You are correct on it wasn't done properly when I had it painted pearl white 20 years ago. I was a lot younger and didn't know anything at that time. At that time the whole paint job cost me $2000. I'm not expecting a $12K paint job for $5K. It's not a low mileage car that has never been in a wreck. It's a 200K mileage car that was wrecked and is not nor will ever be perfect. My goal is just to repair the rust on the pillars, remove everything and paint it for around the price they quoted me after inspecting it. Time will tell how it works out for me.Without seeing that car in person (I'm in DFW area by the way, not sure where in TX you are) it looks like a decent paint job for that price.... but you can clearly tell it wasn't done "properly" for a color change. The engine bay wasn't painted, the hood, doors, fenders, and bumpers were painted all on the car when they should have been removed and painted on their own, as well as full jambs, trunk, etc.
That said, there's no way you're getting that level of quality out of the paint job for $5500 or less, you'd have to double that price and THEN add on the rust fixes to get it done "right".
Now I'm not saying there's anything wrong with the way your friend's car got painted, it likely looks great in person, but just from the few photo's you posted I can tell you many short cuts were taken and in a couple of years there will be issues in the paint that show up in my personal opinion.
This is something I actually plan on letting them know, I have no problems sanding on the parts or car myself. I'd actually like to do it just to be part of the whole job. I'm not sure if they will allow me to though. Big shops in my area only want insurance jobs, it's the small shops that are willing to take these types of jobs because they can still fit in the small insurance jobs at the same time. I'm willing to work with them on the price if they ask about it. If they do not and still do a good job that I'm happy with then I will gladly give them a great tip showing my gratitude.Sanding ground effects is not difficult. If you want to save a little money, AND be able to keep an eye on the work they are doing offer to help sand the ground effects and whatever other little pieces that need sanding. From what I see, you are getting your money's worth. For everyone saying "Pick up the car" I say and then what? Find another shop? Yeah, maybe but they are not doing it for 5k. Most paint shops don't want to do this kind of work, they want insurance work. Where I live you can NOT find a shop that will paint a foxbody. I am lucky that I am friends with a shop owner who sprayed my coupe. I did all the prep work, and he simply sprayed it. I feel you are well within the price range for what you are having done. I have seen guys pay well over 1k just for door jam rust repair. It is a LOT of work.
Then pull the tank. But if this thing is ever being driven, I cannot see myself pulling the wipers, washer fluid or cruise control. My other main project came with single speed wipers and no bug juice. I finally found the NOS parts to change it to a two speed wiper and to add the juice.I don’t keep my wipers on the car.
Stand on it on with the tab hanging over the edge oh the drive or a 2X six and use a long pipe wrench.It’s both pieces but already took it all apart and straightened the long piece. Now just have to straighten the L bracket. My vice broke so trying to figure a different way.