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Old 02-09-2013, 12:16 PM
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Brian Martin,Freelance adviser
 
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Scanned some photos of my shop way back when, ahh good times.









I didn't have the money to buy an four post lift (remember, there're weren't the cheap buggers you can buy today, they were very expensive then) So I bought the pieces the car is sitting on from a gas station that closed, they are off of an in ground single post lift. I then made the rest. The long ramps were so you could get a very low car up for alignment.


The metal Flake deuce was on the front cover of Street Rodder Mag April 73 when it was in Hawaii with the Waikiki skyline behind it, long before I knew it existed. Sad thing is he pulled it apart and never got it back together. He is in a rest home now and it's still in a garage.








Before.


After


Before.



After in Rodders Journal #32. This is my fathers truck that I drove in highschool, I was so happy to see my brother able to "restore" it and keep it. I didn't do much of the work as seen in the mag, I had closed my shop and was working for someone and gave up any side work projects like that, just don't have the time anymore. I did some of the work where I was working but we were too booked to take in the whole project. My brother just couldn't wait he brought it to a "friend's" shop and the guy not only raked him over the coals on cost he did a horrible job and my brother actually gets ticked off every time he looks at it.


I did a lot of custom work at the onset of the mini truck craze. It was a lot of fun.





Before the mini truck craze was the VW craze, did TONS of work on those cars. Chopped tops, suicide doors, filled about a million side moulding holes. filled so many exhaust cutouts and front horn grilles and park lamp holes I had metal templates hanging on the wall.











My son (now 30) working hard.
Before.


After



What would become my sister-in-laws summer daily driver still to this day.


I did a number of bikes, restoring vintage ones and even making some "hot rods" out of vintage 26" bikes with modern braking and gears and such.


Before.


After


I had a lot of fun.





When I think back now of course all the hard times working until 1 am to get something done so I could pay the rent and stuff like that is largely forgotten. It was some real good times I am awefully glad I was a part of. The building the shop was in a older industrial building. This shot was taken from a little Cessna 150 owned and flown by a guy that worked in the muffler shop next to me. This guy by the way is a MASTER at detail and quality. He is an airline pilot now and does a car once in a while at his house, STUNNING detail, and he rebuilt his home with the same detail. We all know how a house is pretty far off the kind of perfection you see in a show car, this guys house is damn close to what you see in that show car, it is wild with perfection.


The building was managed by a woman who retired when they knocked the building down, she was 93 and had worked for this family as her only job since she was 17! They didn't let anyone come in the building that would be competition to any tenants. So there was no BS, a muffler shop, a body shop, a European auto specialist, my brothers mechanical shop, a machine shop, a camper repair, a transmission shop, and a printer. It was a darn cool place, it is all gone, the entire property including the lot behind and in front of the shop is now covered in apartments.

I sure have some great memories that is for sure. And yes I was an "Import specialist" doing a lot of Japanese collision repair, didn't think those photos would be of interest so I didn't post them. Wish I had some of a few of them though. Did a 71 510 Datsun with a SSS motor and added box flares, it was a very cool little hot rod.

Brian

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Old 02-09-2013, 12:26 PM
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WOW, That is some top work you ol' rocker !!! still have the guitars or that harley, any of the trucks or car. Just nice stuff my friend !!!
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Old 02-09-2013, 12:38 PM
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I have the guitars and my 15 year old started playing them about two weeks ago and he is blowing me away! He is TRUELY talented not like me who just beats on them. Notice the hangers for the guitars on the walls, I made them and they were painted to match the guitar that hung on them, that is of course until you get different guitars and don't repaint them. They are not out in my garage and make perfect gravity feed paint gun hangers! LOL Notice no computer, and the check imprinter on the left of the desk. Also the signed photos of Garth Brooks and Marty Stuart, I went to a LOT of country concerts back then seeing Garth a couple of times in very small venues before he hit it big.

I thank you very much for the kind words, I know one thing, I had some great times in that whole experience of the shop.

Brian
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Old 02-09-2013, 12:59 PM
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Brian, thank you for sharing these pictures. Very cool to see some stuff from someone's past that leads an interesting life. You can tell you had a lot of fun!
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Old 02-09-2013, 01:21 PM
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Yeah, just a chapter you know what I mean? I am very thankful for everything I have in my life and that time was just one of them. The best part was I met my wife in that office, well not the one pictured as that was my second office. I had a 1600 square foot shop when I opened, the smallest shop in the building. Then when a larger 2400 square foot one opened up I moved down to that one. I met my wife in the old office. We went and had my son take a photo of us standing in front of the office door back a few years ago before they knocked down the building.

Here is the fridge I had in the waiting room, a little time and some pink paint and it sold a lot of women customers on leaving their car for repairs.
To the left is the front of one of my "hot rod" bikes, a 1939 Columbia with 12 speeds and "modern" (for the eighties) roller bearing drum brakes! This particular bike was actually sold thru GoodYear tire stores and has the original "Hiway patrol" badge on the front.



And another shot of the chopped bug, I didn't do these suicide doors, did some but not these. I chopped this bug from start to finish, in primer, in one long day, about 10 hours. Believe it or not you don't even have to cut the C pillar, you remove the A and B and simply push down on the roof bending the C pillars! I couldn't believe my eyes when I did this.



