Jump to content

Assessing the damage to car and ego





After a couple of days of self abuse and a general state of depression, I came to terms with my mistake and decide to make lemonade out of lemons. From the time that I bought this car I had planned on doing body and paint work (I've been hoarding parts from day one), I just didn't know when I'd get around to it. Well, I just forced my own hand. 


The first thing I did was swallow my pride and call my mechanic Patrick at Midnight Motorsports to let him know what had happened. After some much deserved ribbing, we began to plan next steps.


Patrick was the one who helped broker the deal for me to buy Ernie from one of his clients. He built up the car's mechanicals for the previous owner so he knew the car inside and out, and we had discussed different restoration and upgrade options numerous times over the time that I've owned it. I wasn't planning on making an insurance claim but he talked me into doing it. Note to all reading this: If you haven't already done so, make sure you switch your insurance policy to AGREED VALUE. When I bought my first 02, Kermit, I read up on the posts here about car insurance and the need to get this type of policy. Man, I'm glad I did.


I called my insurance company, American Collectors, and filed a claim proactively including a list of parts and prices (most of which I already had). They said all I needed to do was get an estimate from the shop of my choice and submit it and they'd cut a check. Based on Patrick's recommendation I decided to go with American Auto Painting & Body in Renton, WA. I took the car down, gave them my list of parts and prices, got a consolidated estimate, submitted it, and a few days later I had a check in hand to cover the damage to the front of the car. But while we're at it... Damn-it, I wanted to do the whole car.


Scope, meet creep. 


I've added a gallery of the damage to the front clip and a 360 walk around. Here's a list of all the work I'm having done to Ernie while in body and paint.

Paid by insurance:

- replace front clip

- replace left and right fenders

- replace grills (3 pieces)

- replace front bumper

- replace hood trim

- replace driving lights and brackets

- replace radiator

- replace aftermarket electric cooling fan

- sand, prime, respray repaired areas

Added by and paid by me:- repair rust in passenger door

- shave lower side trim and fill holes

- shave DOT side markers front and back, fill holes

- shave gas cap, fill holes

- shave rear license plate lights, fill holes

- replace spare tire well, repair any remaining rust in trunk area

- replace rear lower valance and move exhaust opening to dead center

- repair all remaining dings and dents

- install Kooglewerks duck bill air dam

- take entire car to bare metal, primer, sand and cut, 2 stage respray in Inka


I guess I should pause here and talk about my vision for the look of the car. To start, it's definitely staying Inka. I'm a designer by trade and have always appreciated the simplicity and purity of the original early cars. Short bumpers, no lower trim, no DOT silliness, etc. But I also love the functional and practical modifications to classic European rally cars of the 60's and 70's. Driving lights, beefy steelie wheels and tires, etc. I want the exterior of the car to blend a little of both. Modifications are a-ok with me as long as they feel authentic and purposeful. Interior wise, I absolutely love interiors from the late 50's and early 60's where details like chrome trim and plaid inserts really stood out and added a touch of class. Honestly, there isn't much left on the car that hasn't already been touched or replaced. This is always going to be a daily driver type of car that I will drive as much as I can.


Here are some inspiration images of things that I want to incorporate into my build.


For overall feel: 




2002 Specific:





Credit: Kooglewerks


Credit: Kooglewerks










Recommended Comments

Welcome to that long and winding road of rebuilding your classic. It will be worth the frustrations and apprehension you will undoubtedly experience along the way. When completed you will look back with overwhelming joy at everything that went into its rebirth and bask in the all its beauty.


I hope you are more successful in stayin within budget than I...... Looking forward to following your progress James.



Edited by joysterm

Share this comment

Link to comment

Sorry to hear about the (temporary) heartbreak, but I'm way into your vision for the car. Your aesthetic is spot-on in my book, all the way down to the beefy steelies and Kooglewerks duck bill. Very exciting. I'll definitely be following your progress. 


Do you think you'll be pulling the trigger on those weirdly-named Miata wheels? 

Share this comment

Link to comment

@MattL still debating the wheel choices.


While I love those Miata wheels, I'm not sure the center bore hole will fit 02 hubs. I think I'd have to have them machined to open them up and they're already really expensive. 


There are other options I'm exploring that I'll make a post on when I'm closer to that point in the build. Stay tuned. 

Share this comment

Link to comment
Add a comment...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.