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Hi all, I'm wondering if any of you might be able to ballpark what the range in cost might be on repairing the undercarriage of a Pantera I have my eye on. I realize this isn't an exact science; a low and high guesstimate would be great for replacing sheet metal and coating. Thanks much for any thoughts!


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thanks, comp2. I don't expect it to be "cheap". I need to come up with a decent estimate, if I'm going to make an offer on the car. I'm guessing the minimum on undercarriage restoration would be around 6k. i need to figure out a GUESStimate of a top end. 10k? 15k? 20k? I recognize that I'm playing a game of probabilities here, not precise measurements. thanks for any guesses on that top end dollar figure!
Originally posted by RJK:
thanks, comp2. I don't expect it to be "cheap". I need to come up with a decent estimate, if I'm going to make an offer on the car. I'm guessing the minimum on undercarriage restoration would be around 6k. i need to figure out a GUESStimate of a top end. 10k? 15k? 20k? I recognize that I'm playing a game of probabilities here, not precise measurements. thanks for any guesses on that top end dollar figure!

If one area is that bad, several other areas will be bad as well. I think the first thing would be to asses all the bad areas; not just one. If you are paying someone to do the work it's hard to say if the metal work will be $20K or $50K. If you do it your self, it's a labor of love:
If you wany to see what you might be getting into, look for the thread by UFO LOW.

Rodney did a great job in documenting a lot of the metalwork he is doing. You will see the complexity of his task, and the high quality he put into the repairs.

Here is the thread, unfortunately, photobucket scrubbed all the linked photos out.... Dammit!

UFO LOW's Restoration Thread!

Take a look, make a time estimate, and then multiply that by your shop's labor rate.

500 Hr. at $100/Hr. = $50K

It can add up quick.

Buy the best car you can, you'll be money ahead,,,,

Last edited by rocky
Do other cars have zerk fittings on the lower A-Arm bushings?

Dennis Quella installed zerks on 2511 when he restored it in the mid nineties for a previous owner.

He also upgraded to his poly graphite A-arm bushings and I believe from the photo they are what is installed on that A-arm. The photo bushings do not have any squish or cracking which would be reasonable on a poorly maintained car still using rubber bushings.

My $0.02.

First, the amount of rust is always 3x what you think it is
Secondly, why not learn to weld? It's fun, it's just easy with modern equipment. And it means you don't have to leave your car and wallet at some jerk trying to get rich on your money. Being able to weld also means you can make your own tools. "Step though, this is a threshold moment". The Toecutter in Mad Max
On a more positive note, the area photographed is notorious for rust as there is a water trap there, most owners drill drain holes to prevent build up of dirt and moisture.

I had to replace one side (albeit not as bad as the photo) on my '74, and that was the only rust on the car.

It's worth conducting a thorough inspection to assess the true condition and then it just comes down to what price you can get the car for. Basket projects can fetch mid $30's as evidenced by the green barn find recently and that car was obviously full of tin worm.

That job is ~not~ a big deal. Just have to have your mind right. You can bust that apart & be welding the next morning. It's on the passenger side, meaning no gas tank or gas fumes to go up while welding. Hall sells the panel made up for 350 dollars: Remove the half shaft bolts, knock the ball joint lose, remove shock, remove lower control arm nuts & punch out the upper & lower control arm bolts from the body, lift assembly off as a unit & set it aside. Now it's time to rock on. Weld three or four temporary angle iron braces to keep the body stiff & in position prior to cutting the panel out. Cut/grind/form the new panel to fit, undercoat, reassemble. Job done. Unless of course you need to replace control arm bushings & update or free up the lower shaft. Sand blast everything & powder coat. The job is only as easy or difficult as you make it, you have to have your mind right. Just knock it apart. Like the 'ole Man always said, if you think you can or think you can''re right.
Wow I'm surprised by how many think an amateur can repair all that rust. Rust and metal repair is an art. It takes a lot more skill than is being presented here. As has been stated, there's a ton more where that came from. At best, that car will be a hack job after it's all done. Buy it for parts, nothing more, you'll never get your money out of it.
Wow I'm surprised by how many think an amateur can repair all that rust. Rust and metal repair is an art.

