Ultimate Garage: The perfect place for restoring cars
What an Ultimate Garage is, or means, varies from man to man. For some, it’s a sanctuary for their dream car and for others, it’s that incredible man-cave where they can hang out with the guys, crack a couple cold ones and watch the hockey game or just chill out.
For Bill French, a farmer in Melancthon, an Ultimate Garage is a place where he can go to hang out and work on restoring classic cars, a passion he’s held for a long time.
“It’s a place to go hide and have a hobby; it’s somewhere to go and relax,” explained Mr. French. “Some people like a quiet place to go hide from the craziness of life. This is my place where I can go, relax and work on some cars.”
The garage is an old barn, with an upper loft for storage and an addition built on the back to provide an area where Mr. French can work on restoring the cars. He currently has two completely restored cars in the garage – a Chevy Cutlass (which took about 200-300 hours to restore) and a Chevrolet 3600 truck that took approximately 1500 hours.
The back room is occupied by his current restoration project, a 1930’s model car. Once it’s completed however, it will mean a time to part with one of his completed projects.
“I like to stay with two cars—any more than that is kind of silly, because you don’t have any time to drive them,” he said. “I currently have a few people interested in the Cutlass, so once I’m done the car in the back, I might look at selling.”
Mr. French got his first taste of restoring cars during his teen years on the farm. There was an old pick-up truck that was continuously in need of repairs, and Mr. French took over the job of fixing it whenever needed. He didn’t begin restoring classic cars until 15 years ago, however.
“I just always liked cars,” he said. “We always had an old truck on the farm that I patched up, and it caught on. I was 16 when I first started working on it, but the restoration has been a more serious hobby of mine over the last 15 years.”
And while farming prevents him from spending much time in the garage working on his projects in the summer, the winter provides more than enough opportunity to focus on his passions. This winter, he’s found himself in there a lot more often, spending close to twenty hours a week working on his cars rather than his usual five.
However, you won’t hear him complaining too much about having all that extra time to work on transforming the vehicles from something that looks like it’s well past its prime into a beautiful, classic vehicle.
“It’s just really a fun hobby, and I find it very therapeutic,” he said. “I find I enjoy the restoration and rebuilding of the cars as much as, or more than I enjoy driving them. There’s a sense of satisfaction that comes from completing it from start to finish.”
Written by Tabitha Wells