Van Restoration Services
We're more than just paint!
- Have your van restored by the best in the business.
- Utilize my years of expertise in Volkswagen Restoration
- Enjoy a road trip to a beautiful tropical locale
- Tons of additional options from engine rebuilds, suspension, brakes, tinting, upholstery, and more
Hi, i'm Shane. In 2016 I embarked on a well documented adventure south of the border to Tijuana Mexico to repaint my 1982 VW Vanagon Westfalia. Since then, I have helped hundreds of others get their vans painted in Mexico, taking advantage of the considerable cost savings on labor here versus the United States. Helping others restore their Vans in Mexico has become a passion of mine. I now live in beautiful La Paz, Mexico, recently named by Time Magazine one of the 100 greatest places in the world (https://time.com/collection/worlds-greatest-places-2021/6079262/la-paz-mexico/) La Paz is located at the southern tip of Baja where my passion for restoring Volkswagens has continued unabated. I have spent the last couple of years building relationships here in town, with the best VW mechanics, Upholsterers, and my Paint Shop. You have many choices when it comes to painting your Van, and the process can be daunting. Even more so when you are in a foreign country far from home. You need someone who knows the ins and outs, not just of the culture, but of the vehicles themselves. As an expert in classic Volkswagens and a resident of Mexico I am uniquely suited to ensure that your restoration surpasses your expectations. But don't take my word for it. Ask around, you will find I am regarded as a well respected and trusted member of our community. I treat every build as the most important one I have ever done, and I can't wait to help you build the van of your dreams.
Over the years my builds have been featured in Magazines, Youtube videos with over 1 million views, and have won best in show at car shows. I love taking tired old Vans and giving them a second life. In addition to paint and bodywork I can now assist with Mechanical overhauls, from complete suspension rebuilds, VW engine rebuilds, Brakes, interior upholstery, and even transmissions.
Why should I restore my Van in Mexico?
The answer is simple. Price. The cost of labor is dramatically less in Mexico. This translates to restoration costs that are often half what a comparable restoration might cost in the states. A typical comparable paint job in the US or Canada with body work and rust repair will easily run you $10,000-$20,000 dollars or more. And that's before you add on extras like upholstery, mechanical work, window tinting, undercoating, and all of the other services we have here with us.
Why should I restore my Van with Shane?
Finding the right craftsmen for the job at a reasonable price is only part of the equation. When you work with me, you benefit from my years of experience building Vans for myself, and for others. I know the things to watch for, I know the common areas that need to be addressed, and I have relationships with all of the big players in the industry. I've also learned from all of my previous builds what works, and what doesn't. In short, i've made mistakes and learned from them so you don't have to. Mexican culture can be very different from what we are accustomed to, and knowing how to navigate that world is critical to a successful outcome. My builds have been featured in magazines, on youtube and have won awards including best 2wd van at Syncrofest in California.
A basic exterior paint job without changing the base color starts at $5500 usd (plus the cost of window and body rubber, this must be transported down from the states with your Van as these are not available in Mexico). More complex jobs, changing exterior and interior colors, more bodywork, rust, etc will increase the cost. A complete interior, with carpeting, front seats and rear bench seat reupholstered and door panels, starts at $2000. I also work closely with the best VW specialty shop south of the border, Geraldos VW's who can help with a wide variety of mechanical repairs and upgrades. Estimates are free, contact me to start the conversation.
Some Add-ons and approximate costs:
Some Add-ons and approximate costs:
- Truck Bed Liner along the bottom: $350
- Vehicle undercoating: $350-450 depending on vehicle
- Ceramic Vehicle Tint Complete Van: $600
- New Pop Top Tent Installation: $400-$450 depending on vehicle
- Complete Interior Upholstery (Front and Rear Seats, Mattresses, Carpet, Door Panels): $2000
- Stereo and Speaker installations
- Lighting upgrades and installations
- Powder Coating
- Solar and Battery Systems design and installation
- Westfalia Specific Repairs and Upgrades
Frequently Asked Questions
how do i get my vehicle to La Paz?
There are two options, you can drive your vehicle from the US to La Paz through Baja (an epic road trip), or drive your car to Tijuana and ship it to us via truck (we can assist with this). We have gotten quotes of around $400 each way for truck transportation. You could also ship it down, and then drive it back, flying into La Paz or Cabo San Lucas is very easy.
What are payment terms?
50% is required at vehicle drop off and the remainder is due at pickup. Due to the nature of business in Mexico where cash is king (our paint shop does not accept credit cards, nor do any of our other vendors), we ask for all payments to be made in cash in Pesos.
Can you supply parts cheaper in mexico than in the uS?
No. In general most parts need to be imported from the United States and thus are much more expensive and difficult to get in Mexico than in the US. This is especially true for Vanagons which were never sold here. Your savings comes from the much lower cost of Labor here in Mexico, any parts that you'd like installed should be brought down with you. In an emergency where parts may be needed, they can be shipped to La Paz from the states via DHL, though there is often the need to use a customs broker, and pay import taxes (customs brokers fees plus 16% typically). Its a pain, so plan ahead and bring your own parts.
