As we all know restoring ANY vehicle is a labor of love and laborious on the wallet. I am considering taking the project Model T I decide on to a local or nearby Tech school for the body and paint work. I am not looking for a show room quality job..but I figure it will save money. I do not have a shop space on my property so most things like this will be subbed out. Anyone go this route before?
Using a modern technical school and expecting something good is almost impossible. Not being rude or disrespectful in anyway but the modern tech schools only show collision center styles of repairs. The passion is not there so to speak. I have quit teaching due to this climate. If you do go this route, please be careful as I have seen some really bad methods of repair on old cars which have destroyed the panels.
All the Best,
Hank in Tin-A-See
I went to vocational auto body 1981-1982.
While it's a good cause and an inexpensive way...I would not trust ME back then and the youth of today, no. Not with a Model T, a daily driver modern car, maybe, not a collector car.
I would suggest taking extra time and money to do the job correctly by an experienced professional. I once did something similar to what you are contemplating. I owned a Cessna 150 and took it to an aviation school for an annual inspection and a quick paint job. The instructor did not monitor the students sufficiently. They sanded and not striped the old paint off the airframe, resulting in sanding the rivets below minimum tolerances. They had to replace over 3,000 rivets. Three years later I got my plane back. Trying to save some money can cost you more in the long run.
I think I would bring in a couple of test fenders to see how they do. Wouldn't bring them pristine ones either. Should be able to find a couple in well used shape to see what they can do with them. You will know one way or the other how things could go when you see those.
Yeah.. Maybe it is a bit of a stretch. Maybe I just had hoped that the kids taking that program would have a passion for it and be excited to work on a T. But I am listening to what you all are saying and appreciate the feedback.
If you are contemplating buying a project car and for whatever reason can't do most everything yourself you are going to be WAY upside down in no time. Do yourself a favor and buy a running, driving T for 5-8 grand and you will have all the tinkering you need and will at some point be able to get most of your money back.
A friend of mine had a car done at the local tech school--big mistake.
On line search found a number of colleges that offer Auto restoration. And train their students as certified mechanics with specialization in classic and vintage car restoration they talked about restoring a 32 Chrysler as well as modern classic's and hot rods. If You live close to one of these colleges it might be a option ? 18 month to two year program with AS degree offered by some schools. A cut above high school auto mechanics class. I took a car to My Son's School for replacement of the water pump when I got the car back it was making all sorts of strange sounds like a boiler about to blow, creaking cracking and making popping sounds, Took the radiator cap off and when You revved the motor water shot out the top of the radiator and not from over heating. The problem was the wrong water pump which was made for a earlier model that used a regular belt system and this car that used a serpentine belt. meaning the pump was running in the wrong direction. It's the little bugs that eat Your lunch. Would have been a good problem for Mechanic competition. Ate My lunch.
A member of our local club showed up at one of our tours a few years ago (6 or 8) with his absolutely new-looking '27 Coupe. I thought to myself, "Well, I'm glad he can afford all that expensive body work and paint." It turned out that after he retired from teaching school, he took some body and paint classes at a Vo-Tech and did all that work himself! He had never done that kind of work before. I was very impressed, to say the least.
It can be done, and done very well.
We took our 1940 Mercury to the local one. They did pretty well and saved us a fortune on the body work. Then we brought it home and blocked it ourselves. This car was built to be a show car.
Alternate plan: do they offer evening courses so that you could do the work yourself, in their shop, while learning how to do it?
All depends on instructors background. There is one here local that came from body shop with 20 years experience who turns out great work. I know you are typical Model T owners that want something good and cheap.
Tech schools are interested in modern cars which fit in today's modern era.
Older classic era cars sheet metal is harder to work on for lots of the newer body men because it's a little heavier metal.
And most Model T's have a wooden body structure which is something that younger body men have no expierence in and tech schools don't teach it.
If you had some fenders, body panels to straighten out they might could do that but don't expect them to do a whole car restoration.
And the body panels and panels need to be brought in and off of the car.
Red Adair, the guy that put out oilfield fires, said it well, "If you think hiring a professional is expensive, try hiring an amateur."
A guy stopped off the highway last year while my 1910 REO truck was being displayed at an open-air car show near my home. He spent 15 minutes looking it over (a homebuilt replica), asked a zillion questions. A really nice guy, Steve then told me he was the autobody instructor at a large high school about 40 miles away. After I told him I had retired after a lengthy career as an autobody repairman/painter and mechanic he invited me to his school to show my truck in his classes and speak to his students about an autobody career. I went over about 3 months later, had a great time. I can say one thing with certainty- 90 percent of the kids were in the program to get out of ''regular'' classes. BUT the 10%...they had the hands and the eye. Not learned, just natural ability. I saw some very nice stuff. Good kids.
I'm a retired vocational school instructor (not auto body). Over the 23 years that I was at the school, there were several different auto body instructors. The quality of the work depended (as David Corman said) on the instructor supervising the job. I remember a then-nearly-new black Ford truck that had been badly damaged in an accident. When it was completed, it could not be told from factory new. I also remember a red Dodge pickup where the paint was done embarrassingly badly; so badly in fact, that they eventually had to redo it.