I beg to differ, there's no "art" in this, it's a skill most people good with their hands can do.
My $0.02: With modern equipment the process of making a single weld spot solid has never been easier. The machine feels the resistance or something and adjust current, and it also sends extra CO2 after button is released to cool down immediately, and other stuff. I don't know all the details, but when I recently replaced my welder, it was a whole new world. The old analogue ESAB had me learn a lot of "moves" to get a weld solid. The new MigaTronic you just enter a setting on material and thickness and it does most for you.

The hard part these days about welding is to me the fabrication of the replacement metal to be welded in. A flat piece is easy, a curved/bent one can take hours to produce. But the good thing is, if you get it wrong, just throw it away and try again, before you weld it in.

Welding requires a lot of patience. It always takes longer than you think. So you can't be in a hurry. But if you have the time, go for it. Also if you source it out, a welder on a fixed charge will not do as good a job as one on hourly pay.

Last, remember what you're welding on. Normally you'd want to do a proper job, obviously, both so rust will never reappear there, also so the needed amount of filler is as little as possible.

How long does it take to repair a rust hole? Depends. A lot! I've welded for many years. Two extremes. I welded a new front footwell in my orig 68 Camaro. I wanted it invisible, both from above and beneath. It took me 2 days, 1½ of those days was used bending the new metal to have the same profiles as orig. A little crazy perhaps as the carpet made these profiles invisible, and not many people looked at the car from beneath. The other extreme was a rusty Jeep Grand Cherokee I got for no money, just to get it legal I did 22 patches in less than 2 days. Pretty? No. Solid and legal? Yes. I still have that Jeep 5 years later, none of the rust I fixed has come back, but new rust has appeared, it's a constant battle Smiler Of course, for a Pantera, you want the best rust repair you can get.

So, there can be many good reasons to let a pro do the job. Lack of time, and too much money. But don't be fooled by "it's an art", no it's a skill, and a pretty simple one at that (just compare to painting a car, now that's complex IMO). And a skill you never regret taking the time to learn. But it's also messy, dirty, a fire hazard.

All that said, with regards to the Pantera looked at here, if it's possible to go over (under) it with a pointy hammer to find all rust, fine, if seller doesn't allow (which is understandable) I wouldn't buy it. Good luck
The biggest skill in metal work is . . . The desire to want to do and learn it. If you enjoy it and are fairly intuitive, it can be learned. If it is simply a job on the list to be done and not something your really excited about, then metal work is a lot harder.

For those of us who "get into it" it seems to come naturally.

I have a problem with the photo in the first post. If it is that bad in that single area, touching that car could open up a can of worms that will consume someone for years. That photo would lead me to believe it will have a lot more problems than just that area.
I want to thank Rocky for the shout out on my restoration thread. Photo bucket has my pics in hock now - they want $40 / month to allow 3rd party hosting (which would allow the pics to be seen again). George warned me that this could happen.

If someone could advise me on how to do it - I would be willing to cough up the $40, then "archive" in some way the thread from the beginning till now. I just don't have the time to start over.

Let me know if any of you have suggestions to help me get my thread out of hock. Rodney

Since you posted the original links, if you have your photobucket URLs, try this hack on the photo address:

After the .jpg before the [/img] put ~original ,or otherwise stated: .jpg~original[/img]

This will get all the PB photos showing again, for the moment at least! It worked for me.

Also, I saw this on another Forum:

Allegedly it can be used to fix the Photobucket problem by redirecting the links.

It is an add on to Google Chrome so you need to have Google Chrome to make it work.
I have tried it and I see all the photo's that were blocked.

I have an intense dislike for Photobucket. They will never see another nickel from me nor will anyone that advertises with them if I can help it.

I've since started hosting all my photo's at one of my own hobby domains. It's about $100/yr and I host a website, with, email and various tools, and oodles of space and bandwidth.

Kelly -

Great tip! (We will have to see how long it lasts before PB figures out what we are doing)!

