Tuesday, 31 July 2001 10:00

Would you rather send your customers to a dealership?

Written by Tom Slear

Bill Willix had a funny notion back in 1989. The former parts salesman had seen firsthand how much electronics had revolutionized the automotive repair industry. Technicians who could build distributors from a few scraps of plastic and old newspapers froze when they saw a computer chip. 

Friday, 31 January 2003 09:00

Suing the boss — a new national pasttime?

Written by Steven Schillinger and Robert Morris, Esq.

Employees are filing lawsuits against employers and supervisors in record numbers, alleging damages in excess of workers' compensation insurance for personal injuries. 

Sunday, 30 November 2003 09:00

Planning is essential to keep shops in business

Written by Mike Kunkel

As the end of the year rapidly approaches and people take time to evaluate their personal and financial situations, these are words to take to heart. Many of the salvage yards and repair facilities that I talk to are complaining that business is flat or down. The economy is having a tough time getting going and business has been better, but it has also been worse. One of the problems that I see is that people have difficulty shrinking their overhead to match the current sales volume of their business. 

Wednesday, 31 December 2003 09:00

Young, educated owners inspiring industry change

Written by Mike Kunkel

Thanksgiving… Come and gone. NACE…Come and gone. Hanukkah and Christmas…Come and gone. New Years…Come and gone. 

Monday, 31 May 2004 10:00

Importance of keeping a commitment to customers

Written by Jennifer Gray

"Community requires commitment." When I read this quote recently, I was struck head-on with the irony of how this applies to our business. How often do we make a commitment and actually follow through with it? Pure excitement persuades our signature to the dotted line, promising commitment, but follow-through is often lacking. 

Thursday, 30 September 2004 10:00

Two easy ways to enhance sales without really trying

Written by Hank Nunn

If you've ever been to one of those Body Shop Management seminars, you've probably seen the math: Sale - Cost = Profit. The speaker probably made a big deal out of it Those guys all act so smart explaining something so simple. Big deal. 

Monday, 28 February 2005 09:00

Locating reliable used parts forces issues of timeliness and quality

Written by Mike Kunkel

Like a lot of people, I know enough about the current computer technologies to break things and call someone who knows what to do to fix it for me. That is a major handicap to overcome in today's world where everyone is striving to go electronic for locating parts. 

Tuesday, 31 May 2005 10:00

Hidden financial crisis in the collision repair industry

Written by DJ Styles

Following are excerpts from a book that the author says will be published this summer: "Wrecked!" - a "tell-all" book about the collision industry. The author promises the book will explore innovative solutions and alternatives for shop owners to consider as a means of improving their probability for financial success.

Sunday, 31 July 2005 10:00

Underground collision repairers compete for totaled vehicles

Written by John Fischl

The news is not good. Total loss rates have more than doubled since 2002 and are continuing to rise. This translates into hundreds of millions of dollars in repairs and revenues that are no longer going to the collision repair industry in this country. 

Monday, 05 February 2007 07:08

So, what’s new?

Written by Sam Metz
James William Lambert is not a name any of us would recognize, but we owe Mr. Lambert a lot. Driving down the road, minding his business, Mr. Lambert hit a tree root, lost control and smashed his car into a hitching post, in Ohio City, Ohio. The year was 1891 and it was the first automobile accident in world history.
Tuesday, 28 February 2006 09:00

Random thoughts on disposition of storm damaged vehicles

Written by Mike Kunkel

My beloved Steelers have won the Super Bowl and, on a personal front, all seems right with the world. However, a number of articles concerning the disposition of flood cars from Hurricane Katrina are causing me some concern. 

Wednesday, 28 October 2009 02:18

Evans --- A Smaller Project Can Be Time or Budget Killer Without Precautions

Written by Rich Evans

I had what I thought was a small project, but it turned out to be harder than expected. Tom Foster is a buddy and a serious bike builder who’s been around for a couple of decades. He’s got a bike called an EVO HD Bushido that he’s building, and he came to me do the body and paint work.  

A couple of months ago I was approached by my buddies, Kevin and Victor, about making a unique trophy for this year’s charity Long Beach Car show. We wanted it to be unique and authentic and it occurred to me to use scraps and miscellaneous parts from around the shop.

Friday, 31 July 2009 10:00

Evans - Custom Chevy Bel-Air Headliner Shows Both Sides of Marilyn

Written by Rich Evans

At Huntington Beach Bodyworks, we recently began a new project: restoring a ’57 Chevy Bel-Air. In this article we will focus on the main ‘showpiece’ of this car, a custom airbrushed headliner. For this project I brought in airbrush artist Matt Van Wingerden after seeing some of his amazing mural and portrait work.

