I just spent over an hour with the owner of a company nearby that does complete and total car restoration. I couldn't even begin to detail the process but it was first class all the way. They pull the engine and strip every last piece off the car and bag and tag it. The frame is blasted, acid washed, sanded, treated with POR, then sealed, painted, and clear coated. They don't use any bondo or fiberglass - everything is steel. Every part is cleaned and primed before it goes back on the car right down to screws, nuts, and bolts. They showed me ~15 cars in the shop in various states of process. The way they work is an initial deposit of $1K followed by a series of deposits made as work is performed (sort of an escrow of funds to keep the project moving). If your balance drops to zero, they cover the car and suspend work until you tell them you are ready to start up again (which helps cash flow). You get a very detailed statement each month showing what was done and how much is left in your account. At the end of the project, you also get a CD with hundreds of detailed photos showing each and every step of the project.
They will not commit to a total amount of time or cost but gave me a rough estimate of $13K - $16K over 2 - 3 years. OK, so has anyone on the forum gone this route and if so, is this in the ballpark?