More Project Banana Split Episodes

Detroit Muscle Builds

Parts Used In This Episode

AMD Installation Center
Welcome to the AMD Installation Center. We are devoted to solving two issues that have taken the fun out of building cars: the first issue, how much will it cost? We have up front pricing; and the second issue, how long will this take? Our normal turn around time is 30 days
Auto Metal Direct
Auto Metal Direct (AMD) manufactures high quality replacement sheet metal panels for GM and Chrysler vehicles
Hudson's Rod & Customs
Hudson's Rod & Customs was established in 2004 by Homer & Will Hudson in Strawberry Plains, TN just outside of Knoxville. The father & son duo have put their heart & souls into this business to produce high end quality cars for their clients
RockAuto.com
ACC, Molded; Complete; Red; 2 & 4 Door; Does Not Fit The Convertible
The Industrial Depot
Fasteners, Hardware, and Shop Supplies

Episode Transcript

(ANNOUNCER)>> TODAY ON DETROIT MUSCLE WE'LL PEEL

OPEN THE INSIDES OF PROJECT BANANA SPLIT TO GIVE IT SOME CUSHION. SEE HOW A TRADITIONAL TUCK AND ROLL IS LAID OUT FROM GUYS WHO KNOW THEIR STITCHES. PLUS A LOOK AT SOME HEAVY METAL AND THE WORLD'S

LARGEST SUPPLIER OF MOPAR TIN.

(JOE)>> WE HUNG THE NOW YELLOW COLORED SHEET METAL BACK ON OUR '49 FORD LAST TIME, AND BOLTED ON THE CHROME PLATED SHINY STUFF. AFTER GIVING THE WHEELS SOME RED PAINT AND RETRO HUB CAPS, THE EXTERIOR OF OUR PROJECT BANANA SPLIT IS LOOKING FAR OUT AND FAB MAN.

(TOMMY)>> THE INTERIOR, IT'S READY FOR SOME SERIOUS ATTENTION TOO. NOW WORKING WITH A CUSTOM CAR LIKE WE ARE, THIS IS WHERE YOU CAN GET REAL CREATIVE, CAUSE IT'S A LOT LIKE WORKING ON A BLANK CANVAS.

(JOE)>> GO TO ANY COOL CAR SHOW AND YOU'LL FIND EXAMPLES OF INSPIRED DESIGN. WHERE CRAFTSMEN HAVE UTILIZED THEIR SKILL AND IMAGINATION, SHAPING METAL AND APPLYING PAINT TO CREATE SOMETHING UNIQUE.

(TOMMY)>> BUT YOU'VE GOT TO APPLY THE SAME EXPERTISE ON THE INSIDE TO COMPLETE THE PICTURE, WHETHER IT'S A TASTEFULLY DONE TBIRD WITH HAND CRAFTED LEATHER OR A LEAD SLED MERC WITH RETRO TUCK

AND ROLL CHECKS.

(JOE)>> WILL HUDSON AND HIS FATHER HOMER HAVE BUILT HIGH END CARS FOR MANY YEARS UP

IN EAST TENNESSEE. WHETHER IT'S A COMPLETE RESTORATION PROJECT OR JUST AN INSIDE JOB, THEY'VE GOT THE PROVEN PASSION AND TALENT TO TURN OUT GREAT WORK. WE KNOW THAT BECAUSE WE'VE HAD THEM IN OUR TECH CENTER PITCHING ON SPECIAL PROJECT CARS. THE RESULTS, WELL THEY SPEAK FOR THEMSELVES.

(TOMMY)>> SO WE ASKED THE CREW TO ROLL INTO OUR DETROIT MUSCLE SHOP AND APPLY SOME OF THAT HUDSON'S ROD AND CUSTOM MAGIC TO OUR OLD '49.

(WILL)>> THE WHITE AND THE YELLOW TOGETHER REALLY LOOKS COOL, AND I THINK WITH PULLING OFF A RED INTERIOR, IT'S GONNA STAND OUT. I REALLY LIKE IT AND I THINK THIS IS GONNA BE A SUPER COOL CAR.

