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Thank you for helping me fulfill my dream of resurrecting my car.
I purchased my 1969 Charger new in August, 1969. It was my first car and after listening to old timers tell me, "My first car was a 19XX car and I should have never sold it", I decided early on that I wouldn't sell it.
Although, in 1983 I was really tempted since I hadn't put many miles on it and the interior was in pretty rough shape. Some high school kid was after me, relentlessly, to buy it. One afternoon, I had my four year-old tow headed son strapped in for a ride and punched it coming away from a stop sign. The rumble of the exhaust, the squeal of the tires, being pushed back into the seat, he looked up at me and smiled and said, "NICE!". That sealed the deal, I didn't sell.
Fast forward to 2004, after the car sat in my garage in pieces for over 20 years, I finally convinced myself that with my job, long hours and travel, I would never be able to complete the restoration myself. Having read the usual MoPar magazines, MoPar Muscle and MoPar Action and seeing several Tech Articles courtesy of Muscle Car Restorations in them, I contacted them and was invited up. On the way to a family reunion in Wisconsin, I stopped and visited their site. After being taken on a tour of the facilities, I was very impressed with the professionalism of the staff, the extreme cleanliness of the shop areas, and the beautiful cars that were there, that they were finishing up and getting ready to deliver.
I was ready to turn my car over to them, but they didn't have any place to put it and were in the process of building a new storage facility. I was told at the time that when they had room for the car they would give me a call. That call came nine months later and I delivered my car. I was almost embarrassed at the shape of the car was in, but was relieved when I was told that the car was actually in very good shape as compared to a lot of the cars they get in. I sat down with the staff and went through what I would like to see in a finished product. They then gave me my homework, a "Vehicle Information Survey" that needed to be filled out and sent back. This survey contained every little detail a person could think of in the reconstruction of the ear. This was completed and mailed.
Several months later I got a call from you, John. I was in meetings at a distant location, but we got together on the phone and spent a couple of hours going through that survey, page by page. This was very helpful to me, since with your experience and knowledge of MoPars, you were able to steer me in the right direction on a few of the things I originally thought I wanted to do, but you had better ideas and were able to substantiate them. When I got off the phone, I told him I wanted the car delivered in time for my 40th High School reunion, which ironically, was also the 40th birthday of the Charger. As dismantling and re-construction took place, I was given weekly phone call updates on what was happening and numerous e-mails in between. I was also given a website to go to where they'd post pictures of the reconstruction. When new pictures were taken, I'd get an e-mail that they were available.
The car was complete and Muscle Car Restorations wanted to take it to show at the MoPar Nationals. I was able to go down and spend 3-days with the crew from Muscle Car Restorations in Columbus, Ohio and witnessed as people would stop by and drool over the finished product. Back in Wisconsin, they were ready to load the car up to deliver in time for my high school reunion when I got a call from John one evening that it appeared there were some small, almost imperceptible bubbles in the vinyl top and, before he delivered it, he wanted to take a look at them during the day and have his vinyl top technicians look at it. This I believe is a testimony to the quality of work completed by MCR. As it turned out, in the shadows of the evening before, the bubbles turned out to be nothing in the light of day.
This, of course, delayed the delivery as the trucker had moved on. It appeared that it would not be delivered in time. John then had one of his people hitch up the trailer, load up the car and drive all night to eliver the car to me at 7:15 AM the day of my reunion. The car was a big hit for all my classmates to see, many of whom harassed me during the past about, "when you gonna fix up that car?".
At a recent car show it drew many positive comments from experienced re-builders about the detail in the engine compartment and the clean lines of the under carriage. Barret Jackson quality as on individual stated.
I was very happy with the way the car turned out, even better than new. In June, South Dakota is celebrating the 100th anniversary of the building of our Capitol building. The Governor is having a car show and wants to have a car from each year at the show. Its been requested that my car represent 1969 even though there are a lot of sharp Mustangs, Chevelles, Road Runners, and GTOS from that era around.
Thank you for helping me fulfill my dream of resurrecting my car.
MCR took it from something that I thought would haunt me for a long time into something I love to drive! Thank you to all the hard-working people at MCR.
Yes, I'm that guy...buys cars online. Numbers matching, he says, pictures are real he says, sends me a video..."wow" I say and buy the car. Nothing he said is true. So now what? I am going to make it a resto mod. But is this what I really want? I called MCR only to find out they were booked up a bit, but would come pick up my car from Pennsylvania. They told me the truth about everything and I thought, "wow this is different." Andy P. [Salesman] picked up my car and from the second I met him I knew he was one of us. MCR walked me through every aspect and told me the ideas that I had that made sense and which ones we could make even better. Thank you! I love my Trans-Am..... MCR took it from something that I thought would haunt me for a long time into something I love to drive! Thank you to all the hard-working people at MCR. You have gave me something I will be handing down to my son to enjoy... just not anytime soon.
