Running a Shop Tools

Blue Velvet

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For a shop owner who says he wasn’t using “the greatest tools in the world,” Chester Allred sure did a fine job restoring his 1930 Ford two-door sedan. The owner of Allred’s Garage in Franklinville, N.C., estimates that he spent about 1,500 hours working on his award-winning car. The Ford was featured in the 2008 Keystone calendar and has won “Best Street Rod” at local car shows. The head turning hot rod is now valued at $80,000 and leaves friends and admirers “amazed.”

In the Beginning

Allred had his eye on the ’30 Ford for a long time. In June of 2005, he finally had the chance to buy it from a friend. “He had about 10 cars at the time, so he wasn’t sad to part with it,” Allred laughs. “He’s got some that he’s attached to, but not that one!”Allred didn’t begin working on the car right away, though. “I puttered around in it for a few months before I decided I wanted to restore it for myself,” he says.

Allred began gathering parts he would need for restoring the Ford—the project eventually cost him $40,000 in parts—and spent the following year stripping, rebuilding, and repainting the car. He put in a new boxed-in frame, a four-inch drop-bill axle, Pete and Jake’s parallel bars, a triangular four-length rear suspension, a title wheel, power disc brakes, Dolphin gauges, a 1987 Chevy 350 engine, air conditioning and a hidden, remote-controlled CD player. “I wanted it to have a clean look,” Allred says of the inconspicuous CD player. “[People] hear the radio, and they wonder where it’s coming from,” he laughs.

A bright, eye-catching 350Z Daytona Blue paint color—by PPG Global—really made the Ford sparkle. “I did all the metal work and fabricating, and then I had my painter paint my car,” Allred says.

The Tough Times

The momentum was hard to keep up at times, though. “I was excited when I started, [but] I was stressed during it, because you just want to finish,” Allred says. “It’s countless and countless hours.” Waiting for parts to come in and replacing gauges that didn’t fit right the first time required patience during the process.

The Ford’s top was also a challenge. “The one part that was the worst was making the top for the car,” he remembers. “When we pulled the older stuff off the vinyl, the old hood was rotted. The metal around the windshield was all rotted out, too.” Allred had to make a new top and a new windshield—which wasn’t an easy feat. It took him three weeks just to build the new windshield. Determined to finish, Allred worked long into the night. “I’d put my kids to sleep and then I’d work on [the car] until two or three in the morning,” he says.

The first test drive didn’t go so well. “The spacer on the tire wasn’t torqued properly, so I was driving it and the wheel just shot off of it,” Allred says. “Luckily, I was in front of this garage, and they helped me get the tire back on. We did more damage getting the tire back on than when it fell off. The jack slipped out from under the frame and went up the fender. We had to put it back in the shop for two more weeks.”

All in the Family

So, how’d he feel when the Ford was finally finished? “Really good,” Allred says. He felt especially proud when people complimented the car. “They were amazed,” he says. “When you tell them how much it’s worth, they’re blown away.”

But for Allred, the only admirers that really matter to him are his two young sons. “The best part was taking my two boys—they’re 7 and 3—up the block and turning around. They’re crazy about cars, and hopefully one day they’ll take over the business.”


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