(JOE)>> THE HUDSON CREW WILL BE TAKING CARE OF THE SEATS, DOOR PANELS, CARPET, KICKS,

AND PACKAGE TRAY. AND WITH ANYTHING THAT REQUIRES PRECISE MEASUREMENTS IT ALL STARTS WITH A CARDBOARD TEMPLATE. AFTER IT'S CUT AND TEST FIT, IT'S THEN TRANSFERRED OVER TO A MOCK UP PANEL WHERE IT'S TRIMMED, AND TEST FIT AGAIN.

(WILL)>> ALRIGHT, WE'VE GOT THE PANEL FITTED TO THE DOOR, WE'VE GOT THE GARNISH MOLDING FITTED TO THE PANEL. WHERE YOU'RE ACTUALLY GONNA TAKE AND CUT THIS TOP LINE OFF BECAUSE THE PANEL PROTRUDES OUT PAST THAT.

SO WE WANT TO REMOVE THIS PIECE UNDER THE MOLDING. WE CAN DO AWAY WITH IT, AND THEN THAT WILL LET US START OUR DESIGN AND TELL US TRULY WHAT KIND OF

DESIGN AND WHAT SIZE OF SPACE WE'VE GOT FOR A DESIGN.

(TOMMY)>> A TWO INCH PLEAT WILL MATCH WHAT WILL HAS PLANNED FOR THE SEATS. SO HE CAREFULLY DRAWS IT OUT. THEN CHECKS IT BEFORE MOVING BACK TO THE TABLE. IT GETS COMPLICATED WHEN YOU HAVE NO ORIGINALS TO

START WITH, LIKE OUR FORD. TEMPLATES, MOCK UP PANELS, BASE PANELS, DESIGN PANELS, COVERING, NOT TO MENTION THE SEWING. A LOT OF WORK MOST CUSTOM BUILDERS ARE HAPPY TO FARM OUT.

(WILL)>> A LOT OF THIS TAKES A LOT OF PATIENCE. SOME DAYS I PROBABLY RUN THIN ON IT, YOU KNOW, BUT STILL IT'S A TIME CONSUMING PROCESS

TO DO ANY THIS. IT LOOKS LIKE IT'S OVERNIGHT BUT IT'S NOT. IT TAKES TIME TO GET WHAT YOU WANT. AND SOME TIMES YOU MIGHT NOT GET WHAT YOU WANT THE FIRST TIME. IT MIGHT TAKE A SECOND TIME, BUT YOU'LL GET IT.

(JOE)>> AND IT'S A DISAPPEARING TRADE.

(HOMER)>> WE NEED MORE YOUNGER GUYS INTO IT YOU KNOW, AND STUFF. WILL HIMSELF, HE JUST DECIDED HE WOULD

LIKE TO TRY IT. AND SO WE GOT A SEWING MACHINE AND HE SELF TAUGHT HIS SELF. AND HE JUST LEARNED FROM OTHER PEOPLE. AND IF HE HAD QUESTIONS HE'D GO ASK. BUT YOUNG GUYS ANYMORE, I DON'T KNOW. IT'S A SHAME BECAUSE WE'RE HAVING TROUBLE TRYING TO FIND HELP RIGHT NOW. WE NEED TO GET SOME OF THEM STARTED IN THAT DIRECTION CAUSE THEY CAN MAKE A LOT OF GOOD MONEY FOR THEIR SELVES IF THEY REALLY WANT TO APPLY THEIR SELVES TO IT.

(WILL)>> HERE'S WHERE I LAY OUT THE TWO INCH PLEAT LINES FOR GOOD RIGHT HERE. WE HAVE A PIECE OF SEW FOAM UNDER THEM AND THEN WE START SEWING THEM IN. THE OBJECT IS IS JUST TO KEEP IT STRAIGHT AND KEEP CONCENTRATED. I WORK EVERYDAY AT IT. SO TRY TO GET BETTER EVERYDAY, BUT I'VE

BEEN DOING EIGHT YEARS RIGHT NOW. I JUST SELF TAUGHT. I ACTUALLY JUST WATCHED A COUPLE OF VIDEOS AND

THOUGHT I COULD DO IT AND HERE I AM. I'D SAY IF YOU'VE GOT THE PATIENCE, AND I'M NOT SURE THAT I'VE GOT THE PATIENCE BUT I'M DOING IT.

