We encourage potential clients to contact us to discuss their project. In some cases clients already own the car, if not we can help locate the perfect vehicle to begin restoration work on.
After the initial contact, an appointment is set to discuss the details of the work to be performed. Clients meet directly with owner/operator Ray Wall to establish shop rates and a tentative time line for the project. We do not require an up front deposit to begin work and only charge for work completed. Invoices are sent out every two to four weeks.
During this meeting we try to get an idea of what direction a client wants to take their project car. Perhaps you want to create a concours original car, identical to the day it rolled out of the factory. Or maybe you want to create a rolling masterpiece that is customized in every respect from the engine down to the door handles. ARC is fully capable of building either of these options and anything in between.
Disassembly and Assessment
Once the project arrives at the shop, either by client delivery or via our nationwide pick-up service, our team goes to work disassembling the project vehicle and determining the overall condition of the car.
We take the utmost care during the disassembly phase. The entire process is photographed, and each piece of the car is labeled and stored. We identify any issues that need to be addressed during the restoration. If necessary, this is the stage when we remove the body from the chassis and place on our rotisserie.
Our mechanics go to work putting the mechanical aspects of the build in order. In many cases clients decide to upgrade brakes to newer, safer set-ups. Sometimes we are asked to do an engine or transmission swap. We have the ability to tackle practically any drivetrain swap. We can do any heavy fabrication work, such as custom cross members and engine mounts in house. During this phase we do any work necessary to get the suspension, brake and drivetrain systems ready for the road.
During this stage of your car’s restoration we take the opportunity to address any damage to the sheet metal caused by accidents or rust. We take pains to repair everything the right way. Any replacement panels are butt-welded in place rather than lap welded to reduce the likelihood of rust recurring in the future. This is when any metal work such as custom fabricated center consoles, shaved handles or emblems, frenched headlights or taillights and anything else occurs. Our team can also precisely gap door, trunk and hood openings.
While we have body off, we take the opportunity to refinish the chassis either to factory specifications or to suit the tastes of the owner. All the sheet metal is sandblasted and promptly coated with epoxy primer to prevent flash rusting. After body panels are shaped with hammer and dolly, this primer serves as a foundation for our body-filler work. You won’t find any excessive application of filler on any of our vehicles. Getting the sheet metal as close to shape as possible before we apply any filler is what we strive for.
After the body filler is sanded flush we apply polyester primer. This is a step most collision shops skip. Think of the polyester primer as a very thin layer of filler that is used for final leveling. Once it dries, it is block sanded to ensure the body work is flawlessly smooth and completely level.
After block sanding is complete we apply 2K primer. The 2K is wet sanded to make sure the surface is completely smooth and free of any imperfection. The body panels are sealed one more time to provide a solid color over which to paint. The sealer also prevents any bleed-through or absorption. Over this, base coat is applied followed by clear. Then begins the color-sanding and buffing processes. Once everything is painted and shining, reassembly can begin.
Reassembly and Shakedown
In this phase the car is carefully reassembled. The final wiring is completed and all the systems are finally tied back together to complete the project. This is where all the careful documentation and cataloging we do during the build process pays off. We create a visual record in the form of a picture archive on every vehicle. This archive is available to our clients online so they can follow their car’s progress.
We thoroughly test every system on your car, from the transmission to the turn signals, to ensure they are all functioning as they should. Every car is strapped down to our chassis dynamometer which measures the output of the motor and gives our mechanics an opportunity for final tuning. We also do practical testing, or road time. This is to make sure that your car runs, drives and stops as it should.
Delivery and/or Show
Once your car is completed it is available for pick up from our shop or we can deliver it anywhere you choose. Many of our clients elect to show their vehicle once it is completed. And why not? When you see your finished car you’ll want to show it off too. Should you chose to do this with your vehicle, we can facilitate this option. We will transport the car to shows and complete any preparations necessary. We can meet you at the show, or show the car on your behalf.