We collect, restore, and show cars in North Texas and Oklahoma. It is our intention to keep the cars we restore, so the work is done with the expectation of being high quality and long lasting. After showing together for several years, we bought our ’69 Z28 from a friend. Over the years, the car had been several colors, and had typical rust. It was driven and showed several years before we decided to go ahead with a serious restoration. We didn’t meet Ray and Dharla until after competing several times with the ’66 red Chevelle SS featured on the website. Knowledgeable friends and restoration professionals confirmed that the quality and detail on the ’66 Chevelle was as good as the best work we had seen in our area. We looked at a lot of cars and other shops before deciding.
Ray inspected our car before we agreed to begin work. As we had learned before, there is little chance of being able to anticipate all the repairs that will be needed until the car is stripped, so have a lot of flexibility in your budget and timeline. Once work began, it was well documented, and we were able to make decisions about the details of the work as it progressed.
Our particular obsession is for great precision in the fit of body panels, doors, hoods, and trunks. That is closely followed by wanting straight panels and deep, smooth paint (lots of sanding). For us, panel fit is where ARC separates itself from competitors. Some shops bolt it up and let it go. Some shops will spend a lot of time manipulating alignment of panels for the best fit possible. ARC can go beyond that by measuring the gaps every couple of inches, and metal working the edges until the gaps are consistent from end to end, inch by inch. It’s not done by piling in body filler and then cutting a fresh gap, only to chip and fail later. That level of detail may not be needed for every customer, but this business has that capability.
Work at this level requires a lot of calendar time, shop hours, great expense, and patience. If you can’t live with that, probably need to look elsewhere. Highly likely you will be upside down on the car when it is done.
We took the car back to original Frost Green with black stripes, and it has done extremely well everywhere we’ve shown. We don’t trailer our cars; they are built to be driven. The car has held up great, and has not had a single paint/body issue requiring additional work. Lots of cars look good when fresh. When evaluating a shop, look for cars that have been completed for 4-5 years to see how they hold up. Time will uncover bad body work.
Our only other advice is, before you visit, be prepared for the rock road leading to the shop.