Performance & Hotrod Business February '14

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HOTROD Featured Vehicle 1970 Pontiac GTO Convertible P aul DiMauro, the owner of Deer Park, N.Y.-based Paul's Rods & Restos, was at a Long Island GTO Club "Car-B-Que Car Show" in 2008 when he heard about a restoration project to commemorate the life of Maj. Jeffrey Calero, a fallen soldier from Queens, N.Y. DiMauro, who has been repairing and restoring automobiles for more than 30 years, immediately wanted to get involved. "They were acknowledging Maj. Calero as one of the GTO Club members, and they brought his mom and dad up and were talking about his service to the country," DiMauro says. "They wanted to do something to give back, so the GTO Club said they were going to raise money to do some work on his car." 68 n Performance & Hotrod Business PHBFEB_52-77.indd 68 n A classic car enthusiast, Calero purchased the 1970 Pontiac GTO convertible in 2005 with plans to restore it on his own. He died at age 34 in October 2007 during his second tour in Afghanistan after an improvised explosive device detonated near his vehicle. The GTO Club outlined plans at the Car-B-Que to raise money to restore Calero's convertible. "I'm sitting there thinking, 'How are they going to build this car? They're going to raise money for parts?'" DiMauro says. "I told the president of the GTO Club to tell the Caleros that I wanted to build the car for their son. I wanted to do it to commemorate his life." DiMauro agreed to take on the project without even laying eyes on the car. Then, Paul's Rods & Restos began a five-year process to bring Calero's GTO back to life. "So I committed to the car, and it came in on a flatbed," he says. "I didn't know what it looked like. I had no idea. It looked nice when it was coming down the driveway, but then you got close to it… You know how that goes." The Project DiMauro discovered quickly that the GTO's chassis was rotted and bent from collision damage. The vehicle also needed quarter and floor panels, and a rear tail panel, and all of its chrome needed to be redone. "The economy was up and down, so we could only work on the car when we weren't busy," he says. "But over the course February 2014 1/7/14 2:24 PM

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