How much is typical cost for bodywork and paint job? [Archive] - El Camino Central Forum : Chevrolet El Camino Forums

: How much is typical cost for bodywork and paint job?

Hey Crabman
12-05-2008, 08:31 AM
Hello everyone. This is my first post. I just bought a 1986 El Camino which had been sitting for a year. The wheel wells have rusted through on both quarter panels, otherwise the body is in pretty decent shape with no dents. The floor boards are also weak with small holes through. The roof window had a leak in the gasket and water had seeped into the interior making a moldy mess of the headliner, seats, etc. The bed is excellent and the motor was replaced with a 305 back in 11/07. The seller was a kid who bought it with the intention of fixing it up but lost his job and has been sitting in driveway for a year. He said he paid a thousand a year ago and drove it home with only brake work being needed at the time. The car did not start but he said it was due to a bad battery terminal connection. I paid 400 bucks for it and had AAA tow it to a local body shop. The owner of the body shop quoted me 2000 bucks for body work and paint job. I have really no idea what it cost for this service so I am asking this group if they have any idea???? I hate to get ripped off! The very next day I stopped off at the body shop to make a down payment and the El Camino was in the shop already. There were three employees already working on the body! The owner told me he had started it and had the battery on a charger. He started it up so I could hear it and it sounded fantastic! Put a big smile on my face. The owner of the shop said it needed a new alternator but the battery tested good. He also said he would like to replace the hood. He told me to start thinking about a color but he only wants to paint it a light color. I am thinking "Daytona Yellow" with two black stripes. I am also thinking about buying a hood scoop for it that he would paint and mount in the 2,000 price. I will post some before and after pictures when I get the chance.

12-05-2008, 10:07 AM
$2000 sounds low to me. He must really be hurting for work. Does that include fixing the rusty quarters and floor? My rust repair alone was almost twice that and that was 4-5 years ago. But than there was a lot more rust repair than you are talking.
I've been working on my 67 since 1999. I just got it painted in August and it cost me $2300 + $150 for the pin stripes, with very little body work to be done. There were no big dents. Actually the only dent was a small one were my motorcycle feel over and just clipped the door. And only a couple small holes from where were crappy tie downs were in the bed. Mine was painted Tangerine Pearl. Which is a Dodge color, sort of a medium copper color. But for some reason it looks red when I take pictures of it. And I hate red.

I would also stay away from a hood scoop. I have never seen one added to a hood that looked right after a couple years. They always seem to crack where they are molded to the hood. If you want one I would replace the entire hood with one that as the scoop and hood as one solid piece.

12-05-2008, 10:08 AM
Well welcome to the site, lots of great ppl here and tons of great info!!

Well it sounds like you got a really good deal!! And that's not a bad price for the paint and bodywork. As for color, whatever you like!!! I'm not particulary fond of yellow, but if you are...go for it!!

Hey Crabman
12-05-2008, 10:35 AM
I am glad to hear that you say it is low. It may be because I told him I was in no hurry and that he may want the car just to keep his employees working on something when they have a slow day. I know I would not get this deal and hour and a half south to me in Boston. I also thinks he likes El Caminos :) The 2000 includes cutting out sheet metal and welding into the two holes by wheel well on each side as well as doing the same for the floorboards. Also all body sanding and bondo work to smooth everything out prior to paint, needless to say. I believe he is also going to replace the headliner and put a seat cover over the seats. Then he will paint the car. When I went to make a second payment, he had the tailgate off and was showing me where he had to fix the two small creases where the tailgate would fall by the hinges and then showed me where he spot welded the bottom seam along the tailgate bottom. He said the repair just to the tailgate was about a three hour job. I am not really fond of yellow either but he is insistant that he will only paint a light color. His reasoning is that the car may have a ripple effect when looking down the length sideways. Whatever??? If he is that particular, maybe that is a good thing! That leaves me with white, dukes of hazard orange or yellow. Since I dont want to drive a school bus, I think a light yellow with black stripes would look nice if that is what I am left with for choices. I will probably be into this thing for less than 3,000 when done and was also wondering if I could come out ahead ion the deal as far as resale value. I think it will be close. Anyways I am on my way to El Camino bliss now and there is no turning back.

