THE SHOP

March '19

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MARCH 2019 THE SHOP 51 such as Tri-Power carburetion and Ram Air induction made Pontiacs the darlings of drag racers. Many Pontiacs were driven all week and drag-raced on weekends, which wore them out. But the drag racers knew how to take a car apart and put it back together, so Pontiac restorations began to happen more and more. GM's discontinuation of Pontiac in 2010 also inspired more and more owners to take their cars to shops that could either make them go fast again or make them look new again. A unique aspect of the Pontiac restoration niche are shops that are best- known for specialized engine rebuilding, rather than for complete car overhauls. PONTIAC SHOPS If you type Pontiac Restoration Shops into a computer search engine, dozens of com- panies that do general restoration work will pop up. Most of these are fine businesses that can do a good job of restoring any type of car. Dig deeper, however, and you'll discover a collection of shops that go to work every day restoring and reviving classic Pontiacs. Old Stillwater Garage The Old Stillwater Garage is a shop that is definitely in that niche. Located in the rural northwestern part of New Jersey, the shop specializes in working on Pontiacs. Shop owner Lou Calasibetta turns out both 100-percent original concours-quality restorations and custom cars that have been featured in numerous national magazines. The current shop was established in 1980 and today handles all aspects of vehicle restoration, except the re-trimming of inte- riors and chrome plating. "We do things the old-fashioned way," is the shop's motto. Calasibetta's introduction to the old-car hobby in the 1970s reflected his personal interest in Pontiacs. A famous customized 1960 Pontiac called the Golden Indian came to the shop in very sad shape and left looking like the day it left the Alex- ander Brothers' custom shop in Detroit in the 1960s. Calasibetta loves working on cars, but continues to be heavily involved in the hobby end of things as well. "This cozy garage-style shop has hosted many car club cruise-ins and other func- tions," he points out. "The vintage atmo- sphere soothes the minds of many old-car buffs and makes us all remember way back to when American car culture was cool." In 2010, Calasibetta was elected to the Kustom Kemps of America (KKOA) car builders Hall of Fame. Contact The Old Stillwater Garage at (973) 383-2001. Butler Performance of Tennessee opened its new engine shop in 2015. A Pontiac performance V-8 gets tested on Butler's dynamometer. Butler's shop features a large retail area. The Butler engine shop is whistle-clean

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