Re: 1966 Custom 500 In Suspended Animation
For body shops, honestly the best money is in insurance jobs. For repair shops, it's the typical brake jobs, shocks, tune-ups, 3-year checkups and so on. That's how the biz works today.
It's a good idea to at least do some homework on how bodywork is done. There are tons of YouTube videos that walk you through all kinds of stuff. Likewise, most any local library should have at least a few books you can checkout.
At a very high level, bodywork breaks down into two parts - metal work/alignment and paint prep. Anywhere there's rust, a section needs to be cut and a patch welded in. Sometimes panels are just replaced because it's easier (fender, hood, door, etc). Next is panel alignment. If gap perfection is desired, adjustments are made with metal, not filler. Once all the metal work is done, the body panels are skim-coated, block sanded, glaze coat if needed, block sanded, guide-coated, block sanded and then primer-surfaced.
Given all that, it's possible for you to break things down and get help in different areas. For instance, you can find a metal guy to do the patches and maybe even the alignment and gaps (or as 70XL said, you can take classes and learn how to do the work yourself). Then you can find a different guy who's more an expert at body prep. Perhaps he can also paint too. Not saying it's necessary to seek out different guys or shops, it's just an option.
A few last thoughts ... ask around on this forum and others like the FE Engine Forum to see if anyone knows metal and body guys in your area ... go to car shows in your area and ask the owners where they had the work done ... ask friends/family and friends of theirs who have classic or muscle cars where they had the work done. You can also check Craigslist, but if so be SURE to get references and preferably see the cars that were done and talk with the owners. Typically good shops don't advertise and have long wait lists.
This effort may help you unearth a local shop you never heard of, a referral who does work on the side, or someone who does it privately. You may also find there's a shop an hour or two away (or further) worth considering.
Whatever the case, be sure to talk with the owners and see both their shop and their work. Usually a clean orderly well-lighted shop is a good thing. Owners should be forthright and willing to listen/understand your needs, invite you to see their work and share references. Also, make sure they are FULLY insured.
Keep in mind it's not uncommon for shop owners to be slow (or even poor) at answering emails/texts and returning phone calls. That's mainly because they spend most of their time in the shop running their business. Face to face discussions are always best.
Last edited by 66SevenLitre; 07-16-2019 at 03:50 PM.