Monday, 06 July 2009 10:42

Evans --- Harley Tank Repainting, Same Color But Better—Lots of Steps

Written by Rich Evans

I’ve got a couple of Harley tanks that a customer wants to repaint. He’s had this paint job for 10 years and it’s got a couple cracks where the tank is leaking and the paint is starting to bubble up. He wants it done in the identical color using flames.

Monday, 08 June 2009 05:58

Evans --- The H2O Knight

Written by Rich Evans

This 2008 GT Mustang is going to be the first numbered car in a series. It’s also the first car I’ve done using a waterborne refinish, thanks to PPG’s Envirobase.®

Tuesday, 17 March 2009 06:32

Evans---Pneumatic Sanding Tips from Rich Evans

Written by Rich Evans

Rich Evans uses only Chicago Pneumatic orbital sanders, which he believes are the best orbital sanders on the market, to create award winning designs at Huntington Beach Bodyworks.

Wednesday, 28 January 2009 09:59

Evans---Dad's Truck

Written by Rich Evans

This month I will be discussing my father’s 1958 Chevy Pickup. The truck has a lot of history and sentimental value to my father. It was originally purchased in 1958 by my grandfather who was a farmer in Brighton, South Dakota. My father grew up and learned to drive in this truck and about 10 years ago, he was given the truck by my grandfather. It was still running and in decent shape, but after 50 years of service, it was in need of a fresh facelift. 

Friday, 19 December 2008 10:52

Evans---Rich Evans Produces Alignment Tool Kit to Make Car Reassembly Easier

Written by Rich Evans

Recently I was putting a completed project together – reinstalling the hood, deck lid, and doors. You don’t have to be in this business to know that no matter how meticulous you try to be, things usually don’t go back together as easily as it was to take them apart – especially with cars and even more so with a custom car. When you get a new project for custom paint and body work, you first mock up the car, break it down, do the custom body work and paint, clear it, buff it, and put the whole thing back together again.

Tuesday, 25 November 2008 06:48

Evans -- Easy to Perform Graphics Spice Up Two-tone Charger Hemi

Written by Rich Evans

This month, I thought that I would tell you about a recent project involving a new metallic silver Hemi Charger. This project wasn’t as complicated as some of our others and there were no custom fabrications, however, it was a very nicely upgraded vehicle that turned out beautifully.

Friday, 31 October 2008 02:39

Evans---Custom-Crafted Plexiglass Tops Add Individuality to Hotrods

Written by Rich Evans

So I thought we should talk about two projects that are different from our usual topics. One is a 1950 Chevy Coupe and the other is Gene Winfield’s own 1932 Roadster. We previously talked about bubble tops and how to form them using heating and forced air to create a bubble for a space-age type coupe. However, I believe that these particular projects will represent a process that could be more useful.

Tuesday, 02 September 2008 02:12

Evans---Retro Ideas and Modern Paint Technology Produce a Masterpiece

Written by Rich Evans

Here’s a good one for you. I recently finished a project at Huntington Beach Bodyworks that you might enjoy hearing about. It was a retro bobber-style chopper for Matt Hotch Designs. Matt Hotch is considered one of the most talented, original, and innovative motorcycle designers alive today. He is also one of the biggest stars of the popular “Biker Build Off” television series and will be appearing again in its next season.

Saturday, 02 August 2008 04:00

Racing Against Time, Corvette Gets Show-stopping Restoration

Written by Rich Evans
This month’s project was to do a complete restoration of a 1972 Corvette Convertible to be given away at the 2008 ISN Tool Dealer Expo, held in Orlando, Florida. The challenge: this five to eight month job had to be done in five weeks! Luckily with a lot of hard work, little sleep, and help from my sponsors, our five-week deadline was met and our project was delivered on time to the ISN Tool Expo.
Monday, 07 July 2008 04:38

The Never-Ending Journey to Conquer Rust

Written by Rich Evans
One job that is never ending in the body and paint business is rust repair. Since our love of automobiles started us out in the business, we began restoring anything we could get our hands on. I restored my first car—a 1968 Chevy Nova—way back when I was just a little kid. The first step with every restoration, whether it’s a professional or personal project, is identifying the level of rust damage.
Saturday, 31 May 2008 10:00

Late Custom Chopper Artist Honored with Airbrushed Memorial Tank

Written by Rich Evans

When I decided to add a custom motorcycle department to my medieval-themed shop, the first name that came to mind was Johnny Chop. What I liked immediately about him was his reputation for being an actual craftsman and not just a builder. He already had ties to Huntington Beach, so  it seemed like a good idea to at least approach him to get his thoughts. Once we met and ironed out some details, Johnny moved his bikes to the shop and joined our Huntington Beach Bodyworks crew.

Wednesday, 30 April 2008 10:00

Beating the Clock: Bare Metal Prep for a Chopper

Written by Rich Evans

Going through my photo gallery the other day, I came across a project that I’m surprised I have not written about yet. It was such an interesting project, I should have gone into detail about it a long time ago.

