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Posted by John

This is Part 4 of Jim Mokwa's owner restoration of a '69 GTO Judge convertible. Jim had wanted this car for years. By the time he was able to buy it, the car needed a complete restoration. He already had four stock GTOs, so Jim decided to do this one "Resto-Mod" style. Here, in his own words, is the continuation of the blog about his project.

The body shop is probably going to be the toughest hurdle in any project like this. Those guys -- even the best in the industry -- work slow. They are either meticulous or they have to work on other jobs to keep their cash flow going. My body shop didn't want to be paid until the end of the project, which is kind of unusual.

But overall, the body shop is going to be your biggest hang up. To get a really nice, quality job work with a shop that keeps time sheets that record time in and time out. Then, stop in and check with your body man two or three times a month. If he has worked on your car you should see progress and he should have recorded is working hours on the time sheet. If there's no progress and there's an entry on the time sheet, that indixcates that something is wrong. Something is not right, So, using a time sheet keeps everyone honest.

My biggest surprise in my restoration was how thingsd turned out. You're working on the car in a garage. You've got family things to do and probably a job. Other things are on your mind. This is just a hobby. You think you're headed in the right direction, but how do you know? You picked the right color and you got the rims you think you wanted and finally you get the car outside and you step back and say, "Oh my gosh! Did I do this?' You can't believe how it turned out once you get it outside, out of the shop and you can look back and see allk four sides of the car.

The restoration cost about what I expected it to. I have done other similar cars. Still, the cost of adding 4-wheel disc brakes was a big shock. I had no idea they were going to be quite so expensive. But they and the 5-speed Tremec transmission were worth every penny.

Of course, the bill from the body shop always hits you over the head. You know the hours the shop has put into it and you know the hourly shop rate, but when you sit down at the end and look at the bill you say, "Oh my gosh!" But then you tell yourself it's worth it. I think I'll always be able to get my money back someday. That's how I look at it. You wonder if you went beyond what the car is worth and I don't think I did. Even though I put a lot of aftermarket parts in there like the disc brakes, the two-inch dropped spindles and the 12-bolt rear end (instead of the Pontiac 10-bolt), I think it will always be worth it anyday.

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