How do new steel bodies affect the restoration industry?


How do new steel bodies affect the restoration industry?
A SEMA Press Conference – Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Joe Whitaker of Real Deal Steel, LLC and Nate Miller of Thoroughbred International discuss the current and future impact that new reproduction steel vehicle bodies have on the automotive aftermarket

Position in the marketplace:
• Niche
• Competitors –pricing ($30K for an Experi-Metal body but under $15K for an RDS)
• Keep cost low to introduce as many new bodies as possible to improve reputation for quality, generate excitement among retailers
• Project cars: Chop Cut Rebuild 56, Street Rodder 40 and 55
• Advantage of US-built (stigma, cost, employ US workers, trickle-down to local economy)
• RDS has constructed (102) 55-57 bodies, (10) 1940 Ford coupe bodies and (1) 1969 Camaro coupe body to date

Why a new body?
• Scarcity of originals of certain body styles
• Allows shop or customer to build completely new classic car
• Reduce overall cost of project by reducing body shop time
• Brings in enthusiasts that might otherwise not have entered the hobby
• Lends importance/direction to the year/make/model being reproduced
• Importance of quality, fixture built bodies using spot welders. Not possible with pile of components on shop floor without fixtures, platform, spot welders (show slide of spot welders and specs)
• Measurements taken from 10+ original bodies to establish correct dimensions for new fixtures & bodies
• All parts must be reproduced to build, so this makes available repair parts never before available to repair originals as well (roof structure, firewall, inner quarter)
• Aftermarket items needed to complete the build – Morrison Chassis or other, crate engine, transmission, rear end – hundreds of new mechanical items needed to finish the body and create a driving car or truck. Add-on sales opportunities for dealers. Average build $50K+
• Overall impact of bodies, not including parts 2,000 bodies x $50K build cost = $100,000,000
• Perpetuates and guarantees the extension of the hobby and demand for parts needed far into the future. Where would the ’32 Ford market be today if we relied only on original deuce bodies? Many other areas of the market are or will soon see shortages of original, buildable cars
• Camaro or Mustang vs. tri-5. Many 55-57 parts cars, but there were never any 4-door Camaros or Mustangs built, so demand for all-new parts is particularly high for body styles without parts cars

License or not?
• License fees add 10% to COGS per body which results in higher price to end user. It is a tax
• Adds credibility to new introductions
• Not everything that is licensed is good, customers realize this now. Licensing has lost some importance

Negative stereotype of overseas suppliers
• Some bad bodies and parts are available and this negatively affects our industry
• Requires strict oversight of US-side importer/assembler/distributor – it is very easy to have a poor part or body produced if samples are not checked and demands are made for improved quality. If we accept bad parts, the supplier has no reason to fix it

How do you title it?
• VIN transfer (not recommended for shops!)
• Chassis VIN
• Register as kit car
• Register as newly assembled per the laws in your particular state. SEMA/ARMO