February '17

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68 THE SHOP FEBRUARY 2017 HOT ROD & CUSTOMIZATION "The market is so strong that within the next 16 to 24 months we'll be getting ready to release a brand-new 455-ci Oldsmobile V-8 that will be an exact factory replace- ment for the original 455," he reveals. A TIGHT GRIP From simple key scratch repairs to full body-off-frame rotisserie restorations, Thornton Classics of Telford, Pennsylvania seems to have a tight grip on doing first- class work. Thornton specializes in 1964-1972 Oldsmobiles, and especially the muscular 4-4-2 model. Hagerty Classic Insurance has recognized Thornton as a Classic col- lision repair facility and put it on a list of preferred repair shops. At the Atlantic City auction, Grant Miller of Lock Haven, Pennsylvania paid a record price of $195,000 for a 1970 Olds 4-4-2 convertible that Thornton Classics restored. Miller was not a novice buyer or an over- excited bidder. For most of his life, he ran a weekly auto auction. Miller now produces the Central Pennsylvania Auctions annual col- lector car sale each July. His purchase of the Thornton-restored 4-4-2 was a sure indicator that the Oldsmobile market niche is strong. Thornton Classics is benefiting from the expanded Oldsmobile market. The company was founded in 1950 by Dick "Dickie" Thornton Sr. The shop got into muscle car restorations in 1984. It's now a third-generation business that teams Dick Sr. with Dick Jr. and his sons Jeff and Troy. The shop is very family oriented. "You walk in a customer, but you leave a friend," the Thorntons say. Thornton Classics also supports the niche by selling high-quality, GM-licensed reproduction Olds parts and even manu- factures a few items itself. "The parts we offer are of the quality we require in our own restorations," says Dickie Thornton. "You won't be playing guessing games about the quality of our parts." Like many restoration shops, Thornton also sells the cars it restores and great examples have been commonly seen at the Atlantic City Classic Car Auction. However, not all of the cars are priced as high as the '70 ragtop that Miller bought. A lot depends on how much work it takes to make them pristine. Thornton family members are also long- time members of the Oldsmobile Club of America. "We love Oldsmobiles and 4-4-2s and we invite anyone into them to contact us with their special requests," says Thornton Classics. The shop also offers Oldsmobile enthusiasts an online newsletter and posts announcements, special product offerings and cars for sale at www.thorntonmuscle- If a car is going to auction, it's there, too. STATEMENT OF ACHIEVEMENT Ray Yager of Classic Industries (www.clas- says his company will soon be entering the Oldsmobile niche. Lynn Welfringer drag races an Olds-powered '27 Model T roadster to promote the capabilities of Mondello Performance Products. Lynn Welfringer, 73, partnered with Joe Mondello in the 1960s. They developed Olds parts and started technical schools in Tennessee and California. Classic Industries will be entering the Oldsmobile reproduction parts niche with four catalogs including one aimed at Olds Ninety- Eight owners. Bill Nagribianko of Toronto, Canada, had this beautiful sign made up for his '71 Olds 4-4- 2. As you can see, history and equipment count with Olds fans. ROCKET SHIFT

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