October '21

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40 THE SHOP OCTOBER 2021 interiors for Chevrolet, Corvette, Ford, Pontiac and Volkswagen models. All interiors are USA-made in-house from raw materials in a 100,000-square-foot facility. Reps travels to many shows, setting up product display booths. In addi- tion to seat covers, the company sells dash pads, door panels and convert- ible tops—which can be installed at car shows. Performing installs at events turned out to be a great selling tool for the reproduction interiors that Al Knoch turns out. The team sets up a temporary, onsite trim shop, and the installs increase Al Knoch's sales while saving the customer money at the same time in most cases. In addition, the action serves as a pro- motional and learning tool, as show- goers get to enjoy watching how experts do auto trim work. Many spectators go home and tell other car collectors about the installs. The install sessions are set up in advance by contacting Al Knoch and arranging to meet at a specific show. Typically, the shows where installs are done are larger events. When we spoke to company repre- sentatives at the Corvette Funfest in Effingham, Illinois a few years ago, they said they were doing 12 shows a year at the time. BEND CARDS & VINTAGE EXHAUSTS Antigo Auto Parts ( is a parts store in Antigo, Wisconsin that dates back to 1942. The compa- ny's massive collection of bend cards for exhausts systems goes back even further than that. Antigo Auto Parts found that classic car owners have trouble finding orig- inal exhaust parts, and replacements often have to be custom-bent. In the back shop, Bob Andes uses a 15-year- old Huth pipe bender to make old car exhaust systems that he ships all over the country. If a customer's car isn't covered by Antigo's massive collection of bend cards, he or she can make a pattern with copper tubing or even hanger wire, mail it to Andes and he'll copy it. "If they bend it to match the approx- imate center of the pipe, I can make them an exhaust system," he explains. "If we bend up a system from my pat- tern cards and it doesn't fit, we'll take it back; if a customer's bent wire pattern is off, then it's their responsibility." Andes has bent pipes with his trusty Huth pipe bender for over a decade. His boss once went to a trade show and bought a computerized bender for $40,000. Andes says it was great for Big Ideas Bob Andes of Antigo Auto Parts bends old-car exhausts and sells them via mail order. With a good collection of parts catalogs, Antigo Auto Parts can find old exhaust hangers. With his pattern cards and drawings, Andes can reproduce stock exhausts back to 1940. Jim Gunderson (black sweater) inspects parts repaired by another shop he works with. Consultants like Guy Henson (plaid shirt) often help out at Classic Customs and Rods.

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