Thrift Farm, Horkesley Rd, Colchester CO6 4JP
01206 264111

Dear Customer,

Firstly, thank you for choosing to have your car restored by Motts Body Repair Ltd.  We have over twenty-five years’ experience in vehicle restoration, bodywork and painting.

The number one question for any client and the most difficult for us to answer is, ​“How much will it cost me to have my car restored?”  This is difficult to estimate with rust remaining hidden until work commences.

1) Budget

Being open and honest about your budget is the first step.

We will agree an hourly rate with you and provide an estimate of time for specific stages of the work, we may even be able to provide you with a quote (in some circumstances, if the extent of works is easy to see at first look).  We will always advise you where costs cannot be estimated until further investigation is carried out.  At Motts we do not recommend cutting any corners, it reflects badly on our business and the job will end up potentially costing you more in the long run.  We would rather you spend your money on a high standard of work and end up with a vehicle you can be proud of.  That is not to say there won’t be savings to be made as the work progresses.

2) The scale of the project

You need to decide if it is going to be a ‘nut and bolt’ restoration or just some intermediatory work to make your vehicle solid, safe and usable.

Obviously the larger the scale of works, the more money you will spend with the time it will take for the repairs to be carried out.  Please be aware that the comment “my car only has a few areas of rust to tidy up” may need to be challenged once paint has been scraped away!

3)  Paint Colour
This can be costed.

Deciding what the paint finish will be is one of the most enjoyable stages throughout the restoration process. Before our work begins, plan how you want your car to look when it’s completed, this way you do not have to make quick decisions, which you may later end up regretting.  Motts will be able to match a wide range of colours and finishes or make it bespoke, just for you!

4) Timescale
The result of further investigation.

Over the years our experience has shown us that during particular stages of restoration, repairs always take longer than the client’s expectations. If you have a particular deadline, it is a good idea to discuss this with us at the earliest possible opportunity.  We pride ourselves on completing the work in a timely manner, but it is important the client is realistic.

5) The exterior trim strip stage

This is one stage of the process where costs can be ‘estimated’ or even ‘quoted’ for, as previously mentioned within ‘Budget’, before work commences.

On occasions previously hidden problem areas may be revealed at his point.

6) Panels Off

This is a difficult process of the restoration to estimate, until further investigation.

Bumpers and wings, etc. Motts are careful not to break any specialist clips that may be difficult to purchase replacements.  More problem areas will be revealed by this process. Again, decisions can be made as to the extent of welding work required, perhaps only concentrate on one area, and do the remaining areas at a later stage, or do you just proceed with the full restoration?

7) Strip Paint

This is the stage at which major issues can emerge, again this is difficult to estimate at the start of the process.

Blasting and/or acid dipping the entire shell is the best option if you’re doing a thorough job.  A rough price for blasting a complete shell can be upwards of £1000. The next option is stripping all the paint off with a wire brush using an electric grinder and sanding the area. Note this is very time consuming, therefore you would be incurring additional labour hours.

8) Fix any rust and dents

This is a difficult process of the restoration to estimate, until further investigation.

Removing all the paint will allow us to see how solid the bodywork is.  The next job is fixing any rust and repairing any dents. Chopping out the rot and welding in fresh steel is the best option, but as with blasting, it’s also the most expensive.

Replacing panels is the easiest option for removable panels such as wing, bonnets, and doors, but we will need to source decent parts which can be a challenge if it’s a rare vehicle.

Stripping back and treating the corroded metal is a quick fix, but in our experience, it only delays the rot rather than getting rid of it altogether. It will re-appear under the fresh paint, sometimes in a matter of weeks.

Replacing corroded metal with new is by far the best way to stop rust coming back so if panels are not available, we can fabricate panels where needed making them on sight.

9) Treat underneath and arches

Costs can be ‘estimated’ or even ‘quoted’ for this stage of the process.

Undersealing is the best option, it just doesn’t look as good as paint. However, paint is not practical if you want to use the vehicle more than a few times a year, stone chips will appear!

10) Filling

Even after our highly experienced welders have worked on your vehicle, most will need some filler, in saying that, too much can crack though. ​We always coat bare metal areas in etch primer first to seal the metal and give a good key. The key to the Motts top class finish is the care taken with keeping the area dust free.

11) Priming stage

Spraying the shell with high build primer helps indicate areas missed in the filler stage.

12) Sanding

Lightly sand the high build primer with 500 grit. This stage requires patience and great skill in order not to take off too much resulting in bare metal.

13) Paint the car

This cost can be quoted.

14) Flat back

​Any runs, dust or imperfections are dealt with by ‘flatting’ back the paintwork with very fine grit sandpaper. Again, this requires skill in order not to ruin the bodywork.

15) Polish the car

​Machine polish the entire bodywork for that professional finish.