I want to thank Tom and Dante for coming to my rescue!
I was impressed with the knowledge that both of you displayed. I was impressed with your flexibility in coming to our house to "get the job done." You are both very professional and customer focused, not to mention that you were both fun to talk with. Makes me feel good about starting to do business with you!
No surprises, no hidden agendas.
A complete restoration is a long and expensive undertaking, but the staff at MCR was right there every step of the way with updates, confirmations and suggestions. I'd just like to take this opportunity to express my gratitude to your entire staff for the craftsmanship and detail you displayed in renovating and rejuvenation of my "68" BelAir.
Truly, the thoroughness shown in your devotion to ensuring world-class workmanship is uncommon. A complete restoration is a long and expensive undertaking, but the staff at MCR was right there every step of the way with updates, confirmations and suggestions. No surprises No hidden agendas. Once I visited your website and viewed the pictures, I had to make an onsite visit. After an afternoon of watching true craftsman at work and seeing your one of a kind operation. I knew my choice would be vindicated. Sadly, the world will likely never again see an era of such high-performance automobiles as we did in the 1960's and 1970's. I find myself chuckling, and in the same instance shaking my head and feeling somewhat sad for today's young sports car enthusiasts. The beauty, the sound and the head-turning looks given by people on the street are more and more a thing of the past. Witnessing some of these young hot-rodders on the street today with their wannabe muscle cars, I find myself thinking...""boy, oh boy, if you only knew!"" But thanks to die-hards like you, die-hards who make it possible to relive those rare glimpses, the youthful memories, and that sound of a deep throaty, finely tuned V-81 that still will turn people's heads, the legends are allows to live on for another day. My relationship with this vehicle dates back nearly 40 years. I purchased the car in 1971, becoming the second owner. While owning this car I dated a gal that would subsequently become my wife. To this day, I'm still not clear as to whether it was me or the Bel Air that won her over
John and his team of craftspeople were a pleasure to work with through out the process. They always went the extra mile to do the job right and it shows in the result.
When the opportunity presented itself to buy the car of my dreams back in '98, I jumped at the chance. I right away realized that the car needed some serious attention. After discussing my project with a couple of restoration shop owners in my area and getting "turned down" because they felt the car wasn't worth it, I felt the need to locate someone that had a passion for old Mopars and would be up to the challenge.
About 5 years ago, I saw a Year One ad in Mopar Muscle that spoke of John and his passion and dedication to the restoration and preservation of classic cars. After doing a bit more research, I knew without a doubt that Musclecar Restorations would be up to the task. John and his team of craftspeople were a pleasure to work with through out the process. They always went the extra mile to do the job right and it shows in the result. The extent of work required to bring the car back was a bit more than I anticipated, but, John and his team were ALWAYS willing to work with me to do what it took to make it happen. To you and your staff, thank you for making my dream come true!
Beautiful!! Can't recommend MCR enough.
The MCR Team did an absolutely terrific job restoring my 1976 280Z. Throughout the process they provided hundreds of pictures which clearly documented the restoration process. Every Friday the pictures would arrive....it was always so exciting to open up the folder and see my car come to life. I have brought the car to a few local car shows. I always get tremendous compliments on the engine restoration, the interior, as well as the finish. Beautiful!! Can't recommend MCR enough.
The fit and finish of the MCR Coupe was outstanding, and the attention to detail is in a class of its own.
The Type 65 Coupe that Muscle Car Restorations built for us has been one of the most impressive, reliable, and durable shop built cars we have ever had on our showroom floor.
The fit and finish of the MCR Coupe was outstanding, and the attention to detail is in a class of its own. This car has been used by David Smith as his personal coupe, on the street, strip and track, and it still runs and looks exactly the way that Muscle Car Restorations delivered it.
We have continually been amazed by John Balow and the MCR crew by the way that they surpass our expectations on every project., every step of the way.
The car looks, sounds, and smells beyond what I have imagined or dreamed of.
I am sure it will drive to the same level. Pictures do not do the car justice. Words cannot do it justice either. I can't wait to see it in the sunlight. The finished product shows what a high level of devotion, passion, and care you and your staff has for this rare craft.
I shared a story with your staff today. I have a customer that is a huge gun collector. He has some very nice and rare weapons. I have bought several hunting guns from him. Call the PR purchases. He has seen pictures of the car in restoration and frequently asks about progress. He was in yesterday and just flat out asked how much I had invested. I told him probably the same as he has in his gun collection. He was stunned and said I could get 3 cars for that. Well, I can only drive one at time and he can only shoot one gun at a time. Besides, there is only one like this Charger and nothing else I would rather drive. Of course the conversation steered towards, ""Could you sell it for what you have in it?"" He was shocked when I said, ""It doesn't matter."" I stated, ""I wouldn't take twice as much and don't know what number would cause me to give the car up. Barring a personal financial disaster that is."" Memories and dreams are priceless.
