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Getting Back Into My 02... Going Down To The Sheet Metal And Back?


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I've had my 1976 02L since 2001-  It's gone from project car to daily driver to paper-weight after I bought a newer car- a 2005 MINI Cooper S in 2008.  The 02 (minimal rust) has sat since then and has developed a few rust blisters around the windshield.  It's by no means original and has had some hack-job repairs before I bought it.  


My OCD demands that the body is in better condition before I devote effort to the rest of the car.  I'd like to build it into a track/streetable car with about a stage 1-2 tune and some width to the body with turbo or box flares.


Before I get there though, who has stripped their car down to zero and had it blasted, straightened, repaired, and painted? I'm not looking for a show-finish with 30 hand-rubbed coats of paint or anything.  What is the price-range for sending a shell off for that kind of work?  Nearest $1K?


I'm picturing Imola Red and satin-black hood and trunk-lid.  I have a repro turbo front bumper collecting dust and a euro rear bumper.  Maybe I'll do those black too.  


Eh- enough rambling from me!

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I've done it a few times, to various cars. 


It's really not a lot of fun, and ends up costing a ton-

think about it, once the car paint's all shiny, do you really want to put

those old scabby rubber parts back on?  That rusty fastener?

That bumper with some rust scaling?


If you do ALL the paint and body work, I'd guess 10K.  Just for the shell.


If you pay someone to do it, $30- 40k, given that you're in a cheap

part of the country for that sort of thing. 


I'd recommend repairing your problems, and maybe have the whole car

shot once that's done.  But not a complete strip...


...but that's where I am in my life...



"I learn best through painful, expensive experience, so I feel like I've gotten my money's worth." MattL

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I am with Toby on $10K at the low end. You say you don't want show quality paint but if you are doing a full strip and straightening every panel, along with correct rust repair and fixing all the things hidden by paint, plus at least $3K (or likely more) for a full inside-out, top-to bottom paint job, and not doing the work yourself, it will eat $10K very quick. And if you are doing flares, you want to do them now, not later, and that adds to the body work cost.


After all this, with the nice shiny body, your OCD and frame-off approach means you will end up going all the way--new chrome, new carpet, new headliner, etc. Then you get into re-doing all your suspension and drive train to be commensurate with the rest car and $30-40K comes up fast.


I did a bare metal resto on my '74 Colorado track car. Did all the work myself (including stripping and blasting) except final paint. Hand painted entire car with POR-15, then primed with POR-15 primer using a small cell foam hand-roller. I think the final paint shoot was about $3k from a guy who normally does body work but I talked into doing the full shoot. Including the rest of the build (full cage etc) I estimate 3000 hours of my time. even if a shop could do it in 1000 hours, at say $60/hour that is $60,000 + parts!


So, if your rust is minimal and this is more a track/project car than a show car, just have the body shop fix that. Then strip off all the trim and remove windows, and sand the entire body to rough it up and then pay a shop to prime and paint. If you go all the way that is great, it is very rewarding, just realize it will take several years to complete, no matter what the body shop tells you in the beginning.


Best of luck,


'74tii (bare metal reincarnation of the '73tii)

'69 DCOE (rolling restoration and eventual bare metal resto candidate)


The '73tii, bought 1983, restored 1994, photo NHIS 1998



The '74 donor shell (photo 2003)





On track at VIR, 2008



New project, the '69, photo at Mid-Ohio 2012



Edited by FB73tii


'74tii (Colorado) track car

'69ti (Black/Red/Yellow) rolling resto track car

'73tii (Fjord....RIP)

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One way to do it yourself and have the time....if you're not good with bodywork, check around your area to see if there's a vocational high school (or jr college) that offers auto body classes.  Then you can either take the class yourself (presuming you're allowed to work on your own car) and at least get the bodywork done, and possibly the paint.  Great learning experience along with the satisfaction of doing the work yourself.  Even if you can't do the paintwork, with your doing the bodywork you could get an inexpensive (read MAACO) paint job and it'll still look pretty good--the prep work is the most important part of getting a nice paint job, given a reasonably competent painter--especially true if you're not looking for a 99 point show quality paint job..


Or if you have neither the time nor inclination to do the work yourself, vocational schools are usually looking for projects for the students to learn on.  I've seen some beautiful jobs come out of a vocational high school.




'69 Nevada sunroof-Wolfgang-bought new
'73 Sahara sunroof-Ludwig-since '78
'91 Brillantrot 318is sunroof-Georg Friederich 
Fiat Topolini (Benito & Luigi), Renault 4CVs (Anatole, Lucky Pierre, Brigette) & Kermit, the Bugeye Sprite

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As a suggestion, go hit a couple of car shows..primarily old iron ie, hot rods, customs etc.  those guys will know where to go for what you are looking for.......


74 02Lux

15 M235i

72 Volvo 1800ES

People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf." -- George Orwell

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Thanks for the advice fellas!  I can certainly see how this project can be one of those "95% done, 95% left to go" situations.  I'm a minimalist, so if it isn't functional, I can do without.  Having a sound body, good mechanicals, necessary ergos, and maybe a handful of nice-to-haves is my ideal end-result for this.  Luckily, I think that's conducive to saving some money.  I'm a machinist and I have some assets at work that will come in handy.  I envision a lot of small metal parts painted in Cerakote!


I collected parts for the first 10 years of ownership so parts aren't going to be a big cash sink.  It's had rust repair in its past and some of it is decent.  Some isn't- like the flat sheet metal that replaced the spare tire well, and the front clip looks like a monkey welded it, but the rear towers are excellent and the only significant rust is a 1x2" hole in the floor and some bubbles at the bottom of the windshield.


A/C.   Man I like A/C...   ah crap.

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