(JOE)>> CONTINUING IN THE PROCESS, A PIECE OF CHIP BOARD IS USED, AGAIN AS A TEMPLATE, TO HELP POSITION THE PLEATED PIECE IN THE EXACT LOCATION NEEDED. THE EXCESS FOAM IS TRIMMED, AND GLUE IS APPLIED TO BOTH SIDES, BUT ONLY AT THE STITCH MARK.

(WILL)>> IF WE GLUE THE WHOLE WORKS, THE WHOLE THING WILL SMASH DOWN. AND WE WANT THE PLEATS TO BE PUFFING INSTEAD OF EVERYTHING JUST SMASHED FLAT.

(TOMMY)>> NOW THE DESIGN PANEL GETS QUARTER INCH LANDAU FOAM. THEN TRIMMED, SANDED, AND COVERED WITH THEIR SAME RED VINYL.

(WILL)>> ON THE TOP HERE WE'RE CUTTING OFF THE EXCESS VINYL. IT JUST GIVES US LESS MATERIAL TO WORK WITH TO WRAP ALL THE EDGES.

(JOE)>> BEHIND THAT IS THE BACKING PANEL, WHICH IS WHAT ATTACHES TO THE DOOR WITH TRIM RETAINERS.

(WILL)>> ONCE THAT'S DOWN WE'LL PUT THE PLEATS IN, LINE UP THE CHIP BOARD, AND TUCK ALL THE EDGES AROUND THE BASE PANEL, AND THEN IT'LL BE COMPLETE.

(TOMMY)>> A LITTLE STEAM GETS OUT ANY WRINKLES. THEN THE PANEL RETURNS TO THE DOOR FOR THE FINAL TIME, WHERE IT CAN BE SECURED.

(WILL)>> I DON'T WANT TO SAY IT'S SIMPLE BECAUSE NONE OF THIS IS SIMPLE, BUT DO A '50'S STYLE JUST A PLEAT INTERIOR IS A LOT DIFFERENT THAN THE STUFF THAT'S GOING ON NOW DAYS IN THE INTERIOR WORK. I MEAN THE TREND RIGHT NOW, IT'S SO THIS CUTTING EDGE, BUT TO GO BACK TO DO A '50'S AFTER YOU'VE TRIED TO DO THE OTHER STUFF, IT MAKES IT A LITTLE EASIER ON YOU.

(ANNOUNCER)>> STILL AHEAD, SEATS, CARPET, AND MORE, BUT UP NEXT A LOOK AT ONE OF THE LEADERS IN AFTERMARKET SHEET METAL AND HOW THEY'RE ABLE TO LIVE UP TO OEM STANDARDS.

(JOE)>> WE USE A LOT OF SHEET METAL IN THE SHOP. FROM PATCH PANELS TO QUARTERS, FROM ROOF SKINS TO TRUNK PANS, WITHOUT THEM WHY WE'D BE STARING AT A RUSTED HUNG OF METAL WONDERING EXACTLY

WHERE TO BEGIN.

(TOMMY)>> TAKE THIS '68 CAMARO

RSSS FOR EXAMPLE.

10 YEARS AGO THE AVERAGE GUY WOULD LOOK AT THIS AND SAY IT'S WAY TOO FAR GONE TO RESTORE. BUT TODAY 98 PERCENT OF THE TIN FOR THAT AND OTHER MOPAR AND GM MUSCLE HAS BEEN REPOPPED AND IS AVAILABLE

THROUGH AUTO METAL DIRECT.

LOCATED IN BUFORD, GEORGIA, AUTO METAL DIRECT IS ONE OF THE WORLD'S LARGEST SUPPLIERS OF CLASSIC MUSCLE CAR SHEET METAL.