If you follow the link (below) you will see a repair to an issue similar to the one asked about in the first post of this thread. Hopefully the pictures will remain available for a while!

Repair of Upright

I think the original poster has passed on the car, and is no longer following this thread, but this may be of value to somebody.

My question to you, is what are you looking to do with the proposed car. I've done more mods to a pantera "frame" than most people in here. Its not hard, frankly the frame doesn't even need much bracing if you have a decent car. As said before, the hardest part is getting decent replacement sheetmetal, I just gave up and fabbed my own after a while.

Depending on your goal, and the price of that car it could be steal. For instance if you're wanting a project car and plan to customize it.

If you're trying to get it 100% back to stock, thats a bit more of a pain in the rear, but still doable, as long as you understand its going to take you longer than you think.

Again, think of this as potential. Example: you wanted to restomod a car, now you have found a good car to back-half so you can get a Graz transaxle to fit nicely. Its potentially far enough in the grave everyone will be complimenting you for bringing it back to the road, no matter that its no longer stock.

This group will always be here to give you advice if you get in a pinch too Smiler
Originally posted by garth66:

You should get in touch with Cullen. He has sheet metal pieces you need.

RJK. I do have a pair of wheelhouses available that have no rust at all, and I do need to get them moved. Ironically, I have been trying to get them sold for months, but within the past few days I have three leads now. which is good, but I need to communicate with several people to make sure I don't step on any toes. Please let me know asap if you are interested. originally asking like 4 grand for the pair. will take less but shipping might be a pain. thanks!!
The hard part these days about welding is to me the fabrication of the replacement metal to be welded in.

Yes, I quote myself Eeker

Just as an example, here's a patch that took me quite some time to produce, just started fixing rust on the Longchamp. This patch took not a long time to cut out or weld in, but it took me half a day to create the metal piece to put in. It had to have the curve of the fender, the edge had to be curved like the door to create equal gap, there's a 1 cm 45 degree crease, it has to have a 180 degree bend obviously on the left and finally the right edge has to lowered approx 0.9mm so the main part is flush and needs as little filler as possible. I'm sure a pro could have made an even better patch if I paid him by the hour, but I can't afford that...

(Please ignore the miserable weld at the bottom, a one hand weld needed to fix the patch in place)


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Fully welded, but not cleaned up yet. Gap to door is not 100% perfect, but up to normal DeTomaso gaps I think? (It looks a bit worse than it is because the door is slightly open) If I did that patch again, I don't think it would be any better, this is the limit to my skills :-)

But thankfully I have lots of another needed thing: patience. You can't hurry welding

Other patches like in rocker panels where the black stuff will used over, they are made with less accuracy.

So hope this will inspire somebody to start welding instead of spending $$$ to get others to do it. We here in this community do most other things on our cars ourselves.

Don't get me started on painting Big Grin I have painted cars myself, but these days I have something better, a friend that's a pro painter, so I don't paint anymore


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I know most like to present their car's bodies as perfect, straight, never welded, never dented, so straight the factory didn't need any filler(!). Well I like to show it warts and all. And here's a picture of a subset of what I cut out of the Longchamp. I found quite a bit of rust in the following areas: front fenders (no inner fenders), rocker panels (no holes to let water out), rear fender lips and area below the gas tanks (hoses leading water from rear window and water/gas from filler areas deteriorated so water ended inside trunk). That's the bad news. The good news is almost no rust in doors, no rust in hood and trunk lid. And the areas where I've seen some Longchamp areas really being bad, rear lights and area below rear window, no rust at all.

So it took me 5 weeks, being between jobs currently so plenty of time to do it proper, saving a fortune compared to having it fixed.

Also have now drilled plenty of holes to let water out of fenders and rocker panels and front lower grill support (totally gone). And used 3 canisters of sealer and so far 2 canisters of rust protection. When I get it back on the road, I'm driving to the local rust protection people to have the remaining cavities that I can't get to filled with rust protection. This is not a show car, it's an (almost) daily driver.

Anybody want to buy some original Longchamp material? Wink


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