Elizabeth Avenue garage
After a while, Manny decided to quit working part time in the shop, and concentrate on his full time career. So I took over the garage on Elizabeth Ave. I had enough contacts and customers to try and make it work, if only part time, while I worked at Exxon Research and Engineering. It was a good start and I spent a few years building cars there.
Bill McDonnell. Bill purchased a very nicely restored Merc, but had a passion for customs. He also had great ideas for the modifications. I narrowed a 63 T Bird bumper to fit, added a Corvette grill, and frenched the headlights, shaved everything, scooped the hood, and frenched 55 Chrysler tail lights. Bill wanted the deepest black out there, and I shot it in R-M Double Deep Black nitrocellulose lacquer.
Lefty Rappetti. Lefty has owned this since 63. A minor accident sent the 58 into the body shop, but they couldn't match the paint, so it was scheduled for a customizing, and full paint. But the shop kept putting it off, and it went to another shop. They dropped the ball as well, so Lefty brought it to me. At that point, it was so bad, I told him to junk it. He insisted, and we struggled through the build. It came out great!
The rear view of Bill's Merc, with those gorgeous Chrysler tail lights.
Andy hung around John P's shop a lot, but when John closed up, he brought his car to me to paint. Beautiful blue color, and 80's heartbeat graphics.
1969 Camaro Pace Car
Rusty Damm. Russ was another old customer of John's, but brought me his 69 to do the body and paint when John closed. Lots of NOS panels and trim, and lacquer paint, to be authentic. Rusty kept hanging around the shop and eventually became my best friend, and almost partner in my next shop.
1969 Merc Cyclone
Billy Roloff was another inheritance from John's shop. John had done all the bodywork on the Cyclone, but never got around to paint. So I finished it up in stock Inca blue, with Pearl blue and purple graphics. I had also did the flame design and masking on a 73 Ford wagon Bill had John customize.
1970 Buick Skylark
My great friend, Herb Barry, worked with me at Exxon. He had owned this car for many years, keeping it running perfectly, but body wise just deteriorating. It was so bad, when he passed NJ inspection, the other guys told him that they just gave him the sticker because they felt sorry for him! So we took it in, stripped it, new quarters, patch panels, and a lot of coats of Candy Brandywine paint. Made our co-workers eat crow.
1980 Buick Regal
I built this Regal for a daily driver. Shaved, GN hood and ground effects package made it unique. I shot it in 57 Chevy Tropical Turquoise paint, with IROC wheels, and a done up 68 Chevy 327 engine, and GN rear. It wore the 80's monochromatic look so popular.
Restoration on this old MG for Ken Koenig, another Exxon employee.