(MARK)>> IT'S MUCH, MUCH EASIER TO RESTORE A CAR

NOW THAN IT USED TO BE.

(JOE)>> MARK HEADRICK SHOULD KNOW. HE'S A LIFE LONG CAR COLLECTOR AND RESTORER WHO HAS BOUGHT AND SOLD SOME OF THE RAREST MOPARS.

(MARK)>> THIS THING FITS REALLY WELL.

(JOE)>> BUT AS A BUSINESS MAN HE KNEW HE COULD FILL A VOID IN THE AFTERMARKET BY MANUFACTURING HIGH QUALITY RESTORATION PARTS. SOME THAT HAVE NEVER BEEN OFFERED BEFORE, PLUS ALL THE LITTLE PARTS TO GO WITH IT.

(MARK)>> UP UNTIL A FEW YEARS AGO IT WAS PRETTY

EASY TO FIND THESE CARS. THEY WERE SITTING BEHIND SOMEONE'S HOUSE AND THERE'D EITHER BE THIS, OR A DUSTER, OR A MAVERICK. LONG GONE NOW AND EVERYBODY'S TRYING TO FIND THEM. THE PROBABLY IS THAT A LOT OF THEM ARE ROTTED AWAY. AND WE HAVE MOST ALL THE PRODUCTS AND THE PIECES REQUIRED TO FIX A CAR THAT'S BEEN SITTING FOR A LONG TIME. ROCKER PANELS, WHEEL HOUSES, IN FACT YOU CAN EVEN GET THE SUBFRAME.

(JOE)>> IT'S NOW POSSIBLE TO RESTORE A CLASSIC DODGE CHARGER OR BUILD YOUR OWN SUPERBIRD FROM A '68 TO '70 ROAD RUNNER. PLUS FIRST GEN CAMAROS, CHEVELLES, NOVAS, EVEN '67 TO '72 CHEVY TRUCKS ALL WITH AMD SHEET METAL.

(MARK)>> IT'S EASY TO BUY STUFF FROM SUPPLIERS AND JUST RESELL IT BUT TO DEVELOP A REAL RELATIONSHIP WITH A MANUFACTURER YOU NEED TO

GET IN BED WITH THEM SO THAT YOU CAN FIX THINGS THAT ARE WRONG, YOU CAN DEVELOP STUFF RIGHT, YOU CAN REALLY BRING THE PRODUCT OUT AS IF YOU WERE USING IT.

(TOMMY)>> THEY DO THIS BY CONTROLLING THEIR OWN TOOLING THROUGH DIRECT PARTNERSHIP WITH THEIR MANUFACTURERS. WE WERE GIVEN A RARE LOOK INSIDE ONE OF THEIR FACTORIES.

(MARK)>> ALL OF OUR TOOLS ARE STEEL TOOLS.

YOU COULD MADE TOOLS OUT OF EPOXY, BUT ALL OF OURS ARE STEEL. SO THEY'LL LAST THOUSANDS AND THOUSANDS OF TIMES. IF YOU GET A TRUNK FLOOR HERE FOR A CAR AND YOU BUY ONE 10 YEARS FROM NOW YOU'RE GONNA GET THE SAME TRUNK FLOOR.

(MIKE)>> WE DO EVERYTHING THROUGH ONE MANUFACTURER.

THAT WAY WE'RE BETTER ABLE TO CONTROL THE QUALITY. WE DON'T HAVE AN ISSUE WHERE THE DOOR SKIN DOESN'T FIT UP AGAINST THE FENDER AND THE FENDER GUY YELLS AT A DOOR SKIN GUY BECAUSE THEY'RE ALL THE SAME PERSON. SO IT'S EXACT SAME OE SIZES. WE USE THE SAME GAUGE METAL. SO IF, YOU CAN INSTALL A QUARTER PANEL OR A TRUNK FLOOR. YOU RAP ON IT WITH THE KNUCKLES, IT SOUNDS LIKE THE REAL PART.

