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Around the shop or on the road meeting new clients and checking out the latest trends in the old car hobby.


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By drronaldf20719687, Mar 29 2019 10:08PM

Ahh, Spring is finally getting going and I know if you have an old car, you are itching to get it out for a drive.

Cars have changed quite a bit over the last 30 years. In high school and college, I was driving my ’63 Impala. Every Fall, I would change the spark plugs, new cap, rotor, points and condenser. Set the timing, adjust the carburetor, flush the radiator and fill with new coolant. Clean the battery connections and of course, a lube/oil/filter change. Just to make sure it would make it through the winter!

Then in the Spring, re-set the timing, adjust the carb, lube, oil, filter,…..

This was an annual ritual.

Looking back another 50 years, cars came with oil cans mounted on the firewall. You had to oil the generator, water pump, rockers, etc… before driving it!

Now, I currently have a 01 Tahoe with 305,000 miles. I’ve changed the spark plugs once in the 15 years I’ve owned it.

Today’s car owners do not know what it was like to drive the older cars. We couldn’t just jump in and drive it without regular maintenance. Cars today tell you to put air in your tires, and which one! Oil level, coolant level, even the windshield wash level is monitored and if low, a warning light pops on. In the old cars, the only warning for neglect was a break down.

This is something to consider if you are interested in owning or driving an older car. There will be a lot more maintenance required. So be prepared to spend some time and money on a very regular basis to keep it running and reliable. But hey, that’s part of fun of owning a Classic.

By drronaldf20719687, Mar 21 2018 10:52PM

One of the really neat aspects of the auto restoration business, is talking with customers and getting the history behind their car.

Original owners, young married couples buy a car and fix it up years later, a car or truck that has been in the family for years,….

The look in the owner’s eyes as he/she tells the story of when they bought the car brand new, you can feel the excitement all over. Or, when you hear about learning to drive in dad’s old truck, and now they want to restore it so their kids can do the same.

We get the sad stories too. The couple who bought a car and one of the spouses passes before they can fix it up, but still want it done in their memory.

Automobiles, to some, are nothing more than a means to get from point A to point B. While others, their car or truck is a part of the family with the same emotional strings.

It is a great feeling to bring the old memories back and restore their dream. Most of the cars we do are for people like this. They want a piece of the old life back.

Unfortunately, there are times when we cannot bring the car back. Too much rust and deterioration would make the restoration way too costly. It is very difficult sometimes to talk someone out of spending $20, 30, 50,000 on restoring a car that in A1 condition is worth maybe $10,000.

The real question becomes, how much is the enjoyment of driving the old car again worth? For some, that justifies the expense.

As I have posted before, if you plan to keep and enjoy the car, then by all means consider the restoration (keep it in your budget). But if you are looking to sell/flip the car, then leave it as is. You will never recover the amount spent to restore on a quick sale.

1968 Chevelle Rstored Dream
1968 Chevelle Rstored Dream

By drronaldf20719687, Jun 23 2017 06:36PM

One of the issues we run into way too often, people get taken when buying a classic/collector car. Hidden rust, shoddy repairs, “Dupont” engine rebuilds, and a host of other issues. Unfortunately we end up being the ones to break the bad news that the “Restored” car the buyer paid top dollar for is junk or unsafe to drive.

The classic car hobby is alive and well. Trends are changing from show cars to drivers. Buyers are looking for a cool muscle car or hot rod to drive on the weekends and have fun with it. Maybe finding a car they really liked as a kid. Beware, unscrupulous sellers are counting on the emotions involved in buying a long, sought after car.

Cosmetic repairs, body fill over rust, quick paint of the frame and suspension to hide the rust through. Paint the engine and change the oil “Dupont” Rebuild. A little stop leak and they are ready to sell.

These sellers look at the TV auctions and the prices paid and claim to be giving you a deal. “This car sold on TV for $45,000, but it’s a steal for you at only $38,000.” Knowing it will take $20,000+ to get it into the same condition as that one that sold on TV.

We have experience in buying and evaluating classic cars. We offer this experience to you.

If you are in the market, let us know. We would be more than happy to check it out for you. We know what to look for and where to look. We can give you a very accurate price range for the actual condition of the car. Give us a call. For a small fee, you can be more confident you got what you paid for and not get taken.

