Effective January 1, 2023, the base labor rate for all services (except sodablasting) is $160/hr. 100-Hour blocks of prepaid labor will be sold at the discouted rate of $150/hr. Projects that are already underway and those with deposits holding a spot in the backlog queue will be grandfathered in at their originally-quoted rate. See our "Ways to Pay" page (Company Menu) for more information.
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"Full Inventory"
(Projects, Completions and Personal Collection)

77 Lancia Scorpion

67 Camaro RS Conv.

68 Austin Healey Sprite

68 Cougar

69 Corvette

70 Opel GT

69 Marcos 3000GT

86 TVR 280i

73 TVR 2500M

90 Buick Reatta


Restoring clients’ classic automobiles is Midlife Classics’ primary business. We expect their ownership to continue long after the project is completed and we know we will be held accountable for our work. So, we take the time to ensure that every restoration lives up to the expectations of our clients. That requires that – together – we determine the scope and quality levels of the restoration. When the project is complete, our work is fully documented in such a way as to ensure that our client can show clearly - and without question - just what work was performed and what parts were included in the project.

The term “restoration” seems to have evolved to mean just about anything from a budget repaint (with or without a fresh interior) to a complete reconstruction from scratch. Various modifiers get tossed around like “frame-off”, “frame-on”, “bare-metal”, “daily-driver:”, “concourse”, "trailer queen", and so on. But, when you’re buying a classic, such terms mean very little unless they can be backed up with documentation. Far too many classic auto enthusiasts have spent tens of thousands of dollars on “restored” vehicles only to discover – too late – that the “restoration” consisted of nothing more than a repaint, new carpet and seat covers combined with a detailed engine compartment. Too often, these “restorations” are performed for the sole purpose of making vehicles look good enough to sell – preferably at auction, online or via some other means that limits buyers’ ability to have them thoroughly inspected prior to committing to a purchase. We’ve seen the product of such sales and have had to break the sad news to the once-proud new owners. It is not at all uncommon to see the true cost of such purchases double before the vehicle lives up to what the new owners were led to believe they were purchasing.

Our view is that every restoration is built around two principle components – scope and quality level. The scope determines how extensive the project will be while the quality level specifies the standards to which the final “product” will be judged. Both tend to change over the course of the project as issues are uncovered and opportunities are recognized. Defining both at the start and effectively communicating changes throughout the project ensures that goals are defined and costs are kept under control.

  • Scope:Frame-On” and “Frame-Off” are terms often used to describe the scope of a restoration project – basically by describing whether the vehicle was disassembled to a point where the body was removed from the frame. These terms a somewhat of a misnomer when referring to a unibody car (because there is no separate frame), but the concept of one being a limited scope vs. a comprehensive restoration is still more-or-less valid. When approaching a project’s scope definition, much more is taken into consideration – such as engine, drivetrain, suspension, brakes, weatherstripping and much more. While most would say that a “Frame-Off” restoration would include all of these items, a “Frame-On” restoration may not include any of them. A comprehensive definition of a project’s scope is our first step.
  • Quality Level: Quality is always of the utmost importance to us – and nearly everyone that brings us work. However, we think of “Quality Level” as being a method of describing just how far you want us to go to make your classic look, run, drive and “feel” perfect. That’s where terms like “20-footer” and “daily-driver” are often used to describe the quality of a restoration. Given an unlimited budget and all the time in the world, we could turn out a restoration that would not only please the vehicle’s owner, but show attendees, judges and even the next restoration shop or mechanic that sees the hidden details of our work during disassembly. But, in the real world, most everyone has a budget and a limited amount of time. So, we establish quality standards and expectations at the start of the restoration.

Our standard practice is to have each restoration assigned to an individual restoration mechanic who then acts as the project lead. While others may assist in the restoration process (and Midlife’s owner oversees all work), responsibility for the project’s work lies in the hands of the project lead. In that way, we not only ensure that a restoration mechanic takes ownership of the project, but that each member of our team is also able to take pride in their work. Each restored classic that leaves here has someone’s heart and soul built into it – and one person that knows everything that was done to complete the job.

Client participation is not only encouraged, it is a necessity. Like any large-scale project on something that is decades old, surprises crop up, scopes change and changes in overall expectations are common. Restoration projects not only progress, they also tend to evolve. Changes – either driven by what is discovered during the work or by client desires – are more the rule than the exception. Our mission is to provide our clients with a completed classic that meets their final expectations – and that’s nearly impossible to do if we work in a vacuum. The only way we can hope to successfully complete our mission is through extensive communication throughout the project. On-site visits are very important as well. We want you to be an active participant in the project and welcome every opportunity to show you our progress and have you verify that you are pleased with the results of our work.

Of course, quality takes time. Unlike some popular television programs, there are no “7-Day Wonders” here. Our restorations need to hold up to scrutiny long after the day they are completed, so we take the time to get it right. Comprehensive restorations typically take anywhere from 6 to 18 months to complete depending on scope, quality level and parts availability.

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