Factory Five Racing Forum banner
1 - 20 of 33 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
38 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I own a paint and body shop and I am getting tired of dealing with insurance companies, people not understanding about deductables, trying to get people to bring in work, etc etc.. I have a passion for car and for working on them. Right now I am a collision shop, i do a lot of work for rental companies and some insurance. I have ran it through my head many times about how I could make a living building replica cars and kit cars. how could I do this and bedifferent, or what would it take to get my name out there? Building something tastefull and a little different is always great, or do cobra owners want the traditional look, and mainly focused on how well it is put together and not so much a little modern mixed with the tried and true?
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
5,159 Posts
Problem is: The complete kit is now 19 or 20 grand and add a good engine and transmission and that will bump you around another 10 then wheels and tires are 1-2 grand. Most of the cars that are selling in extremely nice shape are only bringing about 30. Then you'll still have to count your labor and paint.
 

·
Junior Charter Member
Joined
·
189 Posts
I'm a Honda motorcycle mechanic. I build Goldwing Trike conversions as part of my living. So I will offer advise based on my experience.

To be different -

1. Location, location, location

2. You need a showroom with two or three examples of your work that customers can sit in. Now you can show them the difference between a classic, original Cobra and a modern interpretation with modern wheels and paint.

3. Advertising budget

4. I'm guessing you allready have knowledgable employees that can diagnose and repair both carb and efi cars.

5. You'll need to stand behind your work (warrant) if you want this to be more than a two year deal. This is a small community and the internet makes it easy for disgruntled customers to bad mouth you. You'll find you have to be a first class salesman and first class mechanic. Few can pull it off.

Well, that's the start off the top of my head. Anxious to see what other ideas are out there. Good luck.

John
 

·
Senior Member
Joined
·
566 Posts
I had those thoughts too. I am currently going thru the legalities of liability. It is not looking like it may be worth while. I will keep your name and let you know what I find.

HB
 

·
FFCobra Captain
Joined
·
11,720 Posts
With the cost of building specifically for resale being tough, you may be better off just sticking to painting them. There are always people building FFR's looking for painters with experience that are closer than the great painters that advertise here.

Maybe find someone who's building in your area and do a car for a really good deal so you can see the ins & outs of working on an FFR body. Then take a bunch of pictures to use as an Ad car and place some ads here and at clubcobra.com

The FFR body's are rough and need a good amount of work, so using a full paying customer's car to learn on may not be fair for the owner.
 

·
Cobra Builder
Joined
·
373 Posts
Heck, If you are really good at the bodywork, It would be easy to paint people's bodies for them, and make yourself a nice profit. That is alot better than spending countless hundreds of man hours building the car, still having to paint it, and only making, what, a couple G's more?-- if your lucky? Plus, nice paint is what really gets cars seen, so word of mouth on your paint job will definately get you other jobs.
 

·
Senior Member
Joined
·
1,752 Posts
Try calling Chris Richards at Mass-Flo EFI, aka Quality Roadsters,(click on the link in the upper right corner). He was building cars for customers up until about a year ago. He had to stop because the Mass-Flo business was taking all of his time. He tells me he did about 25 or 30 cars for customers over about a 7 year period. that's about 1 kit every 3 months. Anyone here will tell you he is a true craftsman and does excellent work, as evidenced by his EFI system. I saw one of the last cars he did for a customer and it was A+, IMHO. We actually bought one of the last 2 kits he had that were slated for customers but he couldn't finish them.

Rich
 

·
FFCobra Fanatic
Joined
·
1,732 Posts
I think you may be looking at a BIG headache
If your car is done put it on the block and see if your time is compensated.
Some of the mod motor cars are bringing a nice buck also
If you are a good painter that's the way to go,
if it work's out move on from there.
I wish I could say nice thing's about the man mentioned in the above post :(
 

·
Member
Joined
·
1,569 Posts
"What would set me apart from the rest?"

To specifically answer your question, my guess is offering financing would be a plus over others in the game. I went the the annual street vibrations Harley event in Reno with my bro-in-law. I commented how all the riders were in their 40's or older. His response was "How many people in their 20's or 30's can drop the cash for two $20k toys?" Harley dealers offer financing for their toys.
 

·
Junior Charter Member
Joined
·
164 Posts
"If I wanted to start building Cobras to sell, what would set me apart from the rest?"

