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MG TD TF 1500 - Cost To Paint TF?

What would be a fair price to paint a TF with a show car finish. Talked to a guy yesterday about price and was told $5,000.00! He said it would take $2,000.00 worth of paint. You could probably give the car two coats with two quarts of paint. They guy sounds like he's a little off his rocker to me. How about some input? PJ
Paul S Jennings

Panel beating required?
Panels basic prepped?
Panels show-finish prepped?
$5K could be cheap. Depends.

Just my input.
M Magilton

5000.00 easily. Good paint is not cheap. Lots of labour for proper prep. Car panels should be disassembled for a proper "show" job. If the shop does good work, 5G sounds fair. You can't paint a car for $200 bucks anymore. Just had my MGA painted and it was $1200 in paint alone.

Just my 2 cents.
C.R. Tyrell

No panel beating, car is straight as an arrow. Tub with doors set in place is on a rolling frame. Bonnet, side panels, fuel tank, splash apron, fenders and boards are separate. PJ
Paul S Jennings

I got two quotes on my TF from a couple of guys here that do this kind of work, It's not your standard body shop deal.

First guy...

You take it apart...ok
you strip it........ok
you bring it to me..ok
I do my thing.......ok
you pick it up......ok
you assemble it.....ok
10 grand and it won't be perfect....Holy S%^&

Second guy

I work by the hour.....ok
Rough guess about 7 grand....that won't fly

So I did it myself....I could check the receits but I'm guessing I had about a grand in materials. If you want show car (which I did but could not afford) that means a load of block sanding and respraying. Lots of taime involved. Depending on the color, I doubt two quarts will get the job done. More than likely take most of a gallon with a little left over for touch up.

MG LaVerne

With the TD a few years later...

Same first guy...I figure times are a little tougher

It's at the media blaster...go have a look and get back to me...

7000 grand....ok no thanks

Talk to another shop...

His wife will call......nothing

So again I do it myself

again around a grand in materials

MG LaVerne

LaVerne, do you have a spray booth? How did you keep the dust out of the paint? PJ
Paul S Jennings

No booth..shoot it early in the morning and hope for he best.

MG LaVerne

Home made hanger on rollers

MG LaVerne

Special tool for the tub...but not required.

MG LaVerne

TD fender

MG LaVerne

Even if the panels are straight, and mine weren't, it's a lot of work...I hate sanding.

MG LaVerne

This is interesting. I have never considered painting my MG myself, but I do have the space, the and a compressor. I could probably make up a booth in my carport. But I have no experience using a spray gun. I guess I need to take some lessons from someone somewhere...
Geoffrey M Baker

I brought my car in pieces ( dismantled ) to the painter. Cost's :Paint usd 1200,-- Work hours ( his )
6500,-- total 7700,-- usd . OK Canada is expensive.

Gerard Hengeveld

I did the job myself also. Local guys wouldn't give me a firm price for a show job which I wanted for AACA purposes. The estimates ranged from $5,000 to $13,000 with nothing being firm. It cost about $2000 for paint and primer in MG red. Took about 1 1/2 gallons. Used two part BASF paint over epoxy primer. Great stuff. Atomized well and flowed to a great surface finish using a HVLP gun. Made the block sanding and buffing a lot easier. I logged all of the hours to prep, paint, block sand and buff with all pieces off of the car. Took me about 300 hours. I did what LED did and sprayed the primer outside on an overhead 2x4 structure and did most the prep outside as well. A lot of the parts were finish painted outside also. Just wait for a cool, bug free, calm morming and spray. Since I was buffing it all out it didn't make too much difference if I got a bug in the finish. Some panels I sprayed in my basement walkout shop using plastic on the walls and a big fan to exhaust the overspray.
It is not really hard to do. I have another TD that is my driver. Wife now wants a green TD. If I paint Max, I probably won't go through as much work, although he will come apart for painting. Seems to me, that with the right paint, a person can spray it and simply buff it out for a great looking finish.
The paint and prep are the key isssues.
I'm having lunch with a friend who is going to pick up his TF this week after having it painted by a "good" shop. I'll see if I can get him to reveal what he paid. He just simply dropped off the car and they did the whole job whatever that means.