12-05-2008, 01:12 PM
His reasoning is that the car may have a ripple effect when looking down the length sideways.

not if it's prepped right.

$2000 to cut, weld, do bodywork, and spray it is a heck of a good price as long as he's not a bondo tech and will do it right.

I'd recommend getting a 2" cowl induction hood. you can get them in fiberglass or steel. if you go steel, use Goodmark.

ole george
12-05-2008, 01:14 PM
In searching for THE 70 SS I saw a really nice black painted El Camino with a shiny clearcoat finish. Looking down each side were all these ripples. Your guy is right. To get rid of them requires some expensive custom body work which can only be justified if you want a show car.
To get some idea what a paint job would cost so I could know what to bid on a car, two local shops quoted me about $2000 plus any body work providing repainting the same color so they would't have to repaint the door jambs. Sounds like you got a deal- wish I lived in your area so that I could use him.

12-05-2008, 02:04 PM
That is the reason he wants to shot a light color. It will not show a bad or quick prep job. But still for 2k that is still a good deal. And if your plan is to flip it anytime in the near future what you're having done should be good enough.
Just as a point of reference. When I was getting estmates on having my car painted, with very minamal body work. In other word no cutting or welding just smoothing it out. I was getting quotes anywhere from $4,500 to $7000. Even as high as $10,000. So when I found someone to do mine for under $4k, I thought I had got lucky...and I did. And it is not perfect, it has a few flaws.

Harald K
12-05-2008, 04:50 PM
If you are getting a paint and body restoration job for $2000.00 or a little over you are either getting a steal or a quickie that will disappoint you down the road. A good paint job , almost show quality will run you at least $5000.00 and up and that is with minimal body work. Since I have had my El Camino it has been painted twice. The first time it was about $2100.00 and lasted about three years. There was no body work at all to do just sanding and prep. The last time was $6000.00 but it is show quality and had it been done by a shop would have cost me at least $10000.00. It was done by friend who do the work on the side it took 4 months to get it done. The problem is the quality of the prep and the quality of the paint, both are expensive and if you cut corners it will show.
The materials are extremely high now days with paint and primer ,clear coat plus all the incidentals can add up to well over $1500.00 for a good paint job.
That being said you can get a Macco paint job which uses bulk paint in very limited colors minimal prep for about $1500.00 t0 2000.00. But you get what you pay for. There will be no color sanding or door jamb detailing.
Like I said the price will reflect the quality. I don't mean to be the spoil sport in this thread but did not want you to set your expectations high. The final word if you are happy with the results then it is a good deal. If you have to select a light color you might consider silver which looks pretty good on an EL Camino, the insistence on the light color should give you a hint at how much blocking and priming they plan to do. Good Luck

12-05-2008, 04:53 PM
I had over 1200.00 in just primer, sealer, and single stage paint and I did it my self. I did buy top of the line paint but the materials are still very expensive. It sound like you are getting a great deal.

12-05-2008, 05:18 PM
I paid $3500. That was with minimal bodywork, no rust. It's not quite show quality, has a few flaws but shows very well. While it was getting painted it literally looked like a bomb exploded in it, the interior was out doors and everything else off. I do get a compliment every day, and I drive it every day.
How bout light blue, some light greens, or maby even some burnt orange? How bout silver or a grey? There are literally thousands of colors. What color is the interior? Whatever color you do decide on make sure you like it, you have to drive it.

12-05-2008, 05:19 PM
I paid $3500. That was with minimal bodywork, no rust. It's not quite show quality, has a few flaws but shows very well. While it was getting painted it literally looked like a bomb exploded in it, the interior was out doors and everything else off. I do get a compliment every day, and I drive it every day.
How bout light blue, some light greens, or maby even some burnt orange? How bout silver or a grey? There are literally thousands of colors. What color is the interior? Whatever color you do decide on make sure you like it, you have to drive it.

