What now seems so long ago, I started working with my dad Wayne French at Smyly Buick, Mercedes, in Malden, Massachusetts. The year was 1962. It was summer and the 1962 Buick was still on the showroom floor with all the brochures for the 1963.
I worked in the body shop for a man that was very true to his craft, very respectful to his customers and very honest. All of this rubbed off on me.
In 1966 I joined the Navy. My dad was a Pearl Harbor Survivor and this inspired me to join. I spent the next 3 1/2 years working on the flight deck of the USS Hancock CVA 19. I worked aircraft from the flight deck and the control tower in the gulf of Tonkin off the coast of Vietnam.
I was discharged from the Navy on July 14th 1970. I immediately started college at the College of San Mateo in San Mateo, CA.
At the same time that I started college I bought an airplane and got involved in flying and running a flying business.
While in school taking every course that I could, I was given the chance to join TWA, the best airline in the world, with the best people. With TWA I held many positions and worked at many locations including Saudi Arabia for 3 years.
In 1986 I transferred to the TWA overhaul base in Kansas City, MO. Working major checks on Boeing 727’s. At this time, I also bought a 1968 Corvette convertible. The car was in very sad shape. My goal was to restore it, not as an NCRS (National Corvette Restorers Society) restored car but as a cool, fast car. My knowledge of the Corvette was nonexistent at the time. I searched for those who were supposed to be knowledgeable but found out that my penchant for detail exceeded theirs.
I started learning about the car and how it worked. I had some really good friends who would teach me minor aspects of the car which I expanded on. Within a couple of years, I was working suspension issues on other people’s cars and off I went.
My thirst for knowledge on the working history of the Corvette pushed me into a hobby on steroids and eventually into business.
I joined NCRS in 1987, joined NCCC (National Council of Corvette Clubs) and was a regional membership director for 3 years. I later joined the Kansas City chapter on NCRS and have been a member ever since.
I have produced 7 NCRS Top Flight cars, 2 Duntov cars and numerous local show winning cars.
My clients have come from all around the country. I have been involved in building one tribute car to the ZL-1 and building one resto mod. Resto mod #2 is in progress for a very nice couple from Canada.
Two of my employees came from McPherson College in McPherson, Kansas where they invested their own time and money to study repair and restoration. Both hold a Bachelor of Science degree in Automotive Restoration Technology. The age of many of the people currently working in the industry are of the gray hair variety. My goal is to bring youth into this field, ensuring the craft will continue far beyond my years. Combining their knowledge with that of our ASE Master Certified Technician, Randy Sipes, I feel we have a solid team.