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Thread: Choosing the Right Painter

  1. #1
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    Choosing the Right Painter

    Hi all, I'm new here so thanks for having me and potentially answering a question that has been answered before (I did try to search for the answer first).

    It seems that there's a combination of folks who do their own bodywork and folks who use the services of a pro. Personally I have NO experience of painting cars or even doing the initial prep stages. I'm fairly confident that I could do a reasonable job of the final sanding of primer, wipe-down and the same between top coats, but I would NOT trust myself to do a good job of the initial prep in terms of blending and reducing release lines, smoothing, filling pinholes, etc. And I certainly wouldn't want to tackle the priming/painting itself unless I was doing it with direct supervision/training of a pro.

    So I have a few questions:

    1. What is the best way to find the right autobody painter? Assuming that we're looking for a balance of cost vs time vs quality, what is the right way to go about finding the right person for the job? What should we be looking for or looking to avoid?
    2. Assuming that we're looking for a great finished product (as perfect as could be hoped), what is a ballpark figure that should be budgeted for for the paint job? I'm sure there are cheap guys and over-priced guys but it would be good to know if there is a ballpark figure that would be reasonable for a really-well done job. I think I'll likely be looking for a metallic base with stripes and, unless there's a reason not to, several coats of clear to give good leeway for the occasional machine polish without being nervous about going through the clearcoat.
    3. Are there any folks on here who take on prep/paint for us builders who are the go-to guys?

    I'm asking because, by the time I get to the paint stage, I'll have saved up for so long and put so much blood, sweat and tears into the project, I just KNOW that the paint will need to be done right. And I'd prefer to work a few more paycheques and wait a little longer, to ensure I'm 100% happy with the outcome, rather than try to save the wrong dollar in the wrong place.

    Thanks all!
    Andy

  2. #2

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    First question is where are you from? We need to know because there may be painters in your area that specialize in cobras.
    Mike

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    Andy,

    I just got thru painting my 1976 Porsche 912E. I did all the body work and prep too. It had a huge learning curve, but it turned out perfect, well almost perfect. There is 2 places where the body work has a wave in the panels, but I think I will be the only one to see it. I know on this car I saved myself over $10k and that includes all the tools I had to buy. I like saving money like that. If you have the time to do it yourself, then go for it. I think you can do it with all the help that you will get on this forum and youtube. If not then ship it to the Bat Cave here in California. Good luck.

    Rod
    Last edited by rezell3d; 11-08-2019 at 08:46 AM.

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  5. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by michael everson View Post
    First question is where are you from? We need to know because there may be painters in your area that specialize in cobras.
    Mike
    Who do you recommend CT/MA area?

  6. #5
    Senior Member CraigS's Avatar
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    Due to your location I'd ask FFR. I am pretty sure they have their go to guy somewhere not too far away.
    FFR MkII, 408W, Tremec TKO 500, 2015 IRS, DA QA1s, Forte front bar, APE hardtop.

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    Andy,
    As new builder with zero plans to do body work and paint, I went to as many shows as I could ( cobras and non-cobras) and talked to people about the paint and body work on their cars. Some had local painters do it, while others shipped their cars to California for a 10 month paint job. Once my search started, my family and I started seeing the difference between an expensive paint job, and a well executed paint job. For the expensive paint jobs, we saw many cars with "$20,000" paint jobs that were horrible. My wife is not a car person and when she can pick out the waviness in the panel filler, it's got to be bad. On the flip side of that, we saw many cars with reasonable cost paint jobs that were stunning. It's about the painter and their methods, not always about the price. As for "Go to" painters on this forum, there are many names that will come up in a search and depending where you are, they may be close, maybe not. Personally, I am taking my car to Jeff Kleiner. He has years of experience in the curvaceous lines of our cars and every car I've seen with his work is second to none. I mean no disrespect to anyone else that paints for a living or did their own body work. Each person will evaluate the work in front of them with their own eyes and come up with their own opinion. That's the beauty of these cars and the craftsman that make them what they are. You are fortunate that you're near FFR. I don't know who does their show cars, but I'd say they would be an option for you if Dave Smith leaves any openings in their schedule.

    Whatever you decide, make sure you view some examples of their work. If you won't be in paint next summer, I recommend going to the London Cobra Show. You will see hundreds of beautiful paint jobs and colors that will certainly make you lose some sleep when it comes to decision time.

    Scott
    Building FFR9457. 351 Windsor, TKO600, 3.73. Fitech EFI. Russ Thompson throttle pedal, turn signal, and trunk pan. Carbon Fiber dash with Speedhut Revolution gauges. Paint this winter by Jeff Kleiner.

