Sure, it's great fun owning a classic car. You enjoy driving it around, going to shows, seeing the admiring looks, receiving all the compliments. That is, until one day you get into a fender bender - then you learn about the downside. You learn how hard it is to find decent sheet metal for these old cars, especially if you are unlucky enough to own a "one-year model" like my 1970 Skylark. My car was damaged over 4 months ago, and still sits forlornly in my garage, waiting to be repaired. See this link to my earlier post, describing the wreck and showing photos of the damage:
My insurance company (Hagerty) was great - they had the damage appraised and a check in my hands within a week. But what good does the money do me, if I can't get the car repaired? It seems that decent used passenger side front fenders for 1970 Skylarks are practically impossible to find. I have tried every local source I can think of, to no avail. I talked to Mark Northcutt up in Lubbock, but he can't help me. I am sure there are '70 Skylarks being parted out somewhere in the world, but not around here (Midland, TX). I have located rotted-out fenders down on the Gulf coast, but no good solid pieces. Even if I could find a fender, if it is not within reasonable driving distance so I can go pick it up it doesn't do me any good, because they either won't ship it or want a zillion dollars to do so. The insurance appraiser found a new OEM fender at Parts Place in Dekalb, IL, but they want $1500.00 for the fender, PLUS shipping, and then it will still have to be cut apart and "corrected to the proper shape" before it can be used. I doubt my local body shop is qualified to do that particular surgery. So I am stuck with a damaged car, and no way to get it fixed, and it is really making me depressed. I am starting to think seriously about trying to sell it to someone "as is", just to get it out of my garage and out of my sight.
Yes, I know there are many excellent body shops out there that are fully capable of repairing my car, but they are all on the other side of the country. That doesn't help me - I have no way to get the car to them short of having it shipped. That would be cost prohibitive, and more hassle than the car is worth. Unless I can locate a good fender so the repair can be done locally, I am stuck SOL.
So here is my advice to people thinking about buying any classic car: thoroughly investigate the "repairability" of the particular model, including major body repair, before you spend your hard-earned cash. Doing so might save you a lot of heartache down the road.