December '18

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42 THE SHOP DECEMBER 2018 his is an anniversary year for Mike Freund and his shop Classics Plus Ltd. in North Fond du Lac, Wisconsin. Pic- tures of cars he's finished over the past 30 years line the walls of his mem- orabilia-decorated office in a 40-by-120-foot building next to the railroad tracks. "We counted 129 or 130 cars on that wall," Freund says with a large smile. "There was a lot of blood, sweat and tears poured into each of those cars and we worked on them for a lot of long hours for a lot of years." Freund opened Classics Plus Ltd. in 1988 after working as an auto mechanic, a gro- cery store clerk and a car shop employee. "I think I've been into cars since the day I was born," he notes. "My dad and his brother were heavy into cars and one thing just led to another and here we are." In addition to restoration work, Clas- sics Plus Ltd. offers several specialties to car builders and other professional shops. "We do polishing of stainless steel auto trim and steering wheel restoration," Freund explains. "And custom painting, which is my absolute favorite. I love doing custom paintwork and painting stuff that you don't normally see on other cars. I love doing stuff that doesn't fit in. When you see our cars, you'll know our cars and you'll remember our cars. You may not like them, but you're sure going to remember them." WITH A TWIST Freund said he's not into normal, same- old-same-old builds. "I mean, all of the cars out there are awe- some cars, but after a while it gets boring looking at the same old black '57 Chevy hardtop. They're beautiful in their own right, but when there's a million of them out there you want to see something a little different." Kalifornia Kustom cars and Tri-Five Chevy gassers fill the Classics Plus Ltd. shop ( Freund's dad, Dick Freund, worked at Mercury Marine when owner Carl Kiekhaefer ran a NASCAR team racing '55 Chevys, Mer- curys and Chrysler 300s. His uncle Bob was a hot rodder, and Mike developed a love for postwar clas- sics. He was only 19 when he painted his first car—a '67 Chevelle. Mike Freund realized that he had the ambition and talent to restore and modify cars. As his reputation grew in the Fond du Lac area, he started building cars for friends. In 1988, he opened Classics Plus Ltd. Freund's first major customer project was a '56 Chevrolet Bel Air two-door hardtop that he did as a total, ground-up resto- ration. The business then moved to its present location on Lakeshore Drive in North Fond du Lac in 1990. By John Gunnell Something a Little Different Restoring cars with a twist has kept Classic Plus Ltd. in business for 30 years. Many great cars have come out of this 4,800-square- foot building over the past three decades. A current '57 Chevy project. A '55 Chevy coupe heads for the gasser treatment.

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