IT DOESN'T SOUND REAL "TINNY" LIKE SOME OF THE OTHER PANELS OUT THERE. YOU GET WHAT YOU PAY FOR.

THIS IS OUR WAREHOUSE THAT EVERYTHING THAT WE DO IS STOCKED IN THIS ONE WAREHOUSE, SHIPPED ALL OVER THE WORLD. THE PANELS COME HERE FROM OUR FACTORY OVERSEAS AND WE STOCK THEM HERE, SHIP THEM OUT.

WE SELL THROUGH DISTRIBUTORS BUT YOU CAN ALSO BUY DIRECT FROM US. WE DO HAVE A LOT OF PANELS IN HERE. WE HAVE OVER 8,000 PART NUMBERS. MOSTLY BODY PANELS, BUMPERS, AND GLASS, BUT WE

ALSO HAVE ADDED OTHER PRODUCTS LINES THAT BODY

SHOPS WOULD USE WHEN THEY'RE USING ONE OF OUR PANELS TO RESTORE A CAR. SO WE HAVE A LOT OF VARIETY OF WEATHER STRIPS, AND TRIM, AND MOLDINGS AND THINGS TOO. AMD LICENSES ALL OF THEIR FULL BODY PANELS, AND WE FEEL THAT REALLY GIVES AN ENDORSEMENT FROM GM AND MOPAR. AND THAT YOU KNOW, A CUSTOMER HAS TO FEEL BETTER ABOUT A PART IF HE FEELS LIKE ITS A NICE ENOUGH PART THAT GM OR MOPAR WOULD ALLOW US TO PUT THEIR NAME ON IT.

(KELLY)>> AUTO METAL DIRECT, THIS IS KELLY, CAN I HELP YOU?

(JOE)>> THE EXPERIENCED TEAM HANDLES ALL FACETS OF THE OPERATION FROM THEIR GEORGIA HEADQUARTERS. EVERYTHING FROM RESEARCH TO QUALITY CONTROL, CUSTOMER SERVICE, AND WEB DESIGN, EVEN TEST FITTING AT THEIR INSTALLATION CENTER UP THE ROAD.

THEY EVEN HAVE A SHOWROOM FOR CASH AND CARRY.

(MARK)>> WE CONSTANTLY TRY TO WORK ON PARTS THAT THE CUSTOMERS ASK FOR. WE LISTEN TO WHAT THE CUSTOMERS SAY. AND IF YOU GET A LOT OF FEEDBACK FROM TIME TO TIME FOR A CERTAIN PART THEN YOU KNOW THERE'S A VOID IN

THE MARKET AND YOU NEED TO LOOK INTO IT TO SEE WHY THAT'S THERE. AND MAYBE YOU CAN COME UP WITH SOMETHING TO FILL IT.

(TOMMY)>> PRIME EXAMPLE, TO REPAIR AND RECHROME A BUMPER CAN COST BETWEEN $500 AND $800 DOLLARS. EVEN MORE IF IT'S A SHOW PIECE. THIS IS AMD'S STATE OF THE ART COMPUTER CONTROLLED CHROME FACILITY, WHERE BRAND NEW FRESHLY CHROMED PIECES COST WAY LESS.

(MARK)>> THE CHROME WE'RE TRYING TO DO IN THE NEW FACTORY IS RELATED TO GM STANDARDS, JAGUAR, FORD, NISSAN, THEY'RE ALL MATCHED. SO IF YOU CAN MATCH NEW CAR STANDARDS AND IMPROVE IT, IT'S SURELY GONNA MATCH A 1969 PRODUCT.

(JOE)>> IT'S A HUGE ENDEAVOR, AND A BIG RESPONSIBILITY FOR MARK PROVIDING SKIN, GLASS, AND SHINNY PARTS TO HELP SATISFY A PASSIONATE MARKETPLACE. AND BELIEVE IT OR NOT, HE SOLD HIS ENTIRE TREASURE TROVE OF HEMI CARS DECADES AGO.

