Frequently asked questions

WHAT IS

E-coat, or electro-coating, is the process used AFTER acid dipping and the metal repair work is completed. At this stage your car is then e-coated. E-coating is the process in which your car will be cleaned and readied to be dipped into a rust inhibiting agent, then dipped into a primer agent that will be electro-statically charged tank that will adhere the primer to the car. This is a process we typically recommend to our clients as it will help to preserve the restoration for years to come.
Dipping, otherwise known as acid dipping, is a process used to prepare the metal on your car for the body and paint stage. Before this process, your car is completely disassembled down to it’s bare metal shell. The shell is then dipped in an acid chemical in it’s entirety to remove all the paint, filler, bondo, dirt, grime, and any other materials that have adhered to the car over the years. This is the most efficient method of clearing away the old to start rebuilding the new.
No it doesn’t have to be, but in most cases we highly recommend it as the best option. There are three main processes when it comes to stripping the body of your car; mechanical (using a sander by hand), media blasting, or dipping.

Mechanical is the most affordable but if you plan on doing more than just an exterior repaint, it’s usually not the route to go. This method does not eliminate all the rust.

Media Blasting is the best option IF YOU HAVE A RUST FREE vehicle. This method effectively removes all paint, primer, and filler products on your car but it will not remove rust in areas that cannot be reached. (Example: inside frame rails or rocker panels).

Acid Dipping is the best option for moderate to heavy rusted vehicles as it will clean absolutely everything off the metal.
Some people swear against dipping as this caustic material can be harmful if the metal is not fully rinsed and prepped for e-coat. This is why you need to use a knowledgeable and detail oriented restoration shop. Your project can start off on the wrong foot in the beginning stages when choosing to use cheaper, less knowledgeable shops.

It’s a process in which you’re basically taking the VIN tag off one car and attaching it to another. This is usually done when a more desirable car cannot be salvaged.

For example: say you have a 1970 Hemi Challenger that was in an accident and cannot be salvaged. Someone will then find a different Challenger, usually an entry level car that’s in good condition. They will then remove the Vin tag from the Hemi Challenger and attach it to the other one.

Re-bodying a car is not legal in the US.

THE FINANCIALS

Restoration levels range from a high concours show winner to a low driver quality. A concours level restoration takes about 1500 hours to complete. It could take more or less depending on the condition of the vehicle. Metal repair is a big cost. If your project needs little to no metal repair, that could save you 300 hours. If your project needs metal repair on each and every panel, that could cost you 300 additional hours. If you don’t want perfectly straight body and paint, this could also save a substantial amount of money.

The variables are so wide, we need to look over your restoration project and see what it needs as well as discuss what end result you’re looking for. We do offer estimates so you’re prepared for the financial expense. See our restoration services page to read about our process.

Absolutely. We wouldn’t walk into a substantial project without some sort of estimate, therefore we wouldn’t expect you to.
We do monthly billing at Apex. At the end of every month we create an invoice and either mail or email it (or both). The bill consists of all labor and parts that went into your project that month.
Yes. We deal with many customers who choose to set a monthly budgets. We believe everyone deserves to have their dream car restored to an unbelievable level. If that means you need to do it on a budget, that’s fine with us.
No sales tax will be charged for restorations that are built here and then delivered to you if you’re out of state. But WI state law says that if you pick it up or hire someone to pick it up for you, the point of sale occurs here and you are charged WI sales tax of 5.6% on parts and labor. If you live in WI you are charged for WI tax.
Yes. If we do a full rotisserie restoration on your car, we will stand behind our work 100%.

THE CAR

Changing factory options can affect the value depending on the car and the option. Contact us to discuss exactly what options you’re thinking of eliminating and/or adding for a more accurate answer.
An average restoration takes about a year. This time can vary drastically depending on your needs. If you set a small monthly budget, the project will obviously be slowed, whereas on the opposite end, we can also make a complete restoration happen in a few months if need be.
Yes and no.

Yes – If you have a rare and limited production car that you know is valuable, it is. If you have a car with sentimental value then it’s worth what you’re willing to put into it.

No – If you’re looking at doing a #1 level restoration on a 1989 Camaro for investment purposes, the answer is no.

Please feel free to contact us to discuss the value of your car and why you’re restoring it to determine the next step.

Absolutely. If you don’t know where to look to find the appropriate project, we will definitely help you find the right one.
We offer enclosed transport and will come pick it up, arrange for a carrier to pick it up, or you can deal with a carrier of your choice.
If you live near us, feel free to stop by anytime during normal business hours or make an appointment. If you live out of state, we are more than happy to travel to you for the cost of travel. We do not charge an initial inspection fee for potential projects, we require only the travel fees.