And lunch about three times a week at a local joint that had been open since the thirties that is now gone too, lots of change around here. Not real fond of it, I'll tell you that.

Brian
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Old 02-09-2013, 01:33 PM
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Brian, I too enjoyed the pictures and history. Cool to see your chopped PU outfront. Can't wait to start seeing the updates as you bring her back to life.

John
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Old 02-09-2013, 01:36 PM
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Brian, I too enjoyed the pictures and history. Cool to see your chopped PU outfront. Can't wait to start seeing the updates as you bring her back to life.

John
Soon, John, soon. (insert fingers crossed smilie)

Brian
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Old 02-09-2013, 02:45 PM
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Thanks for the photos i enoyed looking at some of your work as others stated ,some hard to find an Expensive ones if you had to buy one today ,Now the pedal car I think a Pontiac would be high, it would be hard to pick a favorite Baby bird BB vette ,shelby ?,is the HD flathead the one Mike on American Pickers bought on his tv show ,I am building an 53 chevy p/u now hope mine comes out even close to yours Nice Work. You mentioned 1600 sq ft shop thats all i have now.
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Old 02-09-2013, 03:00 PM
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The Harley is a 48ish 45 flathead and was a very nice bike when done. That Shelby, that is a HUGE dollar car now, he paid $15k for it then. It's a big block with a "Drag pack" and four speed. It had all original paint on it when I got it and if we had any idea how valuable those cars would become we have left it alone.

Brian
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Old 02-09-2013, 08:10 PM
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Man that brings back memories!!! Thanks for sharing. My shop of '86 to '90 had the same kinds of cars in it... and also great memories! Just another thing we have in common! It makes me realize others enjoyed a similar "fate". :-)~ I wouldn't trade anything for those times!
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Old 02-10-2013, 08:34 AM
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WOW! The pictures are amazing! Thank you for posting them.
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Old 02-10-2013, 10:26 AM
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Man that brings back memories!!! Thanks for sharing. My shop of '86 to '90 had the same kinds of cars in it... and also great memories! Just another thing we have in common! It makes me realize others enjoyed a similar "fate". :-)~ I wouldn't trade anything for those times!
I'm not kidding Jay, those 13 years were a treasure. Often they were hell, but what an education, what a treasure. I opened it with $800, no kidding. I stayed open for and made money all that time, just not enough money.

But being the only bread winner in the household most of that time it was tough. With paying the going rent on the shop, all the insurance including "completed operations" and stand alone phone and yellow page ad and permits and all that jazz, it was tough, and I still made a decent living most of the time. The Iraq war in 91 really kicked my butt, the economy was in the tank and it hit me hard. But met a lot of wonderful people as customers and venders at dealerships and what not. Just saw one of them out of the blue the other day, I had worked with this guy all the years I was open at a local very small Toyota dealership that was bought out by a giant of course came walking into the office and it was real nice seeing him. Yeah, darn tootin those were some good times.

Brian
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Old 02-10-2013, 10:31 AM
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import specialist, shop full of American hot rods.. best import shop I've seen..
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Old 02-10-2013, 11:17 AM
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I'm not kidding Jay, those 13 years were a treasure. Often they were hell, but what an education, what a treasure. I opened it with $800, no kidding. I stayed open for and made money all that time, just not enough money.

But being the only bread winner in the household most of that time it was tough. With paying the going rent on the shop, all the insurance including "completed operations" and stand alone phone and yellow page ad and permits and all that jazz, it was tough, and I still made a decent living most of the time. The Iraq war in 91 really kicked my butt, the economy was in the tank and it hit me hard. But met a lot of wonderful people as customers and venders at dealerships and what not. Just saw one of them out of the blue the other day, I had worked with this guy all the years I was open at a local very small Toyota dealership that was bought out by a giant of course came walking into the office and it was real nice seeing him. Yeah, darn tootin those were some good times.

Brian
My own experience was also rewarding... but more in the sense of taking the total responsibility of my income. Up until that point, it had always been "extra money".

I bought the property, so It was all on the table. I learned some valuable lessons...

I listened too much to some of my "career paint and body guys", instead of listening to my gut.

The Corvette market was exploding, so the last couple years I put most of my trust in that one market, and filled the shop with Corvette work. Unfortunately, the market was "artificially inflated"... and when it collapsed, if was devastating! (Today I diversify... always!)

Lastly, I thought my first wife (of 18 years) was behind me all of the way. When things got tight financially, she asked me to leave... filed for divorce... and added to my crumbling finances. The lesson? Marry a person of character! ...which I finally have now... and for always!

What I also learned was that I wanted to be "hands-on"... hence a smaller business today, which also survives slow economies better, and allows me to be an artist/painter, instead of babysitting people who are not as committed to the craft.

Sometimes you have to have painful experiences to remember the lessons for life! :-)

Here are a few pictures. Hope you don't mind me invading your thread. {:-)
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Old 02-10-2013, 11:19 AM
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import specialist, shop full of American hot rods.. best import shop I've seen..
Yeah, like I said I did do most of my living was repairing late model Japanese cars and the hot rod stuff was kinda like a musician who makes his real living in some mundane job and a few bucks extra on weekends playing music.

Brian
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