(MARK)>> I SHOULD HAVE JUST PARKED FOUR OR FIVE

OF THEM IN A HOLE AND WALKED AWAY, AND I'D BE A ZILLIONAIRE NOW, BUT THINGS DIDN'T WORK OUT THAT WAY. INSTEAD I GOT THIS MASSIVE PILE OF STUFF. SO I'LL CALL IT A GOOD TRADE OFF.

(ANNOUNCER)>> UP NEXT, OUR '49 FORD COUPE, PROJECT BANANA SPLIT, GETS THE REST OF ITS NEW TRADITIONAL INTERIOR WHEN DETROIT MUSCLE CONTINUES.

(JOE)>> OUR FORD'S RETRO RED INTERIOR IS COMING TO LIFE THANKS TO THE GUYS AT HUDSON ROD AND CUSTOMS.

HOMER AND MIKE ARE LAYING DOWN A PIECE OF CUSTOM CARPET WE GOT FROM ROCK AUTO DOT COM. THIS WILL PAVE THE WAY FOR THE REST

OF OUR INSIDE JOB. THE FIRST DAY WE BROUGHT IN THIS SEDAN FOR WORK, WELL OUR FIRST JOB, A DIRTY ONE, WAS TO TEAR OUT 65 PLUS YEARS OF OLD STOCK INTERIOR. NOW THE SEATS WERE SO NASTY THEY DIDN'T SUITABLE FOR RATS NESTS MUCH LESS A RESTORATION.

(TOMMY)>> WATCH OUT FOR CRITTERS JOE.

(JOE)>> WELL NOW LOOK AT WHAT WILL AND MIKE CAME UP WITH USING THE ORIGINAL FRAME AND I

DON'T BELIEVE IT. HOW'D YOU GUYS PULL THIS OFF?

(WILL)>> WHEN WE GOT THEM IN THEY WERE IN BAD SHAPE LIKE YOU HAD SAID. AND WITH IT BEING A SPLIT BENCH, WE WANTED TO DO AWAY WITH THAT BECAUSE THE MECHANISMS WERE SO WORE. IT'S GIVE IT LIKE A LAID IN LOOK. SO MIKE HAD COME UP WITH PUTTING A BAR ACROSS THE TOP OF IT, WELDING IT IN, AND IT ACTUALLY STILL WORKS FOR YOU TO GET IN THE BACK SEAT.

(JOE)>> OH YEAH.

(WILL)>> SO THAT TURNS OUT NICE, MADE THINGS EASIER, AND WE DID AWAY WITH THE UGLY OF IT BEING IN TWO SEPARATE PIECES.

(JOE)>> WELL THAT IT'S PRETTY I CAN'T WAIT TO SEE IT IN THE CAR.

(WILL)>> RIGHT, I'M READY TO CHECK IT OUT.

YOU GOT IT, GOT IT?

(TOMMY)>> I'M GLAD YOU MADE THAT OUT OF LIGHTWEIGHT MATERIAL.

(WILL)>> ONLY THE BEST FOR YOU.

(TOMMY)>> SPARE NO EXPENSE.

(WILL)>> THAT'S RIGHT.

(TOMMY)>> I GUESS I'LL DO THE HONORS OF SITTING IN IT FIRST. THINK THAT SHOE FITS? OH YEAH, WHAT'S UP GIRL, YEAH, THAT'D BE ALRIGHT! MAN THIS THING FEELS RIGHT NICE, I HAVE TO SAY, BUT I BELIEVE WE COULD USE AN ARM REST. YOU THINK YOU FASHION SOMETHING UP?

(WILL)>> IT THINK WE CAN PUT YOU SOMETHING IN THERE, GET THAT ARM PROPPED UP FOR YOU.

(TOMMY)>> A COUPLE OF PIECES OF PLYWOOD, SOME

FOAM, AND VINYL, AND ABOUT 10 MINUTES OF TIME, BAM, INSTANT ARM REST.