16) Waxoyl the car Inside and Out

​The last step is rustproofing the vehicle with Waxoyl, a thick waxy fluid when applied forms a flexible, weatherproof skin that doesn’t crack, dry out or wash off in the rain. This will be applied to the insides of doors, panels, box sections, behind sills and chassis and anywhere that water is likely to collect, therefore protecting the metal work for years to come.

Summary of costs on complete restoration

  • Walk round vehicle and talk – There will be no charge to discuss the budget, timescale deadlines, scope of project, and any ideas for the final finish. At this point, we would agree an hourly labour rate with the client.
  • Strip down exterior trim – We can estimate or possibly even quote based on an agreed hourly rate.
  • Body work preparation – This is very difficult to estimate. Any hours spent on the vehicle will be recorded automatically on the computer-based management system.
  • Paint – an estimate can be provided or even quoted for.
  • Refit trim and panels – estimate can be provided.


Broken down stages

The vehicle will be stripped down and assessed, this may be just in one area, usually where the most visual damage appears, perhaps the rear wheel arches and sills, in most cases the rust in these areas is the worst affected area on a vehicle.  This procedure is carried out with great care, as we need to assess the extent of the corrosion, enabling us to estimate the level of repair works required. At this point, it may be possible to gauge whether the same repairs apply to the opposite side of the vehicle, enabling the client to decide whether to proceed with the works.

The reason we conduct the above stage in this manner is to protect the client from having the entire vehicle stripped back which reduces the vehicles value. It could mean having to spend far more money than the budget allows to complete the restoration works.  We will keep you informed at every stage of the strip down process as there may still be surprises that present themselves but at least by only concentrating on target areas the decision of extent of works is solely in the hands of the client.

We are aware of experiences at other restoration centres whereby ill feeling and uncomfortable conversations have arisen regarding the potential financial costs of carrying out the repair works due to the vehicle having been fully stripped down initially.

Body shell stages

Stage 1 – Bodyshop

  • Stripe vehicle of all components.
  • Record the time to allow the client to see time spent on this stage, discuss.
  • Review the stripped items, ie. refit, replace or refurbish. This can be done by us or the client. Quite often the client wishes to be involved in this area, sourcing parts and in some cases, taking the items home to clean up or refurbish themselves, thus keeping the costs down.
  • Once this stage is complete and we are all happy with everything undertaken to this point, we require payment of the invoice allowing us to move onto the next phase.

Stage 2 – Bodyshop

  • Fabrication and welding of areas that are corroded and need replacing.
  • Again, discuss whether we fabricate or buy new panels due to cost and availability.
  • Review of the vehicle in stages, as explained above in broken down stages, i.e. one corner of the car at a time.
  • Have the metal work aligned ready for reshaping to a standard that is acceptable i.e. does not need lots of lead or filler.
  • Check the panel alignment to adjacent panels is correct. Sometimes this may involve a dry fit process of some or all of the trims and fittings i.e. handles, locks, bumpers, rubbers etc. to makes sure everything will fit when we come to refitting after paint. This is normal but with hand built cars its usually best to refit a lot more for peace of mind later.
  • Record the time to allow the client to see time spent on this stage, discuss.
  • Again, once we are all happy with everything, we require payment of the invoice to move on to the next phase.

Stage 3 – Bodyshop 

  • Reshaping panels so they are ready for the paint shop to prime. This is using lead and filler to get the correct shapes.
  • We sometimes use high build spray fillers for an overall even coat.
  • Record the time to allow the client to see time spent on this stage, discuss.
  • Once we are all happy with everything, we require payment of the invoice to move on to the next phase.

Stage 4 – Paint shop

  • Prepare, prime and paint vehicle, this is quite often a fixed price, agreed prior to works commencing. This is sometimes subject to change for example from straight color to metallic or if we add an extra process like a double coat or two tone.
  • Once we are all happy with everything, we require payment of the invoice to move on to the next phase.

Stage 5 – Re-fit in the bodyshop

If all goes to plan, we should have everything ready to put back together, however there are occasionally things in this stage that may require reviewing. Once finalised, the vehicle will be road tested and we will conduct a thorough review of the finished works and compile a snag list if necessary to enable the vehicle to be presented to the highest standard.


We require the agreed deposit upfront, prior to the works commencing.

Following that, regular payments either weekly, monthly or specific stages of the works, which ever has been agreed.

We expect payment to be made within the agreed terms on the invoice, otherwise works will cease until the payment has been received.

If at any point at the end of a specific stage or the completion of an area you feel unhappy with the quality of our work, we will discuss and work out a way forward. We would require your concerns to be in writing/email and expect payment up to that point for the works completed to date.

We are pleased to confirm that so far this has never happened, thankfully!

We hope the above is of assistance.

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