I think you have a great eye and an extraordinary talent that I am so happy was recognized this year.
It was great to meet you during the Car Craft Summer Nationals. As the host of the Hot Rod Power Tour, SEMA, Mopar Nationals and Car Craft I see a whole lot of cars and quite often get very close up looks at builds. Like I mentioned, I think you have a great eye and an extraordinary talent that I am so happy was recognized this year.
Top notch work. They made my dreams come true!
I brought a smashed up hunk of a GTX to MCR and now I have a beautiful Lime-light green 1970 GTX in my garage! Top notch work. They made my dreams come true! Thanks!!
I am still speechless when I look at the car, and the smile on my face is a permanent fixture.
When we first discussed the possibility of MCR handing the body and paintwork on our Project Valiant Effort, I never dreamed that the car would leave their shop in such INCREDIBLE shape. The quality of the work that the staff has bestowed upon our Valiant has far surpassed any and all expectations we had. Words cannot express how thrilled I am with the final results; it is a true testament to the talent of the crew at MCR. This is my first experience with a complete restoration of a car, and a more enjoyable experience could not have been had. I am still speechless when I look at the car.
The attention to detail and craftsmanship you put into your projects truly sets you apart from most builders.
Following this year’s SEMA show I was struck once again by the quality of your work. It is always a pleasure to see your latest efforts and this year was no exception. I see many nice vehicles because I am blessed to be in the Car magazine business, but the attention to detail and craftsmanship you put into your projects truly sets you apart from most builders.
Thank you for the gift of my dream that you and MCR gave to me.
Many people come into our lives and just as quickly move along and are never heard from again. I remember well my first meeting with John at his shop, which at that time only consisted of two buildings. John was very courteous, kind and knowledgeable in the areas of automotive restoration. After our first meeting I was sold that this was the person who could make my dream a reality.
For anyone reading this and not knowing me and my background would not fully understand or comprehend how big a dream this was for me. I am a disabled veteran, who is a ventilator dependent quadriplegic with no feeling or movement from my chin and on down. So realizing this, people ask why build a vehicle that I will never be able to operate? My answer: "Many things have been taken away from me, but not my childhood dream of owning an awesome car."
Most people would write about his quality of work, but I wish to tell about his personality and the people that he surrounds himself with. Besides, with the many trophies, awards, magazine articles, and even television appearances they speak for his work. I have learned through the many years of working with John, that you can trust his work, decisions, and his knowledgeable employees. I feel that I have a great friend in John that has evolved over the years. He has always made himself available for any question that I have had through this great process.
Thank you for the gift of my dream that you and MCR gave to me. Your hard work and friendship brightens my days, and it continues to brighten my heart and soul. Your thoughtfulness means so much to me.
I wasted a lot of money by allowing another so-called restoration shop to learn on my project.
I had read a number of articles about Muscle Car Restorations and John Balow. I contacted John and told him my predicament. He invited me over to tour his shops and view some current projects underway. He was sympathetic to my experience with the previous shop and specifically addressed my questions pertaining to various aspects of the restoration. He showed me the positives of his methods and why they would contribute to the value and longevity of my car. I was extremely impressed with the professionalism of John and his staff and the neatness and organization of his facilities.
I had the good fortune of growing up in a family that appreciated the automotive world and thus became infected at a young age with the love of Muscle Cars, specifically Mopar Muscle Cars. My uncle Bob (my Dad's brother) had ordered a brand new 1970 Dodge Charger R/T, and I remember him coming over to show my folks and give us a ride shortly after he had received it. My Dad's family had a very modest upbringing and had to work hard for everything they got, so this purchase was a huge accomplishment. He was so proud as was my Dad of this car and it was cool! It was Plum Crazy with a brilliant white interior and had the 440 Magnum under the hood, and it had power. This car served as my uncle's family car and over the years it was serviced by my dad, as he was a mechanic, thus he knew the car well. Time and teenage sons took a toll on this car and finally it was replaced, but they held on to it parking it out on the farm. My brother then purchased this car in about 1980. We drove it home, but it had a partially replaced front fender as the result of a driving mishap by my cousins. It had also been stripped to bare metal in an aborted restoration attempt. Since it had sat quite a while in this condition, the exterior had a heavy coat of rust. In about 1982, my brother and I disassembled the car as the first step in starting our attempt at restoring it. I tell you all of this to give you a feeling for the meaning of this car to our family, but also to tell you how tough this restoration would be.
