THE SHOP

Performance & Hotrod Business - July '15

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48 n Performance & Hotrod Business n July 2015 HOTROD work, wiring and audio. He also makes sure parts are ordered for different projects and he does the design work on most proj- ects—but says he's probably most known for his custom paint work. "It's a juggling act to keep everything going. It's steadily growing all the time and we're staying pretty busy," Wargo says. "We're pretty happy to say that we survived the downslide of the economy and we never saw any decline in our busi- ness at all. It's hard to believe it's been 27 years now." Top Contenders Flanagan is a small town of about 1,000 people, situated about two hours south of Chicago. "I grew up here; I like it here, and figure as long as people are willing to come here, we'll stay here," Wargo says. People come after seeing Wargo's work at various car shows and through word of mouth from other customers. And there's a decent amount of repeat business coming through; some customers have already had Wargo build five or six cars. Since the shop started as a Chrysler dealership, it functions perfectly as a cus- tom car shop. At 60 feet wide by 165 feet deep, it's big enough to include a paint booth and a sandblast booth area. Another area is segregated off where all the body work and fabrication takes place. In the front is an area for dis-assembly and re-assembly. The showroom, about 20-by-30-feet, is big enough to have a few trophies and magazine covers, as well as a finished car or two on display. The concrete block paint booth was installed when Wargo opened up the One serious rear end. A sweet 1967 Karman Ghia, with a Viper V-10 motor has had extensive body modifications. shop. He says it's a little bigger than tra- ditional, which allows him to get around the vehicles easily, and also, when painting graphics, to step back from the vehicle and see the lines better. "Custom paint work is our primary specialty," Wargo says, "just because it's something people see a lot of. When you're at a show, that's the first thing people see on your vehicle. I feel like I have a good eye for color and vision and color combinations. That's what gets me those kinds of customers. They see the different things I've done and the uniqueness and attention to detail and things like that, and that's what helps get those other clients in." After this many years, a few projects still stand out for Wargo, like way back when he was doing a lot of heavy mini-trucks. He says there was a challenge posed once to see how many colors could be painted on one car. "I had a couple that were into about 50 colors," he says. "It's really crazy when you're getting into that many colors with overlaps, pinstripes and drop shadows; when you're doing that much graphic work. But it was fun. I liked the challenge." One truck he painted about 20 years ago has bounced around to different own- ers and recently popped back up at the Mini Truck Nationals. The truck, which is exactly the same as it was 20 years ago, still took a "Top 50" award at the show, which is a testament to the enduring quality of Wargo's work.

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