July-November 2001
I began searching for someone to do paint and body work shortly after I purchased Maych.   I called around to a few of the more popular paint and body shops, but they were not particularly interested in doing "classic restorations".  Their bread-and-butter was insurance work and they simply didn't have the time or inclination to tackle these kinds of jobs.  So, I began looking around for shops that did classic restorations.  There were two shops in the yellow pages whose advertisements stated they did classic restorations.  One Saturday morning I called one of the shops, Auto Kraft, to make an appointment for them to take a look at Maych and give me an estimate.  The owner answered the phone and said they were not normally open on Saturday, but he was at the shop doing a little paper work.  I told him I could be there in 10 minutes and he said bring him down and he would take a look.

Well, I spent the next 2 hours at his shop while he talked about and showed me pictures of his past restorations.  The restorations were impressive, but somehow I got the feeling he was going to be way out of my league.  I noted that all of the restorations he had done were owned by doctors, lawyers, or other people of considerably more means than I had.  Finally, on pretense that I had to get going, I asked him how much he estimated to do the body work and paint on Maych.  He said Maych was a fine candidate for restoration, but that he was not interested in doing anything but a "first-rate" job.  I figured "first-rate" meant expensive.  After a few more minutes of telling me how his work is different than the normal "run-of-the-mill" body guys, he finally said he would estimate the cost at around $8500.  I thanked him for his time and told him I'd think it over.  But in reality, there was nothing to think over.  I wasn't about to spend $8500 on paint and body work.  

After work a couple of weeks later, I stopped by the other "restoration" shop listed in the yellow pages.  The name of the place was Hinkle's Auto Body Shop and it appeared to be a lower cost operation than Auto Kraft.  The shop is owned by a young man named Jason Hinkle and it is more or less a one-man operation.   We talked a little while and Jason said he could do the work for between $3000 and $5000.  This was much better than the price I got at Auto Kraft, but it was still a little more than I was wanted to pay.  I told Jason that the price was more than I had anticipated and I would need to think it over.  He said that was fine but let him know fairly soon, because he was running a backlog of about 6 months.

Over the next couple of months I "chased" down other leads for someone to do the paint a body work.  I was hoping to find someone that did this kind of work as a sideline.  Someone that  liked to restore old vehicles, but didn't really need the work to make a living - kind of a professional amateur, if there is such a thing.  I put out feelers on the 67-72 chevytrucks forum, asked friends and co-workers, and asked around at swap meets, but couldn't seem to run down anybody.  

Then, one day at work, a co-worker told me he knew a guy in Crete Nebraska that worked for the Sheriff's Department and did body and paint work on the side.  Crete is a small town about 25 miles southwest of Lincoln, so it was within a reasonable distance.  He gave me the guy's phone number and I called him and asked if he would be interested.  He said he would like to look at Maych, so we agreed to meet at his shop that weekend.

From the directions he gave me, I knew he lived a little ways outside of town.  I expected to find a small acreage, strewn with the remains of old car bodies, engine parts, and other assorted junk.  You know the kind of place I'm talking about - the kind with parts vehicles parked up on blocks, engine carcasses and drive train parts scattered around, and at least 2 junk yard dogs chained in the yard.  Boy was I wrong!

His place was as pretty an acreage as you'll ever see --  nicely  landscaped and very well manicured grounds; a newly built, large ranch-style house; and the garage and shop where both new and very well maintained.  There were two dogs in the yard, but they were Dalmatians, not junk yard dogs, and they weren't chained up.  He was mowing the lawn when I drove in.  I I stopped in the drive and he drove his riding mower over to the truck and we introduced ourselves.  He told me to drive the truck down to the shop and he'd have a look.

 I drove Maych down to the shop and parked by the front door.  While I was waiting for Alan (Alan Moore is his name), I peeked a look inside the shop.  This was no ordinary, handyman's garage.  The shop was fully equipped to due body work and had a spectacular paint booth.  But what you really noticed was how clean and tidy it was.  It looked more like a place to hold VFW meetings than one that was used to do paint and body work.  Needless to say, I was impressed. 

Alan looked over Maych and then asked me what my plans for him were.  I told him my plans were to keep Maych as original as possible, including paint.  What I wanted was for someone to replace the rusted body parts (rockers, cab corners), fix dings, dents, and repaint to original color.  He said he would be willing to do the job if I wasn't in a hurry.  I told him Maych was not a daily driver, and if the price was right, he could take all the time he wanted.  I also told him I was willing to help anyway he needed.  We sort of agreed on a rough price and he said he wanted to do it as a winter project, because he was so busy in the summer.  I said that would be fine and told him to give me a call when he was ready to start.

Alan called in November 2001 and said he was ready to start on Maych.  I drove Maych down to Alan's shop that weekend. and we began the work to return him to his former glory.  I will chronicle that work in the next few episodes.

 

 

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