... making a profit at it!

Have seen several people build various kits for the purpose of re-sale. Even with impeccable build quality & top-of-the-line parts, I think most are lucky to break even.

Seems like it would take a while to get your name out there, and have the reputation to back it up. Most seem to work into the notoriety aspect of the hobby gradually.
 

·
FFCobra Craftsman
Joined
·
1,767 Posts
How about developing an aluminum body and sell that instead...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,931 Posts
I'd be interested in a good aluminum body. Or a Lemans top.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
743 Posts
Try thinking out of the box...

You are an experienced paint and body man. You are not an experienced Cobra builder and kit car retailer. So…Work to your strength.

Hire a professional video man with good equipment and have him film you completing all bodywork and paint on a Cobra body. Film every detail from initial body prep to final color sand and buff. Make it as detailed as your experience and skill will allow. The more detail on the DVD the better.

Then sell your "Cobra Bodywork and Paint" DVD to builders of FFRs as well as the other fiberglass bodies on the market.

This is an area of work not covered in detail by FFR and one where builders raise a lot of questions on this forum. You can search the forum for such body and paint questions and use this list as a working outline to better explain the answers while graphically showing how its done on the DVD.

Painting is a skill that can be mastered by a builder in his own garage, with acceptable results if the body is properly prepped first. As we both know good bodywork is 90% of a quality paint job. Even if a builder chooses to have a local shop spray the final color, doing the bodywork himself can save considerable cost.

I attended Fisher Body School in the 70’s and my ex partner was body man. I have painted several cars and at least 25 motorcycles in my life…yet I would buy such a DVD if it were professionally done.

The nice thing is that once the DVD is finished…you continue to make income long after your initial investment in a Cobra body and filming expenses are amortized.

And even the expense of a body can be sidestepped if you have one or more customer’s Cobras to use as the project body.

Just my $.02…

Kerry
 

·
FFCobra Fanatic
Joined
·
3,751 Posts
Kerry, Excellent idea. You could also sell a body kit; all the tools and supplies necessary to prep a body.

How about a body exchange. Buy a couple bodies and have a solid red and a solid blue body ready for sale. Have Stewart swing by and drop off a new body and pick up an already painted one for delivery with the customer's kit. (May be a better idea for a body shop in MA)
 

·
FFCobra Craftsman
Joined
·
3,355 Posts
How is a Cobra registered in GA? I mean is it a 1965 cobra or a 2007 replica?

This could help someone in an other state skirt emissions legally. A big selling point.

I like the video idea. Do it professional. Like a Body work for Dummies video.
 

·
Tool Collector
Joined
·
6,608 Posts
Rather than builing them complete, think about doing portions of the builds. Some people HATE the wiring, others the body work. Seems to me you could even offer mobile service and come to the customer to help them through the rough spots. First step would likely be to become a vendor here on the forum and go from there. We have a tendancy to help our own. There are many ways you can go and still be different, but the painting and bodywork may be a good place to start in the FFR building. Generate some money with that and then expand. See where it goes. Baby steps. Later, Frank
 

·
FFCobra Fanatic
Joined
·
12,975 Posts
Since you are an experienced body and paint man. Start with doing the body and paint on these bodys. Get familar with these body's first. See if you can bring in enough paint work to support a buisness first.
Decide to build the cars from start to finish your going to need more then the normal line mechanic like somone that does repairs on daily drivers. Takes a mechanic that has the ability's to work past shop manual repairs and needs to have a talent for custom work and fabrication.
When some one builds a car them selves. Many times they build to their limits of ability. A custom build shop is going to get request to build higher end cars. You also need a good engine guy or have connections with a good engine builder.
Not many shops can support the man power and floor space to builds several of these cars at a time while still being able to afford body,paint,engine,and build shops under one roof.

I suggest starting off doing just the body and paint. Gives you a chance to get familar with these cars,plus gets your foot in the door for other custom paint and body work while still staying in your feild of strength.
 

·
FFCobra Master Craftsman
Joined
·
8,694 Posts
I personally think it is a very small market and your competitors are well established with great reputations (such as Richard Oben). Also, unless you have the build process down to a science, you are likely to have low or negative margins.

Entering into a business with these characteristics is a mistake, period.

I would keep looking. Maybe a shop dedicated to Ricers would be more profitable with a much bigger market.
 
1 - 20 of 33 Posts
Top