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MG MGB Technical - Cost of MGBGT respray

Just had an estimate from a reputable classic car restorer to respray my '79 BGT.

This is for the externally visible panels only, plus a small amount of panel work (panels are generally in excellent condition - the original paint finish is badly faded). I shall remove all trim, lights, bumpers, side windows, handles, mirrors, etc, before I deliver the car to the body shop.

Panel work + remove/refit front and rear glass 600
Mask out, prepare and respray (2 pack) 2000
Hand flatting / machine buffing 550
Paint + materials 375
New front + rear screen rubbers ?

The above adds up to 3600 (+20% vat). Does this seem reasonable/realistic? I haven't a clue what this sort of work costs these days. They expect the job to take 2 weeks.
Brian Shaw

I had my roadster resprayed last year for 1800. The work was similar to yours although no panels needed rework and of course the bodywork has less area. I did have the engine bay fully sprayed with both cockpit and boot only 'flash sprayed'. I think that was the term for basically cleaning the surface and applying a couple of coats of topcoat.
Richard Coombs

Brian, what sort of panel work did you need doing? I have rust creeping in between the joins of the front right wing and the left rear, where those silly wedge shaped strips fill the gap between outer panel and body. Did yours have similar issues?

We have a friend who does paint work and generally does us a good deal, charged us 400 to respray 4 body panels on our Mazda MX5 and did it in a weekend!
A Riddett

Wow! that's about $7000 Australian!( just about what my car cost when I bought it.) Do they give a warranty? Even with panel work that is a lot of money. Makes one wonder if they want the job. If they are going to remove glass and get it back exactly the same perhaps it might be worth it, but what if they 'cock something up'? I would do the rounds of 3 quotes, and go to a straight panel shop rather than just the 'Classic car garages', some believe thay are so specialist that they can command high prices.Put the paint job into perspective, is the car damn near perfect in all other areas? if not, is $7000 worth it? Mike
J.M. Doust

Hi Brian.
I had the tailgate, bonnet, wings & bottom half up to the crome strips of my '73 BGT done 2 yrs ago, along with a few scrapes & blemishes sorted out,it was done in two pack, scanned by the paint supplier for a perfect match, I am 100% happy with the finish, it was done at Celtic Cars in Prestatyn (on recommendation) not to far from Chester, total cost 1200 Regards Bill
wm griffiths

It seems a tad bit high to me but doing a good job of preparing the car for paint takes a lot of time and is well worth the extra cost IF they do it right. I've seen resprays where the paint finish looks nice from a distance but the surface is rippled. I would rather pay the extra money and be able to look down the side of the car and see a nice flat surface. See if the guy has a couple of references you can check out before you make your decision. The extra money MIGHT well be worth it.

Best regards,

James Budrow


Spoke to a couple of references this week, they seem happy with the quality of work (vintage Rolls, E-Type, Mini - full restorations). The guy has built concours-winning cars and I have seen an immaculate old Healey which they refinished.

My original post shows +20% vat but they have advised me that vat will not apply (not registered).

I called on a local body repair shop this morning (after recommendation from a local MG enthusiast). They quoted 'around 800'. Didn't see any examples of their paint jobs, the workshop had three cars undergoing crash damage repairs. The BBS archives have a number of comments along the lines of "you only get what you pay for" for labour intensive body shop work. I really can't see 800 buying the sort of finish I'm hoping to achieve.
Brian Shaw

What you have to consider is, how much the car will be worth afterwards and how long you are planning to keep it.

If you sell it within a couple of years, you are unlikely to get much of a return for your outlay. However, if you are planning to keep it for a long time, it could be a good investment.
Dave O'Neill2

Dave -

Thanks for your comments, you make some interesting and valid observations. Let me explain why I intend to spend my hard-earned cash on my MG:

I'm tempted to say that cost is irrelevant, but you can never say that ... however: I've owned the car for 32 years and just want to see it returned to the condition it was in when I bought it. I know that in the next few months I'll probably spend more on the refurbishment than the car will be worth, but this is a small price to pay in return for 32 years of depreciation-free MG ownership, and I'll once more have a nice shiny black BGT parked outside.

I know I won't be driving it for the next 32 years but I hope to eventually pass it on to an MG enthusiast who will get as much enjoyment out of it as I have, and hopefully continue to preserve an MG (although 'only' a rubber-bumper GT) with all its original panels.

This car has been my daily driver since 1980; my other car is an mgb roadster although I've only owned it for 26 years. My total annual mileage is well below a thousand miles and I also have a free bus pass. I could easily manage without the cars now ..... but I'm an MG enthusiast.
Brian Shaw


Yes, I see where you're coming from.

It would certainly seem to be worthwhile spending the money to have the job done well.

If it was mine, I would probably look into having it painted in cellulose, if that's still possible.
Dave O'Neill2

Sounds like a labor of love and you cannot put a price on that. Bravo Brian. Do your homework, look at what the shop produces (as you have been doing), and if possible, do some of the work yourself. Things like taking off the chrome, grill and anything else you feel ok in taking off and putting back on.

More you do, the less time they have to do. Talk this over with the shop. Also, see if they give a discount for a cash deal. Here in the states, the body shops primarily do insurance work and in a lot of situations get paid via check and have to record it. I am not implying that you should purposely avoid paying taxes, but some shops will give a discount if you pay in cash.
Bruce Cunha

This thread was discussed between 20/05/2012 and 25/05/2012

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