Mark Strang

Beautiful car Mark. 5K$ probably low, depending how much work you do. Remember both sides of much of the metal have to be prepped and nicely painted (wings/bonnet, etc.)which adds a lot to the cost. The key is the prep. If you have not replaced wood/metal and all is straight you are in better shape to start. There was still some factory filler on TF's (headlight nacelles to wing), so that has to be perfect. If you did any metal work/wood replacement, is a good idea to mock it up with the tub on the chassis frame, maybe with all in primer. The sight line (that looks perfect on Mark's car) down the front wings/running boards is important, and difficult to get just right, etc. When Glenn's MG did my bodywork, the car was mocked up, and they spent a lot of time correcting gaps, lines, and all in the filler/primer stage. I had a nasty gap between the left rear wing and the tub- which was factory. Stuff like that needs to be fixed. Well worth it in the end. George
George Butz

Agreed...If you want it to look right you do a lot of this. put it together...take it apart...put it together...take it apart...etc

MG LaVerne

LaVerne has it down just right. Shoot and go for a beer (in the morning).
Peter Dahlquist

About 10 years ago I painted my MG midget myself. I used about a gallon of single-stage color for it. IIRC, the gallon was about $150. I need to do some touch-up on that same car and a gallon of the same paint is now around $500!!

PPG tends to be more expensive than a lot of brands, but it does illustrate the rise in cost of these things.
David Littlefield

When I was finishing the TF, I had the tub painted, but I was running out of time. I brought the front and rear aprons, gas tank, running boards and hood top pieces to Maaco, all block sanded and ready to paint. They charged $1,200 to shoot it with base/clear. I painted the tub, front fenders and hood sides, as well as epoxy priming and primer/surfacer block sanding everything and probably spent $1,500 or so on materials.

D. Sander

All together

D. Sander

Hi guys;
I am now reassembling my '54 TF after body and paint work. I disassembled and reassembled myself. My bodyman has years of experience in a quality production shop, but is now disabled and working out of his own shop, very part time. He took the car to bare metal, did excellent sheet metal work (though the car did not need much in the way of dent repair of rust repair). I went for a basecoat/clearcoat type of paint. It looks beautiful! Took a year. Matching the original green.
Cost near $6000. I am sure I could not have done better in my area of the country.
There was no way I could do the paint myself. I am barely managing to put her back together!

I'll post photos in the near future.

'54 TF
T Norby

I'm feeling very lucky!
12 years ago Izzy was done at a friends house.
Disassembled, taken to bare metal, painted and cost was $2500.

I did a lot of the work, stripping and sanding.
Car was solid needing few repairs.
(less than a pint of filler)
My friend shot the paint.

Not a "show finish" but has held up quite well for 12 years now.
David Sheward

I had lunch with my friend today and he revealed that he had spent about $7,500 to do his car. The finish was not color sanded, but he claims that is is great. It is not a show paint job and wasn't planned on being of that quality. The firewall was not worked on and is as it was originally. The shop did remove all of the panels and reassenbled them when they were done. They missing clue here is that the shop would like to do more of these cars and I think that perhaps he gave out a very good price. The metal was blasted to bare metal and needed very little body work aside from one small dent. I would venture to say that if it was finished to be show quality, that the price would be at least 30% higher.
Geoffrey, if I were you, I'd try it. It's not that hard. Just takes time. It was interesting that while showing "Maggie" at 4 AACA meets, one of the most common comments was that the paint job looked so good. She ended up being awarded a Senior Grand National prize this past summer. During that time I think got offers from at least a dozen folks to paint their cars even after explaining that I wasn't in the business and that it would cost small fortune.
Mark Strang

Hi All,

Lots of factors in Paint,Panel etc prices as indicated by others.

I am wondering if USA Paint/Panel cost structures are
subsidised by the US government!!? In Australia the costs
of a decent job in this area of restoration seem to be generally higher.Then again,the cars in Australia,on average,attract bigger money.A couple of years ago,a nicely restored TF went for $70,000AUS.

Great own work possible as evidenced by LaVerne and Mr Sander.

Rob Grantham


I guess we have to thank the EPA. I did my MGB in Dupont Imeron Ran me about $200 for a gallon. Of course, I had to tell the paint shop it was for my boat. They would not sell it for automotive use.

Have a great body shop that I know the owner in my town. He just spent a couple hundred grand installing a new spray booth system so he could spray the new water based paints. I got to believe that is going to add to the price he charges.
Bruce Cunha

We used to paint our construction equipment with Dupont Dulux. Put on right, it would polish up like glass. The stuff would really take a beating as we even painted the walkways and decks with it. Imeron was also a tuff paint, a little more expensive than Dulux. Dulux was so tuff, they even painted bridges with it. If it was still around, I'd be tempted to use it. In fact, I painted a couple motorcycles with it. Came out beautiful!PJ
Paul S Jennings

This thread was discussed between 18/02/2014 and 19/02/2014

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