In my opinion dealing with body and paint work is also the most difficult part, both selling the job and knowing when to call it good enough.
We must keep in mind that these old muscle cars were never engineered to look as good as they do these days. By yesterday’s standards we are over restoring these cars. Body gaps were not always consistent, color depth and shine was nowhere near what they are today. Today’s paint products have the capability of laying down flat, with a deep shine that brings out every imperfection.
A few weeks ago at Carlisle I had the pleasure of taking pictures of a Superbird. It was a documented original 6500 mile car. All of the paint work was original and untouched. The door to quarter alignment was terrible, there were paint runs on the rear tail light section, and the entire body was loaded with orange peel. However, it was an awesome car and I would love to be the owner!
There are many tricks used to make these cars look better than they did when new. However, these tricks take time and time is money. So when a customer restores his/her vehicle they must decide what level the paint work should be when completed.
Since most customers do not have extensive body/paint knowledge it is sometimes difficult justifying the expense. As a restorer one of my biggest fears is delivering a car to a customer that would later be scrutinized by others at a show.
The customer may be satisfied with the paintwork at the time of delivery due to their lack of body/paint knowledge. But after showing it at a few shows and receiving negative feedback they will realize why cutting cost on body/paint work is not recommended. For that reason After Hours Restorations will only take part in museum quality restoration work.
It is standard practice to install and properly align all body panels once the car has been stripped down to bare metal.