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I am a new guy in Mississippi. I am a retired guy that has started a second career in the classic car restoration business. I built a shop behind my house in 2006/07. I never had any thoughts of doing restoration work but built the 1700' shop to house and work on some vehicles that I owned. At the time this included a '69 Camaro that I had restored for myself in another garage. The next thing you know I am neck deep in the car restoration business. i moved 10/2019 to a 8500' shop in Ridgeland, Ms. I have 3 full time guys and some part time help and we are busy. We have a '68 Camaro convertible here that we are working on and I might need some advice on that vehicle. In any case I know this is a good site and I look forward to participating in the site. Thanks,
Mike Martin
 

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Welcome to the site Mike. We are always interested in pictures of your car.

Roger
 

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Thanks for the welcome. I put some photos of the '68 that we are going to sell on the 'What's It worth" forum. I'll get some photos of the shop when I am down there.
 

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Mike,

Welcome, I am a new member as well. I am about to retire and not quite sure what to do in my retirement.

I am leaning towards doing restoration work, just like you have done. Over the years I have acquired many, but not all, of the skills needed to do restorations. I can do bodywork, including sheet metal replacement such a quarter panels and fiberglass. I worked in a body shop as a second job for a couple of years. I can paint, do mechanical work, engine rebuilds, and electrical. I am very meticulous and tend to be a bit of a perfectionist.

I have a 900 sqft garage and I have a lot of tools but they are not commercial grade and would not stand up to everyday use. So, could you give some ideas on how to get going based on how you got started in this business? You can send me a private message if you feel that it is not appropriate to post a response here in the forum.

I think that I could be pretty good at restoration work because when I worked at the body shop, I did a lot, actually most, of the restoration work and received many compliments from customers with the finished product. I did mid-60's Corvettes, a 72 Dodge Duster 340, a 1969 TransAM, a 1966 Chevelle SS 396, a 70 Monte Carlo SS, a 72 Monte Carlo, 1970 Chevy Pickup. Most of these restorations required extensive bodywork, electrical, suspension work, dash restoration, upholstery (this was farmed-out), and lots of NOS and reproduction parts.

One of my goals is to accumulate enough profit to cover the cost of restoring my 1969 Z28, which unfortunately has been sitting in the garage for the last 40 years and hasn't run for a least 35 of those years. When I bought the car in 1978 the only thing that was done to the car was some minor bodywork and new paint. But I found out later, after decoding the cowl tag, that the car was repainted with the wrong color stripes and the vinyl top was removed and not replaced. Everything else on this car is bone stock except for headers and the exhaust system. I was able to contact the first and second owners of the car to discover it's history. Nothing exciting, just a daily driver.

Forgive me for the long, but I am starting to get serious about cars again.

Dave
 

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Mike,

Welcome, I am a new member as well. I am about to retire and not quite sure what to do in my retirement.

I am leaning towards doing restoration work, just like you have done. Over the years I have acquired many, but not all, of the skills needed to do restorations. I can do bodywork, including sheet metal replacement such a quarter panels and fiberglass. I worked in a body shop as a second job for a couple of years. I can paint, do mechanical work, engine rebuilds, and electrical. I am very meticulous and tend to be a bit of a perfectionist.

I have a 900 sqft garage and I have a lot of tools but they are not commercial grade and would not stand up to everyday use. So, could you give some ideas on how to get going based on how you got started in this business? You can send me a private message if you feel that it is not appropriate to post a response here in the forum.

I think that I could be pretty good at restoration work because when I worked at the body shop, I did a lot, actually most, of the restoration work and received many compliments from customers with the finished product. I did mid-60's Corvettes, a 72 Dodge Duster 340, a 1969 TransAM, a 1966 Chevelle SS 396, a 70 Monte Carlo SS, a 72 Monte Carlo, 1970 Chevy Pickup. Most of these restorations required extensive bodywork, electrical, suspension work, dash restoration, upholstery (this was farmed-out), and lots of NOS and reproduction parts.

One of my goals is to accumulate enough profit to cover the cost of restoring my 1969 Z28, which unfortunately has been sitting in the garage for the last 40 years and hasn't run for a least 35 of those years. When I bought the car in 1978 the only thing that was done to the car was some minor bodywork and new paint. But I found out later, after decoding the cowl tag, that the car was repainted with the wrong color stripes and the vinyl top was removed and not replaced. Everything else on this car is bone stock except for headers and the exhaust system. I was able to contact the first and second owners of the car to discover it's history. Nothing exciting, just a daily driver.

Forgive me for the long, but I am starting to get serious about cars again.

Dave
Dave: My story is that i had a general insurance biz started in '73 and sold to a Nat Broker in '98. I stuck around for 3 years and was able to get out in '01. I had some old classic cars and being raised in the '60's always had a big interest in those cars. I added a nice 1750' shop addition to my home in '07 to work on my own cars. I had gone 2 semesters to a local community college wanting to learn some paint/body skills (I was the oldest guy in the class by 30 years!) I had built a paint booth in the new garage. I was not even through when a guy asked if I could restore his friend's '61 Desoto. I told him I thought I could and just that fast I was in the classic car restoration biz. Growth was slow as I was not looking for any growth. But progress came and I now have 3 full time guys and 3 guys that help me in my hometown S of here. Having broken every zoning law in 3 States for 12 years I finally rented a nice 8500' shop where we moved in 10/19. I bought a commercial paint booth which is nice. We are working on a number of full restorations and a good bit of mechanical work, all on older cars. It is the same old deal: work hard,tell the truth, do good work for a fair price and the phone is going to ring. I have been very involved in the local car hobby and that has helped much. At age 70 I'm accelerating! My fine Mama told in about 1967 to "Get to work!" I am still working! It will be interesting to see what lays ahead.
 

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