Hey Crabman
12-05-2008, 05:48 PM
Very interesting comments. Thank you. No you are not spoiling anything...those are the type of comments I wanted to hear. I really know nothing about this so this a new adventure. Wow, I cant believe some of the prices being quoted. After my first post, I called another local body shop and was quoted 2000 starting price for just a paint job. It sounds like I will be getting my moneys worth just due to the body work being done on it and not necessarily the paint job. Sounds like there is no way I could get a show paint job for that kind of money but I will most likely end up with a very nice looking elky once completed. Hopefully the paint doesnt blister and peel in a couple of years. The body shop owner is a real nice guy and I have gone snowmobiling with him and his kids before so maybe that is why he is giving me a great price. The elky was originally silver but was painted black when I bought it. I also called the person listed on the old registration when the kid sold it to me to see if I could get some history on the car. That guy told me he was the one who put the engine in the car in November 07. He thought it was a 305 from a 84 Chevy pick up but couldn't be sure. He says he installs engines as a hobby and does not make very much money doing it (hence the 1,000 dollar sale to the kid). He told he does not put any engines into vehicles that are over 100,000 and are questionable at all. Most engines have about 70 to 80,000 miles on them. He told me to be rest assured the engine was good and I believe him because it sounded great. I am going over tomorrow to see if any progress made and take some pictures. Thanks again for the comments and yes this is a great site. Glad I found it. I belong to another site for Honda Pacific Coast riders and this one seems just like that one. great info here!

12-15-2008, 04:27 PM
I agree with everyone in that 2k is a good price. It sounds like you know and trust the guy, so that's a good thing. Some shops will try and bait you with a cheap price, and then add stuff when you car is in pieces at their shop. But, this shouldn't be an issue if the guy is trustworthy. If you are expecting a paint job that looks good for a driver, you probably won't be disappointed. Just don't expect show quality for that price. The fact that the shop does not want to spray a dark color should tell you that they do not intend to spend a lot of time blocking and sanding. Still, that leaves you with a lot of colors to choose from. Take a look at some new cars and note any color you like. They can color match almost anything. I would tend to lean toward silver or gray. Two of my favorites are Sebring Silver and Spiral Grey Metallic, both C5 Corvette colors. BTW, take some pictures of the work in progress, as well as the finished product. We'd love to see 'em. Good luck.

12-16-2008, 02:48 AM
I'll throw in my two cents...

When I repainted mine the total cost out the door was 1800 bucks. It was a good Maaco shop that was painting rods. Thing is I had to do all the prep work take care of some minor rust damage and pull all the moldings etc myself.

When I got it back I paid a professional detailer 250 bucks to color sand it and by the time I finished getting all the trim parts redone that was another 1500 bucks. So in the end it was over 3500 bucks and I got a decent paint job. I used GM factory colors so they were easy to get and reasonably priced.


Hey Crabman
12-20-2008, 12:26 PM
I took some pictures in the body shop but having trouble loading them here.

http://C:\Documents and Settings\Richard Hapke\My Documents\My Pictures\2008-12(Dec) (http://C:%5CDocuments%20and%20Settings%5CRichard%20Hapke% 5CMy%20Documents%5CMy%20Pictures%5C2008-12%28Dec%29.JPG)

http://C:%5Cocuments%20and%20settings%5CRichard%20Hapke%5 CMy%20Documents%5CMy%20Pictures%5C2008-12%28Dec%29%5Celcamino5.JPG

12-21-2008, 09:48 AM
just to add my 2 cents- yes its a great price and the reason he is dictating a light color scheme is that a dark color will show all defects in the body and in the prep work. For the $2000.00 you are getting what is called a "20 footer" I.E. it looks good from 20 feet away. Its a good start- do this now and redo it in a few years when you can afford to get a better job. good luck:nanawrench:

12-21-2008, 10:45 AM
I paid $4500 for the labor and paint. I supplied all the sheet metal.:dontknow:

King John
01-18-2009, 01:25 AM
Aloha all,

I got a quote for $4200 starting with no body work ***! Seems a little high to me personally. Best bet is to shop around and don't be affraid to go to 5 or more shops to get prices. Also, paint supply houses normally have cards of body shops and since they see the same body and paint guys, they have a good idea of who is who and the type of work they do.