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  9. #7
    Member RBachman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by D02G View Post
    Who do you recommend CT/MA area?
    Jeff Kleiner in Indiana is one of the most experienced and respected Cobra guys in the USA. And, his prices are more than fair. If you'd like to see some of his work, I believe you can check out some of the FFR cars they took to show off at SEMA. I once had a job at a Dodge dealer working in their body shop and know what it takes to provide the results I desire. I'm near Myrtle Beach, SC and will gladly haul it North to have Jeff work his magic on mine when ready.
    FFR MKIV ordered 12 July 2019. IRS, Wilwood Brakes, 18" Wheels w/MT tires, power steering, EFI, AC/Heat. 347 Dart w/TKO-600 by Mike Forte, FITECH FI, . All new, no donor build. Jeff Kleiner will provide body and paint work.

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    The guy that painted mine had done about 15 FFR's. Mine was his first MKIV and he said it needed a good bit of work to get it right. Especially the doors. I think experience with these cars is well worth the extra money. I think fit and finish makes the car, so I would go with someone that has a good reputation with the cobras. After 7 years mine still looks great.
    MKIV #7619 complete kit IRS, 351 TKO 500, Delivered 11/13/2011
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    http://thefactoryfiveforum.com/showt...-Graduate-7619

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    Senior Member Avalanche325's Avatar
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    I did my own with advice from our forum pros. I have seen what four of my local Cobra friends have gone through with professional body and paint shops. I think DIY was less stressful then what they went through. With seeing that, if I were to have someone do mine, I would ship it to Jeff Kleiner or Jeff Miller.

    Maybe....maybe if someone close to me had had a great experience, delivered on or nearly on time and their car looked good, I would go local. I would do my due diligence.

    The biggest thing you don't want to do is go to a collision shop. They use things like this for fill in work between their high profit insurance work. There have been a few people that have done that, and picked their unfinished car up a year or two later.

  12. #10
    Senior Member MisterAdam's Avatar
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    I am from New Hampshire and plan a 2nd build for next year. Without a doubt i am trailering it to jeff kleiner.....no hesitation

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  14. #11

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    D02G
    Dartmouth collision in Dartmouth ma
    Jennings Auto body in Fall River ma

    Mike

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    Senior Member JIMOCO's Avatar
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    I will 2nd the Dartmouth Collision recommendation. They did my roadster's body work and paint about 4 years ago. Excellent job, reasonably priced and quick turn around. I take my car to many car shows and at every one I get compliments on my paint.
    Mk4 Roadster, Picked up complete kit 8/22/14. Most FFR options except Wilwood brakes and IRS. First start 11/11/14. Go-kart 3/8/15. 347 Stroker, TKO 500, 3-link/3.27 rear. PA street legal 7/29/15.

  16. #13
    Senior Member KDubU's Avatar
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    Hey Andy, I am a bit North of you and spent a lot of time thinking this over when I was getting ready for paint. If I had to do it again, I would definitely considering going with Jeff Kleiner. It is a bit of a ways though but less than going to see The Bat. Mike Everson has some good advice for local ones in MA. I did not go with Dartmouth because of one reason and I think it was due to timing if I recall correctly (they had no openings at the time or it may have been getting into their busy season, don’t recall which). I ended up going to Metal Morpheous in CT and while I do think he does a good job and the bodywork and paint were very nice, he missed a couple things that should have been obvious to him. Instead I missed them on pickup (tip - bring a flashlight when inspecting the finished job) and had to go back to get them fixed. Plus what was supposed to be a 4 mth job and ended up at 7. Not saying the work is quick and all of them need to line up their work, a 4 month diff with zero explanation is just poor in my opinion. I believe it was due to him working with Backdraft or ERA and possibly having those slide into the schedule as I guess it brings a lot of business. Also I paid approximately $3500 more than I would have if I went to Jeff Kleiner (based on rough estimates at that time).
    Last edited by KDubU; 11-08-2019 at 04:08 PM.
    Kyle

    Complete Kit pickup 09/05/2015, 351w, QF680, 3.55, 3-Link, 15" Halibrands with MT's, Painted Viking blue with Wimbledon white stripes on 03/15/2017.

  17. #14

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    Smile

    Mike’s auto restoration and collision repair in Dudley Mass. He’s done quite a few FFR’s including some for the company. He did mine, and I’m just tickled with how it came out.1215B144-3199-44D4-9951-D6AF91F55ACD.jpeg
    “Privateer”
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    Lots of parts and advice from Mike Forte & Mark Reynolds (Breeze Automotive)

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  19. #15
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    Hi everyone. I knew this forum was helpful but I didn't realize it was also so fast! Thanks to everyone who has replied with such helpful information. I had been looking at Jeff K's work since I first started visiting this forum and the replies here have convinced me that the right place to take it is to Jeff K's shop. I'm a fair ways away both in terms of time and geography but both of those can be overcome with a little planning and elbow grease. My next steps will be to book a slot with Jeff (if someone is as in-demand as he is, he must be doing something right) and to begin looking into the logistics of being a BC (Canada) owner on the west coast, looking to get prep and paint done in Indiana. I'm not sure what provisions there are for temporarily leaving a car in the states that is registered in Canada, import taxes and whatnot... I have some research to be doing...

