|Friday Tour Time!|
One very cool car restoration shop is not too far from NMS-North, just down the road in Norfolk Virginia. The Fantom Works shop does all kinds of incredible restorations and builds on a daily basis, which you can see on their show on Velocity. FantomWorks
And the link to the FantomWorks TV Show on Velocity: FW on Velocity
(Editor Note: Since posting this story, the FantomWorks team have added more tours and started charging for the tour, so check their website for the latest info!)
|Dan Short Talks Cars with Fans|
In fact, they are so popular that they open up the shop to free tours every Friday afternoon, and that's what I did yesterday. How was it you ask? In a word: HOLY CRAP! OK, so that's two words and an exclamation point, but that sums up the huge amount of cool stuff I saw on the tour!
|1971 Toyota Land Cruiser|
The coolest part was that we started with an hour or so conversation with the owner and star of the show, Dan Short. He shared some great stories and true facts behind the scenes of not only a TV show, but the actual day to day workings of being in the auto restoration business. Dan comes across as a genuine hard working car guy, and I appreciated the amount of time he spent with visitors to his shop. One of the best things he said was that after restoring thousands of cars, he knows that his shop has the tools and know-how to fix any car, but what he can't fix is some of the owners! If you've ever worked in customer service, or talked to more than 1 person from outside your family that can be difficult to deal with, you probably know what I'm talking about! Dan had some great tales about customers that were just expecting the shop to fix everything to perfection, even when the customer didn't ask for it in the first place.
|Ford Truck, Cadillac|
OK, as far as the tour, just picture a 60,000 square foot building that wanders around and has space for a body shop, paint shop, woodworking shop, metal shop, a small foundry, wiring and trim area, cars all over the place, 30 plus people working away, and it's all in an old building that must have been a factory or industrial workshop of some kind in the previous 100 years. Throw in some renovated areas and lots of old auto memorabilia, plus a lot of cool cars being worked on, and then you've got it. Better yet, just watch an episode of Fantom Works on Velocity and see the real place! During the tours you can only take pictures in a few areas. Otherwise I'd have taken some photos of at least the Amphicar, two Aston Martins (a Rapide and a Vantage), Citroen, 60s California Special Mustang (new motor), motorcycles, karts, planes, boats, a 60s Ferrari with a NART badge, a Bricklin, and way more nice cars. For the best view of the shop, take the tour, or check out their slide show at this part of their website: SLIDE SHOW
Seriously car fans, if you're in the Norfolk area, drop by on a Friday afternoon and take the tour yourself, we rate it 10 out of 10, and it's my favorite flavor: FREE! I've heard that some people come to the Tidewater area to visit the ocean, the boardwalk, eat saltwater taffy, see lighthouses, visit Fort Monroe, Williamsburg, Yorktown, and Jamestown, but I think a true car fan will put the Fantom Works tour at the top of their list!
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