(JOE)>> THE REST OF THE INTERIOR OF OUR '49 FORD COMES TOGETHER EQUALLY FAST, INCLUDING A SIMPLE PACKAGE TRAY, SAIL PANELS, AND REAR SIDE PANELS. THANKS TO HOMER AND MIKE MOORE, WHO HELPED US SOLVE

A PROBLEM WITH OUR EXPOSED FUSE BOX ON THE DRIVER'S SIDE KICK, A CLEAN AND ELEGANT SOLUTION.

(MIKE)>> IT TURNED OUT REALLY GOOD. EVERYTHING FLOWED TOGETHER WELL, THE LINES OF THE INTERIOR WENT TOGETHER WELL.

(HOMER)>> IT FITS THE THEME, WHAT YOU

GUYS ARE TRYING FOR. YOU KNOW YOU'VE GOT A LITTLE TUCK AND ROLL IN IT AND EVERYTHING. SO IT REALLY TURNED OUT NICE ON THAT.

(WILL)>> I JUST THINK EVERYTHING WE DO, STUFF LIKE THIS IS COOL. EVERYTHING DON'T HAVE TO BE JUST ALWAYS WHAT'S IN TREND YOU KNOW. I THINK TAKING SOMETHING IN '50'S STYLE JUST TO SHOW THAT YOU KNOW, YOU'VE GOT INTEREST IN EVERYTHING THAT'S OUT THERE. THAT'S GREAT, WE ENJOY COMING HERE WORKING. THIS IS NOT OUR FIRST TIME, AND WE HOPE Y'ALL HAVE US BACK.

AND WE ENJOY IT EVERY TIME WE'RE HERE.

(TOMMY)>> APPRECIATE MAN, APPRECIATE!

(ANNOUNCER)>> COMING UP, WE HEAD TO GEORGIA TO TAKE A LOOK AT A SPECIAL KIND OF CUSTOM BODY SHOP. THIS IS A PLACE WHERE YOU KNOW ALL OF THE COSTS OF YOUR STATE OF THE ART TOP TO BOTTOM RECONSTRUCTION UP FRONT.

(JOE)>> WE VISITED DOZENS OF CUSTOM BODY SHOPS, BUT NONE QUITE LIKE THIS ONE.

IT'S THE AUTO METAL DIRECT INSTALLATION CENTER IN CLEVELAND, GEORGIA. NO PAINT BOOTH HERE, NO FILLER BEING DONE, NO WET SANDING. THIS IS A MUSCLE CAR METAL SHOP.

(CRAIG)>> WHAT A CUSTOMER CAN EXPECT WHEN THEY PICK UP THE CAR FROM OUR SHOP IS TO SEE EVERY WELD AND EVERY JOINT IN THE CAR. WE USE NO FILLERS, IT'S WELD UP. IF YOU GO TO THE FACTORY ASSEMBLY LANE.

WHEN THE CAR IS WELDED UP AND YOU CAN TAKE OFF THE

LANE, THAT'S WHAT YOU'RE GONNA GET. THIS IS A 1967 CHEVELLE.

(TOMMY)>> OWNER CRAIG HOPKINS HAS BEEN RESTORING CARS FOR 50 YEARS.

(CRAIG)>> THIS IS A 1969 CHARGER. WE'RE WORKING ON A 1968 CORONET.

THE '69 CHEVELLE, YOU CAN SEE THE FIREWALL'S NEW. ONE OF THE TRICKS TO DOING THE BUSINESS THAT WE DO HAS BEEN TO SELECT MODELS THAT WE CAN ACTUALLY BUY THE PARTS FOR.

THAT'S WHERE AUTO METAL DIRECT CAME IN, YOU KNOW, THE NATURAL FIT, BECAUSE THE MUSCLE CARS THAT WE DO, THE MAKES, MODELS, YEARS, WE CAN BUY ALMOST ALL OF THE COMPONENTS, FIREWALLS, ROCKERS, RAILS, ROOFS. IT MAKES IT EASY TO BUILD A CAR. WE DON'T STRAY OUT OF THAT FIELD AND BUILD CARS THAT WE CAN'T GET PARTS FOR. THAT'S PROBLEMATIC.

