Your final stop for quality trim restoration
Resto-Trim is a full service automotive trim restoration shop. We specialize in the refinishing of stainless and aluminum automotive trim and bumper re-chroming. We also provide the rebuilding and restoring of vent window assemblies. Although the majority of our work is automotive related, we are not limited to only that. We can also provide the polishing of brass, bronze, copper, and other antique collectables.
The process we use here at Resto-Trim is tried and true and we guarantee your satisfaction. If you should have any questions regarding our trim restoration service, please feel free to contact us.
The following article is reprinted with permission.
"Car Collector Magazine" - December 1998 issue.
Car Collector: Suppliers & Specialists -- Resto Trim, Inc.
By Richard Prince
A collectible car’s appearance makes the first and, often times, most lasting impression. Engines that purr like a kitty cat, transmissions that shift as smooth as warm butter, and brakes that stop straight on a dime are of course wonderful, but for better or worse it’s visual impression that often matters the most. And because of this it is important for comprehensive, high quality cosmetic restoration to encompass all aspects of the car’s appearance including internal and external bright trim items. Resto Trim, located in Lindenhurst, New York, is one of the country’s foremost trim restoration facilities.
The company’s president, Don Ness, has operated a full service restoration shop called Don’s East Coast Restoration since 1987. And like most vintage car restorers Don has been in the old car hobby his entire life. In fact, he is so enamored of vintage tin, and Bow Tie products in particular, that he has the tail section of a 1957 Chevrolet tattooed on his back, and owns a faithful German Shepherd watch dog named “Nomad” and a pussy cat named “Chevy”. According to Don’s wife Cathy, who works side-by-side with him in the business, old cars are really the focus of his life. “Don simply loves restoring cars,” she explains. “He eats, sleeps and breathes vintage cars and loves the work we do here.”
Don echoes the sentiments his wife expressed. “I really do love restoration work,” he says with obvious enthusiasm. “So many people hate their jobs and I think that’s sad, a terrible way to go through life. A lot of people I know can’t wait to get home from a job they don’t like so they can play with their collectible car. I get to play with collectible cars all day so I really do consider myself lucky.”
The fact that Don is passionate about his work manifests itself in the quality of his restorations. His love for the cars induces him to always go the extra distance to make everything the best it can be. “For me,” he explains, “there’s great satisfaction in taking something that’s a complete mess, that’s literally falling apart from age and use, and transforming it into a show piece. People think of it as magic and I appreciate the admiration but high quality restoration work is mostly just patience and paying attention to every last detail.”
And it is this philosophy, this patience, attention to detail, and love for what he does, that makes Don’s trim restoration so special. Initially he sent out all the brightwork from cars he was restoring to someone who specialized in it. But about six or seven years ago he began restoring all the stainless and aluminum trim items himself and found that he was not only very good at it, but also that he thoroughly enjoyed it.
As he continued to do the trim restoration himself, Don found that he got better and better until he reached a point where he could restore almost any piece regardless of how mangled or deteriorated it was. “I love to take a rare molding that’s all dented and dinged up, that maybe the owner thought could never look good again, and make it perfect,” he says with understandable pride.
Over the years car owners and even other restoration shops heard through the grapevine that Don did excellent trim restoration and as a result, started bringing their bright work to him. So in addition to the bright work he did to complement his own restorations, he was doing more and more of it for other people’s projects. In fact, he was doing so much of it for others that he decided to start a separate division of his restoration company to handle all the trim work exclusively. And thus Resto Trim was born.
To provide the space needed to handle the increasing work load, and to confine the mess that metal restoration inevitably creates, Don built a separate area of the shop for Resto trim. And to make sure that the quick turnaround time customers desire is accommodated, he hired an experienced metal finisher to help him.
The metal finisher, Roque Pimentel, brings more than twenty-five years of experience to work with him every day. He took some time out of his busy schedule to explain all the steps involved in restoring bright work. “The first thing we do is inspect the parts” he says. “We look at each piece for surface defects, distortion and the like, and then map out a plan for the restoration of that item. Needed repairs are done first, and each item is different as far as what it requires. Creases and dents can sometimes be taken out with hammers, bucks, and related tools, sometimes we need to weld areas to build them up or fill voids. Welding, of course, is a precise science all by itself. It’s crucial to choose the right alloys and a lot of skill is required.”
“After all repairs and prep work is finished”, he continues, “The piece goes to the finishing area where it is cut. Cutting involves different grades of compounds and different cutting wheels. Then we do the polishing, which also involves increasingly finer grades of materials and tools. After polishing is where a lot of shops are finished, and to the average person a well polished part looks beautiful. But for true perfection we do an additional process that old-time metal finishers call ‘coloring’. Coloring is a method of ultra, ultra fine polishing that really brings out the beauty of the metal and makes the piece perfect. After coloring is completed, the part is final inspected, wrapped up to protect it in transit, and delivered to the customer.”
I thanked Roque for the abbreviated metal finishing lesson and, noticing all the bright trim in neatly arranged rows waiting its’ turn, apologized for the time I took him away from his work. “Oh, that’s no problem,” he said, gesturing toward all of the yet to be restored parts. “The more I have to do the happier I am. More work is only a problem when you don’t like what you’re doing, but I love what I do!” As I said before, when a restorer loves what he does it is clearly reflected in the quality of his work. Both Don and Roque are passionate about trim restoration and as a result Resto Trim is among the best in the business.