The best way to insure that you get the most bang for your buck is to have a plan and stick to it. I have found that one of the most effective tools in accomplishing this is art work. I am a sketch artist ,and have studied figure art for over 15 years. So I can offer you the opportunity to see what the project is going to look like before I start the work.
Custom Paint; First I do a sketch of your car or truck. Have a few copies made. By then we have discuss your ideas and I have a handle on what you are looking for. I work up a few design ideas, you say yes I like that, no I don’t like that, and after a little back and forth we come up with the perfect design. Then comes color. If you know exactly what you want, great. But if you are not sure, I find that the best place to shop for colors is not the paint store, but at car dealerships. Looking at a small paint chip in the paint store will not tell you what that color is going to look like on your car. All we need is the make and year of the car or truck that has the color ( or colors ) you want. Then we go to the paint store and find the paint chip. Remember, sometimes the cheapest cars have the best colors. Cool colors are a great way to sell a less than cool car. So don’t worry if the color you want is on a car you wouldn’t be caught dead in. When using more than one color it’s a good idea at first to buy just a half pint of each. Then I will do a test panel ( 1 foot square ) so you can see how the colors work together. Now we have a plan, I know what you want, you know what to expect, and there are no expensive surprises.
Custom Fabrication / Chopping / Channeling / Sectioning / Stretching / ECT; Customizing is an art and it should start with art. One of my best examples of this is the 31 Ford pickup stretch that can be found in the completed project page. Pickup cabs from this era were amazingly small. And the owner was over 6 foot tall. He loved his hot rod pickup, but he didn’t love driving with his knees in his eyes. So a stretch cab was in order. We came up with a 31 Ford sedan that had good quarter panels we could use as donors for the project. The sedan has a large window in the quarters that was going to need to be cut down. Then came the questions. How much to stretch the cab, and how much to shrink the window. Instead of treating this as a math problem I treated it as an art compaction question. I did a sketch of the pickup with the added length. When the sketch looked like something Henry Ford would like we knew we were on the right track. Then came the math. By measuring the length of the real door window and comparing it to the length of the door window in the sketch, I was able to come up with the scale. Using that formula it was easy to determine what the length of the window in the donor quarters needed to be. By building the cab using this dimensions I was then able to determent how much to stretch the frame, running boards, and drive shaft. The frame is thinner in the front than the rear so this led to some rear fender modifications. With customizing you can always expect that when you change one thing, you will need to change 5 other things to make it work. You can see the results in the completed project page.