Like most Phoenix-area residents, I am from somewhere else. Someone north, east, and cold. I am from Erie, Pennsylvania. And when asked how I wound up here I have a simple answer: my ’39 Chevy needed the dryer climate. While mostly a lighthearted joke, there is some truth to it. I have driven that car across the country six times and I could have settled down just about anywhere, but I’m darn glad I chose Arizona, as is the undercarriage of my vintage cars.
Leaving Pennsylvania was not easy. I come from a long line of car guys back there, starting with my dad. He owned a custom body shop – as did my two uncles – and I saw some amazing work there over the years. I started sweeping floors and hammering out fenders there, on the weekends, at age seven. Humble, non-glamorous beginings but work that I looked forward to all week long. I’ll never forget watching my dad restore his Model A or his ’56 Chevy, both, classic, simple, and cool.
Sundays were spent down at the local drag strip, owned and run by my uncle. As soon as I could safely (if not legally) get behind a wheel I was racing there. I was there when local legends were born, and I was there on a few sad occasions, when their cars were left in twisted wreckage.
While I was raised around the shop, I didn’t “turn pro” until 1983. That’s when I collected my first payment and decided this was my career. I then headed west, bringing with me the hard-working spirit of the family business. That spirit was my guide as I ran high profile shops in Tucson and Phoenix. And that spirit is what I draw from now with my own shop.
To sum it all up, I was brought up around this stuff. I saw “it” happen. I saw the classic car era come to life. I saw true, first generation hot rods being created in home garages. Heck, I took part. And while the times have changed, many of the great cars still remain. And I’d like to do what I can to help keep those cars going. It’s what I grew up and around, it’s what I love. And that’s why I – we – do what we do here at Vintage Auto Repair.