Thursday, 10 April 2008 06:40

Quality Paint Suits Factor into Perfect Finishes

Written by Rich Evans

Okay, let’s talk a little bit about a subject every painter encounters. It’s not one of the best aspects of the job, because it’s often very uncomfortable. I’m talking about all the gear we have to wear to keep us clean and keep the paint job as smooth as possible. Unfortunately it’s an absolute necessity.

Sunday, 02 March 2008 04:12

Blowing Plexiglass Bubble Top For Long-Lost Mystery Hot Rod

Written by Rich Evans

Our story begins in 1963 with Bill Cushenbery and his Silhouette hot rod. Cushenbery was an extremely talented car customizer in the same era as George Barris. Although they were competing car customizers in Hollywood, the two did collaborate on a certain car—you may have heard of the Batmobile?

Thursday, 31 January 2008 09:00

Hot Rod Flatz Black Paint Job Completes Show Car Project

Written by Rich Evans
Last month we officially ended the Hardcore Knight project without ever really addressing the paint job. Since it is the first thing you notice on this car, it bears some attention.
Monday, 31 December 2007 09:00

From plug to prototype: Making a Mold For Custom Parts

Written by Rich Evans

Last month’s article discussed creating plugs. You should have a polished and finished prototype plug, ready to make molds.

This process is similar to the plug process, since we use the same materials, steps, and techniques. The mold is an exact mirror image of the plug and is what will be used to reproduce new prototype parts over and over again.


Friday, 30 November 2007 09:00

Fabricating Parts Requires Plugs, Molds and Limitless Imagination

Written by Rich Evans

In last month’s article, I talked about our race against the clock to complete the customizing of the Ford Mustang GT in time for SEMA. Now that the dust has cleared, I’ll explain in more detail the mock-up procedure for our new parts, including how our plugs were made.

Wednesday, 31 October 2007 10:00

Same Game, New Level with the Hardcore Knight Project

Written by Rich Evans
The clock on the Huntington Beach Bodyworks web site is counting down to SEMA. Did I bite off more than I can chew when committing to such a large project with a SEMA deadline?
Sunday, 30 September 2007 10:00

CP Air Compressor Give Away at SEMA 2007

Written by Rich Evans

The Chicago Pneumatic Quiet Rotary Screw Air Compressor is what we use here at Huntington Beach Bodyworks to power everything from tools and airbrushes to inflating tires, painting and cleaning. Designed to work 24 hours a day, seven days a week, it pays for itself in short order.

Friday, 31 August 2007 10:00

Quick Cut Sanders Make Paint Finishing a Snap

Written by Rich Evans

When the automobile was first mass produced, it spawned several different industries, including our own auto body industry. No sooner did cars come off the assembly line, then individuals began souping them up and changing their appearance – bringing forth the custom auto body industry as well.

Tuesday, 31 July 2007 10:00

Making aftermarket parts work for your project

Written by Rich Evans

If you are repairing an older vehicle or restoring a classic car, it is not always possible to obtain an OEM part or the cost may be prohibitive. This is where aftermarket parts can really help a lot. As you know, OEM parts are those made by the original manufacturer of the parts your vehicle came with. Aftermarket parts include everything outside of that – made by an independent manufacturer who intended the part to work the same way as the original.

Tuesday, 03 July 2007 08:30

If a set of brand new jet skis are not flashy enough add some airbrushing

Written by Rich Evans

    A recent project we had at the shop involved a group of six, sit-down Sea-Doo jet skis. The client wanted to enhance the brand new skis with graphics and artwork. The jet skis shared a common theme, each one with its own variation on the design. The layout included an art piece up front and a smaller one at the rear, with fire throughout.

Monday, 04 June 2007 09:44

The weeklong sleep deprived marathon challenge

Written by Rich Evans
    Here at the Huntington Beach Bodyworks, we’ve done our share of rigs. The Meguiar’s big rigs have been the most popular, of course. There have been several others, including my own trailer complete with the works- skulls, skeletons, flames, and all. But even with all these projects in the past, we could not have predicted the challenge that was yet to come.
 Active Image
 The finished rim.

    One of the easiest ways to customize any vehicle is with a new set of rims. In recent years it has become popular to purchase rims with centers that match your paint and a nice chrome finish on the lip of the rim.
    If the style or brand of rim is not offered with a painted center or if the color of the center is not what you want, custom painting is the solution. Whether you choose to customize a particular set of rims on the market or decide to enhance rims you already own, both can be prepped and painted. A recent customer wanted black centers and airbrushed skulls on the center caps of his brand new set of rims, and the following steps describe how this was accomplished.