Be realistic though, know what the car is used for. If it is for show use, expect to spend $5000.00 or more on paint ONLY, if it is a daily driver, you can get away with MAACO paint. The saying goes, you get what you pay for...which is not always true. You get what you investigate and find out about. Get referred to a shop vice just picking one out of the phonebook it will make the process so much easier if the guy you are working with/giving your money to has done really good work for people you know.

Keep in mind, most of the cost when dealing with painting a car is the labor. Save yourself some cash by getting the body work done prior to taking the car to the painters. Replace rusty or severely creased/dented fenders and hoods. Also, remove EVERTHING that you do not want painted as the less stuff they have to mask off, usually the easier on the pocket book it is.

Don't remove windows and door handles/locks unless you are looking for that super sick show car finish and are willing the to accept the responsibility of possibly scratching your fresh paint when trying to put those kind of part back on the car. From first hand experience, the door handles and locks are really easy to get out, just a bitch to put back in. Unless you are replacing all the rubbers, do not remove the door rubbers as more than likely it will rip on the way out, then you are stuck with an additional $250.00 for new ones.

Try removing and replacing some of the parts on the car just to find out how to do it, as you don't want to experiment AFTER you spend all that money for fresh paint then figure out, it was really easy to get out, just **** near impossible to put back on after the paint has dried. When I stripped my VW for paint and body work, it took a little over 4 hours to remove all 4 fenders, hood, deck lid, and all windows. Putting the car back together took about two weeks since I was "afraid" to scratch the paint when reinstalling all the parts.

Lastly, make sure the car is COMPLETELY AND MECHCANICALLY SOUND as changing alternators, fan belts, etc after the car is painted leaves plenty of room to FCK it up. Well to all, good luck, stay realistic about what the car is used for and you will be alright:nanawrench:
Sorry for the long post,

01-18-2009, 02:57 AM
don't be afraid of asking any freinds you have that may have the skills or at least the local shops they know(found 3 around me i didn' know about).mine will be getting paint soon and my best bud is doing it,all bodywork also, for 2000.00
we have been freinds since always(35+years) and he works for ford:secret:(oops) and has painted all 4 of his mustangs.i also know he will treat this as his own and not just some car off the road.not expecting a show car quality but i know his work and it will be close,and i would rather pay him than some joker from a shop.local shop painted hood on my pt cruiser and not very well at that.


El Diablo
01-18-2009, 04:28 AM
UPLOAD THESE PICS TO PHOTOBUCKET.COM Then post the url link here to the pics, that should work, these don't.

Hey Crabman
01-18-2009, 08:37 AM

This elky needs a lot of work!

Hey Crabman
01-18-2009, 08:47 AM
WoooHoooo! I got the pics to upload...thanks Diablo! Still looking to get a replacement hood. I am going to look at a parts car tomorrow. If the hood looks good and other interior parts i will buy it for about the same price I bought this one. 2 elkies for 800 bucks! Hopefully one nice one can be made from them. Still planning on a white one with black stripes on hood. Also planning on adding a bolt on hood scoop.

01-18-2009, 10:31 AM
I had my El Camino painted,as well a body work.The shop charged $1300.00.The down side is I don't feel he prepped the body a well as he should have.Paint began to flake with in 6 Months.He is supposed to redo the entire car for $500.but I feel I shoudn't have to pay for it.So I will probablly refinish the car myself that way I can control the time and effort spent on it.So I guess $2000 is not bad if he does it right,and will stand behind his work.

01-30-2009, 04:51 PM
sounds real low to me with the work you listed for QUALITY job Ide say more like 8 or 9,000 thats with out custom paint. just the paint on my last car cost me 900 primer bondo tape paper sand paper buffing compound had nearly 1,200 in supplies alone,, that would be the 66 caprice in my photo bucket,, the reason a body shop likes light color is the poor body work dont show as much.
check out the work put in to the caprice then let me know if that could be dun for $2,000 that job would cost more than 10k if dun by a quality shop.. King John has some prety good advice if your up to it (
you can see bouth cars under albums
good luck