While restoration is the more dramatic aspect of what we do, maintaining and preserving vintage vehicles has a glory and relevance all its own. Some owners may want to maintain their vehicles patina while addressing drivability, safety or aesthetics. Many other vehicles have been stored or maintained improperly over the years, leaving them with a multitude of issues that need to be addressed. Whatever plagues an old european car be it electrical, mechanical, fuel, brakes, air conditioning, everything CAN be fixed. We spend the time it takes to get to the bottom of every issue that our customers want addressed. This is meaningful to us because the vehicles that we repair continue to enjoy a positive relationship with their owners and perhaps enchant the next generation of car enthusiasts. Together we are preserving history.
Restoration is at the heart of what we do. When we transform a rusty, tired old vehicle into a structurally, mechanically and aesthetically enviable specimen, we are doing what we love to do. It is often a long and complicated process so we document each stage of each restoration with thousands of photos and videos. Some of these photos are available for viewing on our website, the full documentation becomes part of the vehicles history. The photographic documentation also gives our customers a visual connection to their project as well as providing the transparency that we feel is integral to the relationship between the owner and the craftspeople involved in their project.
One of the most exciting aspects of mechanical restoration for us is rebuilding damaged or worn engines and transmissions. For each engine restoration we remove, catalogue and re-plate all of the original hardware. We approach each engine rebuild with the precision of a heart surgeon and the passion of an artist.
All of our wood restoration is expertly handled by David's father Gerardo Michele, who lives in Manchester, Connecticut. Gerardo apprenticed under his father in Italy until he moved to Connecticut, where he has worked as a cabinet maker for nearly 40 years. A true perfectionist, his work is as beautiful as it is rare. Most wood trim pieces are covered with a paper thin veneer which requires an extremely delicate touch to properly restore, and in other cases, a skilled craftsman to replace.
We handle complete interior restorations ranging from custom leather, vinyl or cloth upholstery to dash repair, new carpet sets, seatbelt modifications, headliner, and more.
Our Celette frame rack is the starting point for addressing a frame that is not properly aligned. With the mighty Celette we are able to correct frame damage caused by a collision or other issues caused by age. During a larger project correcting the frame to square is of vital importance, it allows for proper fitment and alignment of every panel, door, hood and accessory.
We always completely remove rust damaged metal and replace it with galvanized 16 gauge sheet metal. When a vehicle is undergoing a full restoration paint is removed from every surface of the car, the damaged metal is replaced with new body panels or expertly crafted metal patches. For smaller repairs the same process is used but in a localized area.
Refinishing is the often overlooked and vitally important stage between metalwork and paint which requires patience, sanding and a very fine touch. We use Glasurit 90 line epoxy primer and high build primer to transform bare metal into a perfectly smooth surface that is ready for paint. We also seal every weld seam with 3M epoxy sealer to both waterproof the chassis and create a more fluid transition between panels.
We exclusively use Glasurit 90 LIne paint. Glasurit is a premium brand that was used on most european vehicles when they were built and is generally regarded as the best brand available today. Painting involves much more than just spraying, there is masking, unmasking, buffing, and the extensive task of painting all the hardware that came with the vehicle.
We have the ability to silver plate plastic interior pieces in house with our Cosmichrome silver plating system. Larger, exterior, or metal items are sent out to a local company for chrome plating. We use another local company to gold zinc, silver zinc and black oxide plate all of our hardware.