my addendum, comments by people professing to be more then satisfied customers or by L&H Kustoms themselves in defense of my comments…. I would consider the source and thoroughly vet it before proceeding with your project.
    I invite, no plead, L&H Kustoms to respond. Please site specific examples as to my comments of being under financed or any bonding for that matter…..sighting any verifiable sources would be greatly appreciated……C’mon, make my day.
    Larry — September 16, 2012 8:16 PM

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