This car sat disassembled in storage for a number of years while my brother and I went to school, started families, and developed our careers. Finally, in 1998 I purchased the car from my brother with the intent of completing the restoration. I took the car to a local Twin Cities establishment that promoted themselves as auto restoration experts. The project proceeded over a period of a year. I started getting bad vibes when every phase of the project took longer and cost more than estimated. They also continually looked to me for answers on the proper colors, sources for parts and other questions, all things an experienced restorer should know. It became apparent that they did not have experience in this process and that I was paying a lot of money for them to learn on my project. I finally reached a point where I put the brakes on the project shortly after the car was back in a roller stage. I politely told them that I was going to finish it myself and loaded up my car and parts and brought it home.
I was sold. I delivered the Charger to MCR and we began the process. The car was again totally disassembled and we started over. Throughout the experience, John was patient with my numerous questions and he kept me informed about the progress with photos, e-mails and phone calls. He always knew where to source his parts and would discuss with me the pros and cons of decisions to be made about keeping stock equipment or upgrading to new generation parts at appropriate junctures in the restoration. Most importantly, John understood the meaning of this project to me. At various times I would visit his shops to get first hand updates on my project sometimes bringing my son and nephews and sometimes bringing my dad and brother. Each time John would give them a tour of his facilities and ongoing projects, treating them just like customers even though many of our visits were after hours or on Saturdays. In the end and most importantly, the car turned out great! A great deal of sheet metal was replaced and many parts had to be sourced, but it is immaculate. On the day of pickup 12/11/03, I brought my dad and brother along (unfortunately my Uncle Bob has passed) as they are the toughest critics. John continued to acknowledge the meaning of this project to my family and impressed them with the results. I am very proud of this car and look forward to doing the whole process again with my first car of which I was fortunate enough to be able to repurchase. I wasted a lot of money by allowing another so-called restoration shop to learn on my project. I could go on and on, but ultimately the theme of this letter is to endorse whole-heartedly Muscle Car Restorations, John Balow and his staff of professionals.
Such quality is not cheap, nor is it quick to achieve, but boy is it worth it.
When selecting a restoration shop, you likely have a list of criteria that the shop must meet. Quality. Price. Time for completion. If quality is your number one criterion, look no further than Muscle Car Restorations (MCR).
The quality they put into their restorations cannot be overstated. Such quality is not cheap, nor is it quick to achieve, but boy is it worth it. The attention to detail that MCR puts into their work is second to none. MCR is also very transparent throughout the entire process. With the weekly communication they provide and the straight talk about what your restoration requires, you will never be left wondering what is happening with your restoration.
You guys are the best. The car gets AAAA from everyone moving or sitting still
People are asking me to pull over to look at the car. It took 45 minutes just to get out pf the parking lot at one of our favorite hamburger stops. You guys are the best. The car gets AAAA from everyone moving or sitting still Thank you and your whole staff. I am ready for the next dream.
If you want the job done right the first time, look no further that Muscle Car Restorations.
As the son of an Oldsmobile dealer and a long time Oldsmobile and General Motors owner, collector and restorer I can only give the highest praise to John Balow and Muscle Car Restorations. During the restoration of my 72 442 W-30 hardtop, John and his staff have listened to my suggestions, listened to my concerns and have done wonderful work on the car from day one. With John you get that personal touch on every project.
If you want the job done right the first time, look no further that Muscle Car Restorations. You can bet they will be doing my 70 442 W-30 convertible and my 72 Hurst Olds convertible when it's their turn for restoration.
MCR delivered a car that is not only new on the outside but also drives a good as any new car.
When I first talked to MCR, I said to them I wanted a brand new 1981 El Camino. MCR delivered a car that is not only new on the outside, but also drives a good as any new car. Now I drive a 2021 '1981' El Camino.
The end result of this restoration journey is a very high quality restored automobile, which from my perspective, is much better than new. I can honestly say that I was involved in all decisions during the life of the restoration.
When I was in High School, far too long ago to truly describe, I had a 1968 Plymouth Roadrunner, 383, 4 Speed. The car was simply unforgettable. When it came time to sell it, I promised myself that I would have another one, some day. That was 1971. As time passed, I got married, we bought a house, had kids and the dream of another Roadrunner was put on the back burner. As with all things, time passed and the kids grew up and the idea of owning another Road Runner started to edge its way back to reality. I started to look in earnest in 1993. I finally found a fairly rare, low production, numbers matching 1969 Road Runner convertible. The car needed a lot of work, but it was just the type I was targeting to buy. I got it home and with a small amount of work I got it running and was able to drive it from time to time. I knew all along that I was going to restore it and thought that I was going to be able to do that myself. Just as it was when we had the kids, the restoration process was put on the back burner due to job responsibilities and many outside activities. It became clear that if I were to restore this car myself, it would have to wait until I retired. I didn't want to wait that long.
