New Classic Car Bodies, and in Steel
Now there’s a shortcut in steel available for your classic car project
By Brendan Moore
If you have ever tried to bring a tired and rusty body back to life on a classic car, then you know how much money and time it takes to get it right. Not perfect, usually, but at least right. I’ve done it more than a few times, and it’s expensive, and it’s still not perfect. Sure, you can make it look pretty good for under $10,000, which is most people do and then tell everyone the car is completely restored. Or, you can have the body taken off the frame, disassembled, and re-done, rotisserie-style for anywhere from $15,000 to $30,000, but even that doesn’t necessarily insure perfect seams or welds, or bring the factory-spec shut-lines back to the doors, etc. If you’re a perfectionist, you know what I’m talking about.
You could just replace everything with relatively inexpensive fiberglass panels or buy a whole body in fiberglass as those options have been available for years, but it usually doesn’t look right, and fiberglass has it’s own set of problems – both when you do the car, and later, as the years go by.
But there are other options now. There are some companies that are producing a few classic car bodies in high-grade steel and sometimes, under license from the original manufacturers. These bodies not only meet the original spec of the factory bodies, but are much stronger, and made to far better tolerances with better steel.
Let me give you a couple of examples.
1967 Mustang Fastback Coupe – painted for the SEMA show to bring out more detail. The bodies are actually sold EDP-coated (dipped and ionized) against rust corrosion and other possible environmental damage.
Dynacorn offers a complete and stunningly perfect 1969 Camaro Coupe all-steel body for $13,500 plus a $495 crating fee. And a 1967 Camaro Coupe and Convertible body. Like all of the bodies offered by Dynacorn, what you do with it once it’s unloaded from the truck is up to you. You can use it to replace the crumbling, rotten 40 year-old body you have on your 1967 Camaro, or you can use it as the perfect foundation for your custom restoration or “rod” dream wheels. The company also offers a 1967 Mustang fastback replacement shell that they produce under license from Ford Motor Company. Lastly, although these are not classic cars, the company also offers new steel cabs for postwar Chevrolet/GMC trucks. Both a ’47-’50 and a ’52-’54 body style are offered. They’re beautiful and they cost $8995 plus a $295 crating and handling fee, and, of course, come with doors, floor, and steel dash panel, just like the cars.
Then there are companies like Goodmark and Experi-Metal, Inc. that have perfect steel bodies on top of a relatively recent floorplan structure, i.e., a 2002 Camaro. So a car that looks correct from a period perspective, but rides like a modern car, brakes like a modern car, etc. And of course, you can add anything else you want to the modern structure – air-conditioning, stereo, power windows, leather interior, whatever engine you want, etc. These cars have starting prices of anywhere from $28,000 to $35,000. Very, very cool way to have someone else do all the heavy lifting if you want a great-looking classic car rod that you can use as a daily driver – these folks provide the perfect foundation for you to customize to your individual tastes.
Yes, it’s good to have options. I’ve spent a lot of money on project cars over the years, and speaking from my point of view, it would have been great to have these sorts of options available at the time, as I ended up spending more money and a lot more time on the cars I had in order to get to the same result that these companies can give you, and, for less money.
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