  20. #16
    Not a waxer Jeff Kleiner's Avatar
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    I appreciate all of the votes of confidence but Dude...British Columbia? Seriously, don't send it here. That's like 5,000 miles round trip (you can convert it to kilometers if you want but it's still a helluva long way!). It would make much more sense for you to ship it down to Ken Pike in Northern California or Jeff Miller in Southern California. We're all friends and I have and will continue to send owners their way. They've literally done hundreds and you will not be disappointed.

    Jeff

    PS: Are you familiar with the process of getting a kit into Canada and acquiring the deleted parts as mandated by Transport Canada? If not let me put you in touch with Ryan Valin to help you through the process and getting parts.

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  22. #17
    Senior Member KDubU's Avatar
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    Well that was a surprise, thought you were in New England based on you ask about MA and CT painters. Jeff is right, that is long ways to go so follow his advice on looking into Ken or Jeff M., both do fantastic work.
    Kyle

    Complete Kit pickup 09/05/2015, 351w, QF680, 3.55, 3-Link, 15" Halibrands with MT's, Painted Viking blue with Wimbledon white stripes on 03/15/2017.

  23. #18
    Senior Member wareaglescott's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KDubU View Post
    Well that was a surprise, thought you were in New England based on you ask about MA and CT painters. Jeff is right, that is long ways to go so follow his advice on looking into Ken or Jeff M., both do fantastic work.
    The original poster did not ask about MA and CT painters. That was someone else.
    MK4 #8900 - complete kit - Coyote, TKO600, IRS - Delivered 6/28/16 First Start 10/6/16 Go cart - 10/16/16 Build completed - 4/26/17 - 302 days to build my 302 CI Coyote Cobra - Registered and street legal 5/17/17
    Build Thread http://thefactoryfiveforum.com/showt...e-build-thread
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  24. #19
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    Before you ship the car out of Canada make absolutely sure you have it fully registered in Canada, if you don't it can never be brought back to Canada.
    I have taken mine to the USA a few times for short trips and they did look for "new" parts one time, but otherwise just like anyother car
    David W
    Mkll 4874 built in 2004
    Gen 3 coupe #16 registered 2018 painted 2019

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  26. #20
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    Thanks for the responses guys and yep - I'm not sure where the reference to CT and MA came from - possibly another thread from someone else? I've learned that, with almost everything in life, it pays to do it once and do it right so sending the body to Indiana for prep and paint doesn't sound too outlandish for me - especially as one of the most important parts of a project that I'm going to be investing months/years and (for me) a lot of hard earned money.

    That said, if there's an informal network of folks like Jeff, Jeff and Ken who know each other and each other's work and are comfortable recommending each other, I would be silly to not consider each of them and make a decision based on all the relevant factors including cost, distance, etc. My greatest fear is to spend thousands anyway and end up being disappointed because I made a poor decision. I'm confident that, by the time I get to the paint stage, I'll have done my research thoroughly and will be confident in the direction I go in.

    In terms of the process of buying an FFR kit for import into Canada, I was aware of the need for FFR to supply the kit minus a number of key parts that Transport Canada requires to be sourced locally. Fortunately for us up here in the cold north, FFR is clearly well practiced in the process and has well defined kits, lists and procedures for ensuring all goes well.

    Thanks again all.
    Andy

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    Between myself, Ken Pike and Jeff Kleiner….I believe last time at Huntington Beach Show we (over a few delightful brews) came up with 387,652 FFR's we have done between us...…. Which would make Dave Smith like a Gozillionair…..but without the beer we have over 1500 (that number just seems so small) between the 3 of us.....If that's not enough then you can have to have "Beers at the Pier" with us and we can generate a # that works for ya...da Bat

  28. #22
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    1500 is a very impressive figure! Mind you, after a few beers I'd be seeing double so I'd likely believe that it's 1500^2 so you guys are responsible for just over 2.25m FFR paintjobs. Where do I sign??

  29. #23
    Senior Member SSNK4US's Avatar
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    Is Ken the guy up in Yuba City?

    Kurt
    If everything seems under control, you’re just not going fast enough....

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    MKIV complete kit # 9395 delivered 7/31/18

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