I started evaluating restoration shops during late 1997 and into 1998. I included a number of critical categories in my evaluation. I looked at cost of course, but foremost I wanted to ensure that the restoration was of high quality. I also wanted to ensure that there would be strong, open communication and a good business relationship with the person doing the work.
As I did my evaluation, the one shop that consistently showed their commitment to quality and to ensuring that the owners were fully integrated into the restoration process was John Balow's Muscle Car Restorations. John spent a great deal of time with me during my evaluation process. He showed me around his shop, showed me a number of cars he was restoring and encouraged me to talk to a number of his customers before I made any decisions.
The selection process was made very simple; Muscle Car Restorations was hands above all the other shops I visited and reviewed. The rest is now history. John delivered my fully restored 1969 Plymouth Road Runner to my driveway in October of 2001.
The end result of this restoration journey is a very high quality restored automobile, which from my perspective, is much better then new. I can honestly say that I was involved in all decisions during the life of the restoration. Every month during the restoration I was sent a batch of pictures to show and track the progress of the restoration. I was encouraged to visit the shop on a regular basis to inspect the work and talk about various options. As John says the "Quality and craftsmanship is long remembered after the price is forgotten" and I can honestly say that I am more then satisfied in the outcome of this project, a project that we worked on together. I would recommend Muscle Car Restorations to anyone who is considering a high quality restoration.
The entire staff was easy to work with and accommodated any request for last minute changes or rework.
I purchased a 1970 AAR Cuda with the original numbers matching drive train, but it needed a restoration. I wanted the restoration done by a shop that knew Mopars and had a good reputation, so I selected MCR. My initial meeting with the MCR staff was very collaborative. They wanted to understand what my intentions were with the car after it was completed. I said I was interested in driving the car in autocross events, but with the original suspension geometry and drivetrain. They made numerous constructive suggestions and we agreed on a restoration plan. Even though I live in the northwest, I was very involved during the restoration due in large part to weekly progress pictures posted my MCR and their responsiveness to my many emails. During the restoration, MCR impressed me with their extensive fabrication skills (custom sway bars, custom engine brace, starter heat shield, unibody structural reinforcements, reinforced suspension components) and their high tech diagnostic equipment which allowed them to identify and resolve car operational issues. I got along extremely well with John Balow and Ben Peotter (one of Ben’s hobbies is driving race cars) and since the restoration Ben described additional high tech diagnostic equipment owned by MCR and recommended that I purchase some to help me resolve a vibration issue. The entire staff was easy to work with and accommodated any request for last minute changes or rework. MCR agreed to set up a thorough road test at Road America after the restoration was completed. It was extensively documented with pictures in a very comprehensive Hot Rod Network article (https://www.hotrod.com/articles/1970-plymouth-barracuda-aar-cuda-road-america-test/). We discovered and MCR subsequently fixed numerous issues with the car. Ultimately, I got exactly the car I wanted!
I really believe that your shop may be the best business in terms of quality and service that I have ever encountered.
The fact that any deviation from perfect is handled by you personally and with obvious pride in the product and concern for the customer experience and value is remarkable. I work on billion dollar contracts (I test aircraft for the Navy) on a daily basis and the contractors I deal with apparently have no concept of responsibility for their product. To those guys, the idea of having guys figure out the problem and spending time with me resolving the issue without another check in the mail is foreign!
We do have some decent contractors but you can be sure that I'll be using you as an example the next time I talk to Bell Helicopter and some others!
All of your technicians possess superb skills. It was an excellent experience working with you and your entire company.
I wanted to let you know about my total satisfaction with the partial restoration of my 1972 Dodge Challenger. When I visited your shop, I was given a complete tour of the facilities and shown many cars in various stages of completion. It was then I decided to have the work done.
After the project started I was continually advised of updates with either by telephone, e-mails or photos through your website. All work to be completed was discussed in advance. If there was any work that wasn't discussed prior to the start of the project I was contacted and asked for approval; there were no surprises. I was given the latitude to change my mind throughout the project. My wife, son and I were given the opportunity to "visit the car and check out the progress.
All of your technicians possess superb skills. It was an excellent experience working with you and your entire company. Doing my Challenger is something that I had been thinking about doing for several years but didn't know where to bring it. I never dreamed the car could look so good! I am happy I chose Muscle Car Restorations I would recommend it to anyone
John Balow and Muscle Car Restorations has been and will continue to be a Leader in his Class, as that is the only way they know how to be.