And, if you are looking to sell, we can go through the car and “Certify” its actual condition. Give the prospective buyer a little assurance, and get a better price.

Poor Rust Repair
Poor Rust Repair
Hidden Rust
Hidden Rust
"Rebuilt" Engine
"Rebuilt" Engine

By drronaldf20719687, Jan 18 2017 05:32PM

Winter time in Wisconsin means the cool cars are put away or are getting built. Needless to say, we have been very busy building some very cool cars this winter. 66 Lincoln, 79 Mercedes, 71 Nova, 55 Chevy Pick Up, 72 GMC, 66 GTO…..

With restoration, while the mechanical part is very important for performance and safety, it is the paint that gets the most attention.

Long gone are the days of the $39.99 Earl Schiebe paint jobs. A typical paint job without having to do rust repair easily can run $4-8000 for a basic driver quality. Higher end jobs can go $6-10,000 and top show quality can run $15,000+. Why?

Material costs, environmental regulations, sanding/masking/cleaning supplies, insurance and of course, labor. A basic paint job includes; removing trim, bumpers, etc… Removing the existing finish, filling or metal working imperfection, priming, block sanding, more primer, more sanding, sealing and then the color goes on followed by a clear coat. Then you have to put all the trim back on. Throw in a rust spot or previously repaired panel, and you have several more hours and materials tossed in.

Don’t forget, you have to re-mask at each stage!

Now that the paint is on and dry, it needs to be wet sanded (cut) and polished. Depending on the desired quality, this can be very labor intensive.

Most paint is well over $150 per gallon. Reds can run over $300 a gallon. Want a metallic, pearl or candy? Now you have doubled the paint cost.

The days of shooting a couple coats of lacquer in your buddy’s garage are long gone.

Be sure to keep this in mind when deciding on building a project car. You can save some money by doing some of the mechanical on your own. But when it comes to paint and body work, many shops will not want to work on previous repairs. We cannot guarantee paint unless we start with bare metal. Reason being, many paint brands are not compatible. Did you use a rattle can of lacquer primer?

Unfortunately, the only real way to save money on a paint job is to have a very clean and straight car to start with. So, if you have rust, dents or other damage, expect to pay for those repairs.

If you have any questions or comments, please leave below, Thanks!

66 GTO bad previoius body work
66 GTO bad previoius body work
Prep work
Prep work
1966 Lincoln jambed
1966 Lincoln jambed
1966 Lincoln fresh paint
1966 Lincoln fresh paint
1966 Lincoln Continental final assembly
1966 Lincoln Continental final assembly

By drronaldf20719687, Sep 29 2016 06:06PM

In one of my earlier posts, I described how we used modern technology to make a part for an older car. We used 3D printing to make an obsolete part.

One part of restoring older cars is dealing with chromed plastic trim and other parts. Until recently, the only way to somewhat duplicate the chrome was to use paint. Needless to say, the results were less than satisfactory. There was no way to get the deep shine of chrome with a spray can.

Early this year, I was watching an episode of Counting Cars. A reality show about a Las Vegas Customizing shop. In this episode, the painter was showing the owner a new “Chroming Process” using a spray on product. He went about applying the product and it quickly developed a beautiful, deep chrome finish. The owner was very impressed. So was I.

I began to do some research on this process called Hydro-Chroming. I found that not only can you do metal parts, but plastic, fiberglass, glass, concrete, and even wood. This would be perfect for all those arm rests, dash bezels and other interior (and exterior) trim parts.

We are now the only Authorized shop in North East Wisconsin to apply Future Chrome.

We can do the plastic trim, wheels, bumpers, light housings, or custom chrome any part for cars, trucks and even motorcycles. I have even seen motorcycle helmets get the chrome treatment!

For fun I plan to do my tablet back cover.

We can also do colored chrome finishes including; black, red, blue, green, yellow (gold), purple and many others. We can also do Candy finishes as well.

So, if you have old plastic parts needing new chrome, trim, bumpers or anything else chromed, give us a call! (920) 279-5521 local or (855) 490-1916 toll free.

To see some videos on the process and for more information, please visit Future Chrome

Original Painted Mirror to be Chromed
Original Painted Mirror to be Chromed
Chromed Mirrors
Chromed Mirrors
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