ABOUT US

We have what was said to be the last few cases of the original dicryl organosol used from the factory. Unless specifically requested, we do not use this on restorations due to it’s lacquer base (lacquer is not long lasting or durable). Instead we have formulated an exact product to use solely on our restorations.
To put it simply, artistry. Anyone can follow ‘how to paint a car 101′, but it takes a skilled tradesman with an artist’s eye and touch to be able to create these laser straight bodies.

It takes a lot of time and patience to keep blocking and sanding until it’s perfect. In the restoration world, the word “straight” is used too loosely and in actuality there are very few shops that can achieve this kind of paint and body work.

Use these general tips when looking at the body and paint work of a car:

  • Perfectly aligned body panels
  • No highs and lows when sighting down the side of the car
  • No waves, ripples or orange peel
  • Reflections should be clear and mirror like
We can build you a complete one-off custom car, a resto-mod, or simply customize a car to meet your needs. Not everything has to be factory restored!
Sure. It depends on what you want. There are plenty of good reproduction parts made today and plenty of bad ones. We know which are good and which are bad and will help you make the decision to go with original, reproduction or NOS. We have won many 1st place awards in Original Equipment classes using reproduction parts. It depends on what you want. If we can get an original or NOS (new old stock) part we would usually prefer that, but sometimes the budget won’t allow it or the client just doesn’t want it.
No. And 9 times out of 10, nobody does. Having everything done in house increases overhead and drives up the cost of your project. The more property, equipment and employees a shop has, the more overhead they have, the higher hourly rate and service charges they have.

A few examples of things we don’t do in house:

  • Dipping and e-coat
  • Extra large powder coating
  • Boring or honing of blocks and/or heads
  • Chroming

These are all processes that require very expensive equipment and would drive up the cost of the service substantially versus using a vendor that solely provides these services.

The term “one stop shop” refers only to us handling your project from inception all the way through to delivery. Meaning there is no need for you to find your own chromer or powder coater. We already have our preferred vendors for these services.

A pricing example: If your car requires a vinyl top, we use a local interior/fabrics vendor to do this. Why? Because if it takes us 10 hours to perfectly apply a vinyl top, that would cost you $700.00. Verses using a vendor who does this type of work every single day and has become perfectly efficient who charges $250.00.

You become better with practice and how do we compete with a company who ONLY does this type of service. It’s simple. We can’t. It’s their specialty. Restoration is ours.

Every big stepping stone in the restoration process we will email you pictures or video. You may also feel free to request additional pictures or video, or even sound, at any time. We also have new Client Area that is updated on our website for your project progress photos.
We do. Rates are determined by the type and length of stay as well as if there are any special requests. There are no storage charges while your car is being restored. If you need to halt restoration for any reason we will work with you to work out a storage plan for your project.
Serious potential clients may consult with past and current clients to get a feel for how we operate. We have nothing to hide. But due to the status of some of our clients and their busy schedules you must be a serious interest before we would put you in contact with them.

THE HELPER

Yes. We don’t have any sort of policy that says “we do it all or not at all”. We understand the added value the client takes home with the finished product if they’ve helped create it. We will work with you in any way we can to make that possible. You tell us what you want to do yourself and we’ll make sure those projects are all yours.
Yes.  You can disassemble your car on your own and when you’re done let us know. We will arrange how to get the car to us. We’ll do our part (the body and paint work) while you’re rebuilding the mechanicals on your own. We’ll arrange the return transport of your vehicle for completion so you can begin reassembly. When you’re done with reassembly we will have to make arrangements to complete the final buffing process.
Possibly. If you do the bodywork or have another shop do the bodywork, we don’t know what products were used, if it was stripped properly or a number of other variables. If you have a project you’d like to go this route with, please contact us so we can go over your specific needs and requirements.
Yes. We will do any portion of your restoration you feel we could be of assistance with.
Yes. Similarly to setting a budget. Any sort of progressive restoration you want to work out, we are more than willing to try to make it happen.
Sure. If you have any of the parts needed for your project we welcome them. Feel free to even buy all your own parts if you want. It’s your car, it’s your project, it’s your way.

THE WHY

We offer restorations and custom builds built to the highest level. Few restoration shops are able to build cars to this level and over the past fifteen years we have won award after award for our restorations. Building cars to this level takes a special eye, a level of dedication, and true passion for the work.

Not only do we have your best interests at heart, but we have your cars best interests at heart. It’s real simple… we do it because we love it.