Any way you cut it, this is an expensive hobby. Many of us don't have the long green to buy a cherry starting point for a dream car, so we're left with finding as good a starting point as our wallets will allow. Buying a rougher project generally means the body isn't in prime shape. Usually a few panels have succumbed to the ravages of time, namely rust and dents. Some areas, like the front fenders and the door skins, are straightforward to replace, but rear quarter-panels require quite a bit more time, and more importantly, a fair bit of skill.

In the case of our Bad Penny '68 Camaro project, the problem wasn't rust, but damage caused by blunt-force trauma. The driver's quarter-panel, rear panel, and trunk lid were all mangled when a truck slammed into the back of the Camaro (see "Worst Case Scenario," September '07). Nonetheless, the process for replacing a quarter-panel is just about the same whether Mother Nature or a random bad driver causes the damage. And while it's certainly not an easy task, having high-quality parts from a supplier like Goodmark Industries really helps.

Whether you're going to tackle a project like this yourself, or farm it out to the professionals, you need to know what's involved. Follow along as we rehab the back of our battered F-body with some new sheetmetal.

Where The Money Went
Maybe you've decided that tossing on some quarters is a bit outside your comfort zone and you want a pro to do it. Here's what it cost in labor and material (not including parts) to get the panels on our car. Labor rates will vary based on area, and materials will vary depending on the car, but this will give you a ballpark figure. Labor rates also include removal of damaged parts. If you need the outer wheelhouse replaced, add five hours of labor.

LABOR
Replace left 1/4 panel 16 hours
Replace left drop off 3 hours
Replace rear panel 8 hours
Fit trunk 1.5 hours
Total labor 28.5 hours
Labor cost at $75 per hour: $2,137.50
MATERIALS
3M cut-off wheels #1989 $40.75
3M grinding wheels #1991 $35.35
3M clean & strip wheels (3) $24.75
Welding supplies $50.00
POR-15 $49.97
Total materials: $200.82
Total (not including parts): $2,338.32

Getting It Straight
When our '68 was wrecked, the body was a mess and certainly "dimensionally challenged." Replacing the panels with the car in this condition would have led to the parts not fitting right, and a good chance the Camaro wouldn't end up square. To ensure that the Camaro would be in the right shape to accept the new parts, it was sent to a computerized frame rack. Original dimensional specifications for a '68 Camaro were entered into a computer, and the car was "pulled" until the numbers matched up. The time on the rack cost just over $2,000, but when we went to do the repairs, we found it was worth every penny. Later, when the car was aligned, it was found to be perfectly square, thanks to the time it spent on this rig.

SOURCE
Best of Show Coach Works
San Marcos
CA
Goodmark Industries
625-E Old Norcross Rd.
Lawrenceville
GA  30045
770-339-8557
www.goodmarkindustries.com