Dreamwheels and Metrocruise are all about the classic cars, but if you’re anything like most people, you absolutely love looking at them and have no idea what you would do if you had to fix one up. Fortunately, Steve’s Antique Auto Repair, at 1803 Farragut St SW in Wyoming, is here to help. Steve’s Antique Auto Repair is a licensed auto repair facility with full engine rebuilding capabilities. Its certified mechanics specialize in restoring vehicles 1972 and older.
“We bought [the garage] as just a hobby box for dad and I,” said Steve Sturim. “This is where we had kept our personal collection and we were working on our own vehicles and then nights and weekends on customers’ cars.”
For nearly 25 years, Steve and his father Rick have maintained and fully restored cars. Their business is thriving, fueled by classic car enthusiasts, automotive clubs and folks who simply appreciate a bygone era.
Car restoration isn’t for the faint of heart — or those short on patience. It requires meticulous attention to detail and an ability to ferret out parts that haven’t been on the market for decades. If you can’t find the parts, you must be able to improvise and craft them yourself.
And, it’s far more involved than simply making a vehicle’s exterior look pretty. A full-factory restoration involves replacing just about every part on the car with a newer, better working one — from dashboard gauges to the lining of the trunk walls.
Diehard restorers — like Steve and Rick — aim to be as historically accurate as they can to make the car look precisely the way it did the day it rolled off the assembly line.
Father and son enter their lovingly restored classics in several different auto shows throughout the country. Last year, their 16,000-mile, 1928 Ford Model A Business Coupe — judged in the original class at the Model A Restorers Club national meet in Perrysburg, Ohio — scored 490 of a possible 500 points.
The 1928 Ford Model A Phaeton, serial number A495, was the 495th Model A ever built. Somehow, Steve managed to acquire the original engine block — amazing, when you think about it — then rebuilt the complete engine and made several chassis component restorations.
From humble beginnings — working nights and weekends — to working full time, Steve’s and Rick’s business is now a full-fledged restoration garage that services cars from all over the Midwest. While the cars may be old, they’re each unique in what makes them tick.
“How many different engineers had different thoughts on how something should work?” Sturim mused. “As more automakers came out and more cars were designed and such like that, everyone had their own idea. They weren’t just cookie cutters. And that’s what I’ve learned and I’m relearning their engineering and them saying, ‘We’re going to design it this way and have it function this way.’ OK, well I have to learn why did they do that, why did they choose that, and then how am I going to repair it?”
That continued passion for learning has given Steve a reason to do what he loves.
“I don’t see these as antique cars, I see these as cars and machines and my passion,” said Sturim. “I see them as machines. If I wasn’t doing this, I’d be living under a bridge someplace.”
Make sure to check out the “DreamWheels” show which will be broadcasting live Saturday, Aug. 27 from 6 – 7:30 p.m. at Pal’s Diner, 6503 28th St. SE, and Rogers Plaza, 972 28th St. SW. The show will air Saturday, Sept. 3, at 7 p.m. on WKTV Channel 25.
Listen to Shift & Steer’s interview with Steve on December 23, 2015 (start at 34:45).