I have a Pop top tent, and some parts id like installed on my van, can they be installed?
Yes, between the paint shop, my upholstery shop, and my good friends at Geraldos VW's we can install just about anything for you for an additional cost. You will save a lot of money on labor. The parts, you should bring yourself (see above)
I would like to have my camper painted inside and out, can that be done?
Yes, although a few things you should keep in mind. Disassembling and reassembling a Westfalia camper interior is a time consuming process, having us remove it, paint the inside of your vehicle, and then reinstall it can be done, but it will increase the cost of the service.
Can I change the color of my Van?
Yes, however based on my experience having painted many vehicles now, I can tell you that the best results will be had when you keep your Van the stock color. Inevitably with use, your van will get chips and dings, and you dont want to see a different color underneath when that happens. Also, it is nearly impossible to paint every nook and crevice of a van to change the color, for example behind the dash, without tearing the van down to a bare shell (think lots of time and $$$) so there will always inevitably be little spots that you see that were the old color. If your willing to live with those caveats, then go for it! I have! But that being said, the best results will be had by keeping with your stock color. There are things we can do to make it more interesting, for example adding more metallic flake to the paint to make it pop and glisten more.
What is the turn around time from drop off?
All depends on the scope of the work, however for a basic paint job and minor rust and or bodywork the typical turnaround time is 8 to 12 weeks. More complex jobs, mechanical work, upholstery, etc may require more time. Please do not schedule work to be done with us if you are on a super tight timeframe, need to get back home, and are rushing. We work as fast as we can but things do come up and it's very stressful for everyone involved if there isn't some flexibility. If you have any concerns, please talk to us before booking.
Is my vehicle safe? Am I?
La Paz is one of the safest cities in Mexico and enjoys one of the highest standards of living. Your vehicle is absolutely safe and secure when it is here as are you! In addition, the baja peninsula from California to La Paz is VERY safe, really there's not much except open desert, and deserted beaches for almost 800 miles. Every single person who makes the drive (for paint or otherwise) comments how safe they feel here, and how wrong all of their friends/family and the media is.
Can I fly to or from La Paz?
La Paz is easily and very cheaply accessible via Tijuana with flights to be had often for $100 or less each way. Coming to or from San Diego is super easy via CBX (Cross Border Express) which allows you to access the Tijuana Airport from San Diego. Direct flights from the US can be had to Cabo San Lucas easily and inexpensively from many destinations. Cabo is approximately 2 hours from La Paz. Taxi service can be arranged and costs $50 to $75 each way.
I'd like to schedule to get my van to you, whats the next step?
In order to give your van the attention it deserves, and my full attention, I am limiting the number of Vans I am working with at any particular time. When we have agreed on a date for your drop off, I require a $250 non refundable deposit (this amount will be deducted from the full cost of the work) in order to guarantee you a spot on my calendar. This means I am setting aside this time for you and your van, and not double booking. This also means that if you later change your schedule, I will not have anything scheduled for your slot, so in order to help respect my time, I ask for a small deposit. If you pull out after the deposit is made, it will be forfeited.
Do i need to insure my vehicle when its in mexico
id like to stay in La paz during the restoration, what do you recommend?
Your best bet if you'd like to stay here is to book a monthly rental through AirBnb. There are lots and lots of options for every budget, from very affordable to fancy and everything in between. I would recommend a central location if your budget allows so you can walk around the city. We are working on being able to offer our own affordable AirBnb to our customers, but that is something that is not ready yet.
I'D REALLY LIKE TO BE A PART OF THE PROCESS, CAN I HELP? WHERE IS YOUR SHOP?
WHILE WE APPRECIATE YOUR ENTHUSIASM WE KINDLY REQUEST THAT YOU LEAVE THE HARD WORK TO US AND REST AND RELAX WHILE WE COMPLETE THE WORK FOR YOU. OUR SHOP IS NOT OPEN TO THE PUBLIC AND WHILE WE DONT ALLOW VISITORS, WE MAKE SURE TO KEEP YOU POSTED WITH REGULAR UPDATES AND PHOTOS OF YOUR VEHICLES RESTORATION PROGRESS.
I'm in a rush, can you work faster?
Our focus is doing the best possible job, not cutting corners and rushing jobs. Haste makes waste as they say. That being said our services are way, way faster than any comparable restorations that we're aware of in the states or elsewhere. Ask around, it's not uncommon for vehicles to languish at paint shops for 6 months or more! While we work as quickly as we can and understand that you miss your favorite car, we kindly ask that you try to bring your vehicle during a time that you are not in a rush to get it back. There are also things that sometimes come up that are out of our control, such as discovering parts need to be ordered, more damage than stated before drop-off, etc. In short, we're quick, but please be patient with us.
What's the best itinerary/route to take from San Diego/California
I recommend the following route, though it depends on how much time you have. From North to South: Cross at Mexicali, Stay the night in San Felipe, next day drive to Bahia de Los Angeles, then San Ignacio, then Mulege, then La Paz. Of course you could spend as much as a month or more driving down, or as quick as two days. Skip driving through Tijuana if possible, the Mexicali route is much nicer and safer.