The phrase says it all when it comes to John Balow and Muscle Car Restorations. I now consider John to be a good friend of mine, which is something I didn't expect to happen when he started the restoration on my Challenger. He has been a mentor, an advisor, a motivator, and as the title says, a leader.
As far as I'm concerned it is a pretty elite class as well. Not many people are capable of or would even want to take on some of the projects that Muscle Car Restorations has done. John didn't get to where he is today by following in the steps of others or by doing things the way others have in the past. He has done things his own way and been very successful at it. He does them the only way he knows how, to the best of his ability. John uses a lot of ingenuity, skill, and common sense on his restorations. He does not cut corners when it comes to the work he does and he'll be the first to let you know it. But it is obvious in his work as well. His '64 Race Hemi Plymouth is a typical example of the work John does on every car that goes through his shop.
When it comes to any and all projects John is up to the task. He once told me I've never turned down a project. I sometimes wonder why when I see some of the cars that go through his shop. Some it seems are lucky to have rust on them as its the only thing holding them together. I think he really enjoys the challenge of bringing a rusted hulk of a car back to better than new condition. He really understands that when someone comes to him to have a car restored, they don't want to hear him say that they should find another car or go somewhere else. They want THEIR car restored and brought back to life. That is what Muscle Car Restorations does. Bring peoples dream cars back to life and/or make them a reality.
From what I've seen, one of John's major drivers is the joy he gets after completing a restoration and seeing the look on the faces of the owners as they take possession of their finished car. A look I'm sure I will have as my car gets completed. When I open the cover of some of the most popular hot rod and muscle car magazines, and see this ad with John standing next to his pride and joy, I realize how lucky I am to have my car being restored by John and his crew. This ad says a lot about John and his work but what he does is more than can be presented on it. Every car he does receives the same attention to detail as his '64 Plymouth. For now, I'll continue to admire John's work and look to him for continued guidance and motivation. John Balow and Muscle Car Restorations has been and will continue to be a Leader in his Class, as that is the only way they know how to be.
That's what MCR does - the best you've ever seen.
I am the exceedingly delighted owner of a 1969 Road Runner 383 completely restored - literally from the frame up - by Muscle Car Restorations. The car is now front-page-magazine material restored to a state that it never realized when it left the Chrysler factory in September of '68.
The paint, done in the original factory colors, is so buffed, so polished that one can literally read the writing on the edge of an overhead fluorescent bulb in the paint on the car's hood. The chrome glistens on a car that is so detailed the work extends to inside the cigarette lighter - you know the part you'll never see unless a judge decides to pull it out for the heck of it. While I was putting air in the white-lettered radial tires at a local gas station, a station customer pumping gas walked up to me, tapped me on the shoulder and said he had never seen a straighter car in his life. You can lay a ruler across the door and the side panels and the ruler lays absolutely flat. Of course, don't simply take my word for it. The proof lays in the winning, so to speak. Two major, judged car shows entered - the World of Wheels in St. Paul, Minn. and the World of Wheels in Chicago - and two trophies to show for it, including 'Best of show' for the car's class in St. Paul. My neighbor, who owns his own restored, classic Mopar - a Dodge Dart, checked out my car earlier today and said this: ""The restoration on my car (Dart) is excellent. Everything, including the paint job, is quality work. But, in no way does it compare to this car (the Road Runner). In fact, this may well be the best restoration I have ever seen."" That's what MCR does - the best you've ever seen. And, not only is the work outstanding, the customer service is just as superb. Every car has a rep, and that rep keeps the customer apprised on at least a weekly basis of how work is progressing - what has been done, what needs to be done, how long the next phase of restoration will take. The MCR team gives the customer many options to consider during the restoration process so that the customer can decide how much to pay or what to add or subtract at any point. One quick story demonstrates the quality of the company that I selected for my restoration. At the time I was getting insurance for the restored Road Runner, I sent in an application and a copy of a professional appraisal that indicated a significantly high replacement value. The insurance company called me requiring more proof - beyond the official, certified appraisal. I put in a quick call to MCR. In less than five minutes, the staff e-mailed me a complete inventory/build sheet, 33 pages in length, that detailed labor and every part - down to individual nuts and bolts purchased and replaced. I forwarded that 33-page document to the insurance company a few minutes later, and an agent called me back laughing - literally. All she could say was that MCR must be some quality company to maintain such detail concerning the work done on the car. By the way, I got the insurance at the level at which I requested - immediately. One other fact must be noted. The MCR team is composed of great people - people who go out of their way to help you, people you like to just 'hang out' with. I know, I've 'hung out' with them. Kudos, MCR. It's a company that truly creates a 'WOW' for its customers.
From the bolts and the chrome tips on the exhaust to the undercarriage, the workmanship of the complete restoration was stellar.