(TOMMY)>> IT'S A NICE RELATIONSHIP, NOT ONLY BECAUSE THE AMD WAREHOUSE IS JUST DOWN THE ROAD, BUT CRAIG'S SON AARON IS AMD'S CUSTOMER SERVICE MANAGER.

HE, ALONG WITH OPERATIONS MANAGER MIKE GRAY, RELY ON THIS SHOP FOR A LOT OF THINGS.

(MIKE)>> WE DO SOME TEST FITTING THERE. WE'RE ABLE TO TEST FIT IF WE HAVE A PROBLEM WITH A PART LATER ON AFTER WE'VE MADE IT. BUT THE BEST THING IS IS THAT WE GET TO UNDERSTAND WHAT THE CUSTOMER'S USING CAUSE WE USE THE SHEET METAL OURSELVES. SO WE UNDERSTAND THAT IF A CUSTOMER CALLS US, SAYS HE HAS A PROBLEM WITH A CERTAIN PART OF HIS CAR, WE KNOW HOW THAT WORKS BECAUSE WE'VE INSTALLED IT OURSELVES. IT GIVES US A GOOD IDEA OF WHAT THE CUSTOMER IS WORKING WITH.

(CRAIG)>> WE'RE WORKING ON A 1968 CORONET. IT'S A CAR THAT CAME OUT OF FLORIDA. WE HAVE THE WHEEL HOUSES UP IN THE CAR. WE'LL PUT THE QUARTER PANELS, THE DECK FILLER, TAIL PANEL ON THE CAR, MAKE ALL OF THAT FIT CORRECTLY. AND THEN WE'LL GET THE QUARTER PANELS BACK OFF AND WELD THE WHEEL HOUSES AND THE DROP OFFS IN THE CAR.

(WESLEY)>> WELL IT'S KINDA LIKE A JIGSAW PUZZLE, BUT YOU'VE JUST GOTTA MESSAGE THE PIECES INTO PLACE A

LITTLE MORE THAN YOU DO ON A PUZZLE.

(CRAIG)>> WHEN WE CONCEIVED THE BUSINESS WE REALIZED THAT THE SECRET WAS TO CONTROL THE CAR. SO WE'VE JUST BASICALLY WENT BACK TO A FACTORY MODEL, AND WE BUILD CARS, I CALL IT A DATUM TABLE. IT'S A FIXTURE THAT HOLDS THE CAR SQUARE, AND CENTERED, AND LEVEL. AND THEN WE UTILIZED A SPOT WELDER, WHICH IS A SQUEEZE RESISTANT WELDER. OUR WELDER'S THREE PHASE LIQUID COOLED, CERTIFIED BY EVERY AUTO MANUFACTURER. AND THAT'S WHAT ALLOWS US TO BUILD RAPIDLY, CLEANLY, IT'S MORE EFFECTIVE FOR THE CAR, AND THE PAINTERS JUST LOVE US.

(JOE)>> CRAIG JUST UNVEILED AN ONLINE ESTIMATOR THAT WOULD HAVE SOME BODY SHOP OWNERS CRINGE. HERE CUSTOMERS KNOW EXACTLY WHAT THEY'RE GETTING INTO. NEED A LEFT FULL QUARTER FOR YOUR '69 CAMARO? $340 FOR THE PART, $750 TO WELD IT IN.

(CRAIG)>> YOU CAN'T BELIEVE HOW COMFORTABLE SOMEONE CAN GET WHEN THEY KNOW WHAT IT'S GONNA COST THEM UPFRONT. YOU KNOW EVERYBODY'S HAD THE BODY SHOP HORROR.

OH IT'S BEEN THERE FOR SIX YEARS OR SOMETHING. THEY ALL TALK ABOUT THEIR CARS HAVING BIRTHDAYS AT THE BODY SHOP.

HERE'S IT'S A ONE MONTH BIRTHDAY. THEY LEAVE HERE AS BABIES. WE SPANK THEM, THEY'RE OUT THE DOOR.
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