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Buffalo Restorations / Extreme Disappointment

1 Puyallup, WA, United States Review updated:

"Extreme attention to details" That is the quote on their website. All Buffalo Restorations did for me was create extreme disappointment in my restoration project. I made a major mistake in trusting that they were experts in auto restorations but I soon found out that they were experts in ripping you off. I thought that because this company advertised such expertise, that they would have your best interest at stake and the cost would be reasonable because they knew what they were doing.
I brought in my 1966 EL Camino that was complete stripped down with no trim, glass, engine, etc. I asked for only body work and a mid level paint job. I was absolutely shocked when the total for this project came to $28, 000. I was concerned with the cost after just two weeks of the car being there but I also wanted the job to be completed. The project had already exceeded my proposed budget and all I had was a car that was stripped down to bare metal and disassembled. When I went in that week to review the progress, I was told buy several of the workers that they could not believe how rust free and in good shape the car was. That got me excited because I knew that the car would not require body panel replacements which I knew was going to save me lots of money. I also stressed at that time that I was concerned about the cost and asked that they not spend a lot of time on the bed of the truck as I did not care what it looked like.
As the weeks keep going by and the invoices kept coming in, I started to suspect that they were using my car as filler work to keep people busy. There was not a lot of project going while my car was there so I think they kept coming up with excuses to keep people working on it. One example was the inside cover panel on the tailgate. This panel was painted along with some of the other trim pieces early in the project. When I went into the shop for one of my reviews, the painter asked me if it was ok that they did not remove all of the dents and dings from the panel. I told them that was fine and it did not bother me. About two weeks later another worker took it upon himself to re-due the panel because he did not like all of the dents. That decision probably cost me $500 or more in labor for a part I could have replaced new for less than $150.
I continually heard that the shop foreman did not like something about the body work and asked for it to be redone, and all of this coming at my expense. So if their worker’s did not do something right or to the level of a paintable surface, then I was charged for their rework. You are assigned a project coordinator who works with you through your project, but they were absolutely no help in resolving issues. For three straight weeks my project coordinator kept telling me my car was ready for paint and it was going in the booth any day now. Meanwhile they continued to find work on the car and continued to charge me thousands and thousands of dollars. The more I started to complain, the less attention they gave to the project and any issues that I brought up would only be addressed with more money out of my pocket.
In the end I got a painted car with more removed parts then when I first delivered it to them. They did such a poor job with the paint and assembly that I continued to complain even after taking the car home. They were large drips of clear coat around the fender wells; they did not paint the back side of some of the parts, they painted parts that were already power-coated black, they painted the inside of the engine compartment the exterior color when I asked for black. I was actually shocked at how many pieces did not actually get full paint coverage. They removed metal trim pieces that did not need to be removed and then did not re-install them prior to final assembly. So after I got my car home with all of the sheet metal in place and painted, I had to remove the hood and both front fenders to re-install these metal trim pieces. They did not paint the inside roof of the cab, and there was exterior paint over-spray on the frame. Then after all was said and some they left my car outside in the rain the night before I picked it up which caused rust rings around some of the bolts that were unpainted.
This turned out to be the worst financial decision I have ever made. I could have bought 2 or 3 1966 EL Camino’s in good shape for what I paid just for my paint job. I was caught in the middle of unimaginable costs and wanting to get the project completed. For as long as I have the car I will regret the decision to take it to Buffalo Restorations and the memory will pain me every time I look at it or drive it.

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  • St
      24th of Nov, 2008
    0 Votes


    Buffalo Restorations is now under new ownership. Even though I did not own Buffalo at the time your vehicle was there and I can't speak for how things were done, or may not have been done. I do apologize for your negative experience that it seems you had.
    I know that a business always has room to improve on its processes and most importantly the way customers are communicated with and issues are handled before they become problems.

    I put my customer first in my business, and I expect no less from my team that is working on the vehicles and working one on one with the customers to ensure their project is not only meeting but exceeding their expectations. Again, I can't speak specific to your situation, but again I am sorry for your experience and I welcome any input on how we can improve our business to future customers. Feel free to contact me directly to discuss.

    Steve (The new owner)

  • Wk
      18th of Feb, 2010
    0 Votes

    Unfortunately I had a similar experience, albeit back in 2002. I have a 1965 Ford Fairlane that I brought in to do some paint and minor bodywork. It was a basic pull the chrome and reshoot job. I was estimated at the time around 5, 000 dollars. That seemed resonable for what they were planning on doing so I went along with it.

    Unfortunately during that time I deployed to Iraq and my wife was left in charge of the finances. During that time the bill ran from the 5, 000 dollars originally estimate to over 14, 000 dollars. As she was driving it home the transmission (which worked fine prior to the car going into their shop) wouldn't shift out of second gear and had to be rebuilt. When I got back from the Gulf I got a good view of the paint and bodywork. The paint wasn't properly cut and buffed and had more 'orange peel' than a bag of valencias. There was overspray on the windows and on the rubber trim of the back window. In addition the paint wasn't the correct 1965 Vintage Burgundy that I requested but a shade that was lighter than the color the car originally was.

    Even worse was later on when a car clipped me in 2008. I took the car into another shop to do the repair work and replace the front fender which was crunched in the wreck only to find out that Buffalo had completely mudded out an entire bodyline from the car. The large cost incurred was the result of someone at Buffalo deciding the lower bodyline of the car would look better smoothed out. I ended up having to have the entire car stripped and reshot because an OEM fender wouldn't match up properly with the drivers side bodyline. I ended up spending another 8 grand to have that work done. Interestingly for that price the entire car was stripped down and reshot and looked 100% better than the 'premier' job I got at Buffalo.

    Steve I hope your shop is an improvement. Unfortunately there are plenty of people that got ripped off by the old group that ran the place in Puyallup. I get the impression that they were too big and too sloppy and the ownership didn't cover the vehicles as closely as they should, especially if they weren't a premier type of restoration project.

    It is too bad because I have a 1963 Thunderbird Sports Roadster that I am doing now that would be a showcase car for most restoration shops. But even though there is new ownership I still fear getting burnt twice.

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