This story really begins in 1969. I had just turned 21 years old, working hard to make some money and working extra hard at being a Brooklyn kid with a nice new set of wheels. My first car, a 1954 Plymouth Savoy, I paid $50 for and ran into the ground within a month. The 1966 Ford Custom came next. It looked like a cop car and had over 200,000 miles on it serving as an ex-cab for my father the taxi driver. I hated that car, and the day that it broke down on 18th Avenue in Brooklyn was the last day I drove it. I'm not sure why I picked the 1969 Dodge Charger RT/SE, but I did; and it changed my life for the next 35 years. It was brand new, it was sexy... and it was different. The typical neighborhood car at the time was a Chevy, but I wasn't the typical neighborhood kid. So I marched into a dealership on Coney Island Avenue and I bought it for $3900 outright. No test driving, no questions (things I've learned to do since that day in 1969). I just fell in love with the look and decided on the spot. This 440 engine, 375 horse power hot-rod right out of the factory was all mine. And I was intimidated to say the least. However, when I got behind the wheel, I felt like I belonged there. So with my mother riding shotgun, tires screeching and heads turning, I started my life-long love affair with the 1969 Dodge Charger.
We would drag race on 1st Avenue on the weekends. It was a beautiful thing; Beautiful yet extraordinarily dangerous. There were even refreshments being sold as rubber was being burned. I beat plenty of cars and won like crazy to the surprise of a few of my friends who were 'Chevy guys'. Who could imagine a Chrysler car beating a Chevy? I did, and I made it happen over and over again.
When I started 'fixing it up' is when the problems started. I figured if it was that fast as just a stock car, whatever I added on would make it faster. Bigger tires, new exhaust, new rear end... and it to my surprise, it never raced the same again. Insurance went through the roof, I had nowhere to park it and 2½ years later I sold my baby for $1700.
Fast forward 30 years and I regretted selling it every single day. I talked endlessly about my 1969 Charger and always had money set aside for the day I would buy it again. I got married, had children and put it on the back-burner, but never put it completely out of my mind. And that fateful day, while flipping through a car magazine admiring a Charger on the glossy pages, my wife stopped me, looked me dead in the eyes and said, 'You're making me crazy. Just buy the car already'.
So I began my search. I wanted the same color that I had originally and I needed the car to have paperwork. I had to verify that this was a legit car if I was going to buy it. When I found what sounded to be exactly what I was looking for in California, I hired an appraiser to check the car out and drive it. I bought it sight unseen and within a few weeks, the trailer dropped off my new '69 Dodge Charger RT/SE.
The seller was the third owner and he had put a little money and work into it. However, having it thoroughly inspected yielded a list of things that needed to be done. Let me be clear, I wasn't looking for a perfect car; I was looking to have fun with it. I wanted my old car back to drive around and enjoy again, but I needed to fix it up, even if it was minimally. There was a crack in the dash, the windows needed to be aligned, the trim needed fixing... so I did my homework and found John Balow's Muscle Car Restorations. If I was going to do it, I was going to do it right.
I didn't realize at the time what that meant; but I soon found out there was a lot more under the hood, so to speak, than I ever imagined. When it arrived at MCR, they revealed that which I did not want to hear: the entire inside of the car was rusted. Then came the choice: close it up and leave it the way it was, sooner or later having problems and selling it to an unsuspecting buyer, or put my new baby in the hands of capable professionals and turn it into exactly what it should be... the hot rod I remembered. What began as a small undertaking became the possibility of a full blown restoration. Now, I'm not the type to screw someone else, and selling that car as it was would have been doing just that. So I made the decision to undertake a project I never expected and truly didn't want on my plate. But it was my responsibility to the car. I knew I had something special already since there aren't many cars with all of the paperwork this car had; it was my chance to turn this car into exactly what it was meant to be.
The only way to do this was to do it the right way, which was undeniable. Everything in the car that wasn't new, was made new again. The interior had been done over before, but everything that had been done, was done again. And it was done right this time. The cost blew up from one number then doubled. It actually almost tripled. And as time went on and more and more was being done to the car, I began to worry. I bought this car to drive and have fun with, but was I even going to want to drive it when I saw it? There was so much money put into it, so much time. Was I going to be paranoid and end up having to sell it because I couldn't enjoy it and drive it?
When I finally got to see the finished product at Muscle Car Restorations, not only was I blown away by the sight of the car, but I was welcomed with open arms by the staff. Every one of the people at Muscle Car Restorations stepped up to the plate and made us feel welcome and reassured. From morning to night, we were shown around the shop, had all of our questions answered and were introduced to the men behind the work. And the car itself was a work of art, aesthetically and mechanically. From the bolts and the chrome tips on the exhaust to the undercarriage, the workmanship of the complete restoration was stellar. The original vinyl roof was back; even the exhaust smelled like it did 30 years ago. It had the look, the smell, the sound... this car exceeded my every expectation and was way beyond my original Charger.
I was immediately taken back in my mind to 1st Avenue in Brooklyn under the Gowanus... with the cars lined in the street and the engines roaring. It's a damn shame that I'm 30 years older and wiser, because although I know I'll never drag race again, I'd love to see the looks on their faces when I rolled up in this.
The entire staff was VERY honest, sincere and went the extra "mile" on my car despite some difficult times such as parts procurement and detailing.
I purchased a 1970 Dodge Challenger R/T from a co-worker who owned it since 1978. I quickly realized that this project required tooling, space, and skills to perform a proper restoration. After looking up shops, I discovered MCR and contacted John Balow. When I arrived he showed me around and introduced me to his staff. During the restoration, MCR contacted me every step of the way. I highly recommend anyone to consider MuscleCarRestorations as their choice and they will not be disappointed.
The end result of working with MCR has been a car that looks better than it did when it rolled off the assembly line in 1970!
The plan for restoration of my 1970 AAR Cuda centered around having myself and my son doing as much of the work as we were capable of, and having someone else complete the work that was beyond our expertise. The ultimate goal was to restore the car to a factory original condition where ever possible.
Our restoration plan including doing the disassembly work ourselves, and then have someone complete the metal and paint work. Following completion of a restored rolling chassis, we would then complete the reassembly. Muscle Car Restorations was a perfect match for this plan. MCR was more than willing to work with us to complete whatever level and amount of restoration work we desired. The MCR team worked closely with us from the beginning to develop the plan and set expectations. Once the rolling chassis (a body shell on four wheels) was delivered to MCR, they kept us updated on the progress through weekly emails that included pictures to document work completed and planned next steps. If questions arose during the work, MCR would always call or email to ensure we were on the same page before proceeding. Communication with MCR was key throughout the build, which included on site visits at MCR to meet with their restoration team. Visiting face to face with the MCR team members reinforced my confidence in their abilities. They have the knowledge to duplicate original factory appearance and assembly techniques, including spot welding of the unibody panels. Beyond their in-house expertise, MCR has sources for a variety of quality replacement parts, as well as getting original parts replated to match factory correct finishes. Upon completion of their work, MCR provided a complete record, including pictures and videos, that document the restoration from start to completion. The end result of working with MCR has been a car that looks better than it did when it rolled off the assembly line in 1970!
Some of the most knowledgeable people I have met at shows are reduced to drooling.
While there may be any number of outfits that restore classic cars, few can lay claim to being among the best in the USA. The restoration process by nature demands an extreme amount of attention to detail. If you were to visit MCR as I did you will see an incredibly proud and talented group of professionals enthusiastically displaying their projects. In addition to my own opinion some of the best evidence of this comes in the form of comments from respected professionals. "World class restoration" from our lifelong mechanic and body shop owner. Some of the most knowledgeable people I have met at shows are reduced to drooling.
John you and your crew are the best, the attention to detail, the workmanship, the start to finish process, the MCR facilities, and all the countless items that go into the restoration of a vehicle are Second to None at your shop.
The car looks great. It seems like it's not real though, it's been under construction for a long time, even before the car went up to MCR we were tinkering with it and it was off the street for a long time. It's going to take a while to sink in, that we basically have a brand new 1970 Plymouth Superbird.
John you and your crew are the best, the attention to detail, the workmanship, the start to finish process, the MCR facilities, and all the countless items that go into the restoration of a vehicle are Second to None at your shop. MCR is the premier restoration service in the country, Period.
You must feel very proud of your accomplishments. You are definitely to be commended for your first class effort with our (really it's Colette's Baby) car. I know she will be proud of that Yellow Machine when she finally gets to show it off. She's had that car since 1978 or 77, if that car could talk boy would it tell you some stories I'm sure. But all the while, she has always wanted it to be perfect, but somehow it's always eluded her when it came to that car. Well, that was the past. Now, (the present) the car looks perfect, and I'm sure it is, thanks to your project management skills and a very dedicated effort by you and your staff.
Let me tell you, it (the funding) was a major undertaking for both of us. But that will all go away when we start to enjoy the fruits of our & your labor. I'm sure the friendship we have with Jan & you will last a lifetime. Who knows maybe when things settle-down for us, we can join Jan & yourself on a cruise, you can show us the ropes of cruising. That might be fun.
Well, let us know about the show, and know that I sincerely appreciate the job you have done on the Superbird, not because I love Superbird, (I do) but because I love Colette, and I know what that car means to her she's very special to me.