Thursday, 05 April 2007 07:20

Seamless look in modified and custom painted Supra

Written by Rich Evans
 In a massive undertaking that spanned the course of a few months, the staff at Huntington Beach Bodyworks recently completed a 1995 Toyota Supra that required an entire, from-the-ground-up build. Toyota Supra has been a very popular project car for the past decade or so due to its lightweight appeal, good looks and high horsepower potential.
Monday, 05 March 2007 08:11

Custom painting adds flair to helmets

Written by Rich Evans

Applying custom graphics and artwork to helmets can sometimes be a little troublesome. Helmets can be just as time consuming, if not more, as painting a motorcycle tank. This is because with helmets there are many more parts and materials that need to be masked and protected.

Friday, 03 October 2008 05:04

Evans---Legendary Hot Rodder Demonstrates Blending Techniques

Written by Rich Evans

A couple of weeks back I had the opportunity to host a workshop“The First Ever Auto Painting Workshop with Gene Winfield,” sponsored by The College for Appraisers, Alsa Paints, and DeVilbiss Automotive. It was a great time hosting and watching a master at work—Winfield, my good friend and mentor. I’ve learned a lot from Gene and been fortunate enough to receive his skills and experience on some of our Huntington Beach Bodyworks builds. What’s really amazing is that Gene just turned 81 years old and shows no sign of slowing down.

Friday, 31 March 2006 09:00

Skipping steps in repair procedures can lead to problems

Written by Rich Evans

A common problem that often gums up the works of the collision repair process is the customer with a near-impossible deadline. Even if the needed repairs are second nature, the time deadline can interfere with performing established shop procedures and the technician's better judgment. 

Friday, 30 June 2006 10:00

Keys to getting the job done - creating graphics on vehicles

Written by Rich Evans

A few years ago my shop flamed a Corvette convertible. It was a black 'vette with yellow pearl flames. Recently a client, who saw the car in a show on the East Coast, wanted to buy the 'vette, but it had already been sold. He proceeded to purchase a 1998 Corvette convertible and have it shipped directly to my shop - Huntington Beach Bodyworks. 

Monday, 31 July 2006 10:00

Start with a stencil; create a custom airbrush design

Written by Rich Evans

Almost two years ago, I decided to design some helpful tools for the custom paint industry, primarily focusing on the automotive airbrushing profession. Having been involved with airbrush artists since I dove into the custom paint industry many years ago, I've watched the profession evolve first hand. 

Thursday, 31 August 2006 10:00

A guide to creating a show-stopping finish

Written by Rich Evans

Do you have a project car that has been sandblasted down to bare metal and needs a spectacular finish? To explain in detail the complete process of transforming a bare metal vehicle into a show quality finish, the project I'm breaking down is a 1956 Chevy Bel Air Convertible. 

Saturday, 30 September 2006 10:00

Putting graphics on a big rig

Written by Rich Evans

One project that has brought me a lot of recognition, and was most rewarding as well, has to be the Meguiar's big rigs. At the Super Chevy Show in 2002, I displayed one of my skulled out trucks which caught the attention of Meguiar's driver John. He later approached me and explained that Meguiar's had just recently purchased two new big rigs and were looking for the right person to lay down the custom graphics. Mike Kennedy of Meguiar's asked me for an estimate or quote for the job - typical procedure for a paint shop. 

Tuesday, 16 January 2007 08:58

QRS air compressors offer many advantages over reciprocating compressors

Written by Rich Evans

I recently added the Chicago Pneumatic QRS Quiet Rotary Screw air compressor to my shop because of its quiet operation, smooth and pulse-free air output, compact size, high output volume, low vibration, prolonged service intervals, and long life.

Monday, 15 January 2007 06:48

Using autobody painting techniques to apply graphics to a speedboat

Written by Rich Evans

While working on a radically custom '56 Chevy Hardtop called the Black Knight, I called upon Todd Oneal of Bassani Exhaust to collaborate with me on a very extreme exhaust system.

Wednesday, 10 January 2007 09:20

Airbrushing the graphics on the Meguiars rigs

Written by Rich Evans

 By Rich Evans

{mosimage}After all the plotting, back masking, priming and prepping, it is finally time to paint the flames on the Meguiar's rigs, with a focus on the airbrushing techniques of Huntington Beach Bodyworks' master artist Terry Stephens.

Tuesday, 02 September 2008 08:58

Barons in the Buff 2008: Insurers & Their Partners Expose Themselves

Written by Dick Strom

It’s time for the latest installment of Barons In The Buff, a collage of candid quotes from the mind-trust of insurance personnel, those who once walked in their shoes, and from those of us who know them all too well. We trust you will find these quotes educational and entertaining, and encourage you to send us any notable quotes. Remember, the truth is always “stranger than fiction.”

Saturday, 02 August 2008 03:51

Safe and Quality Repairs: Putting Profit Back Into Repair Process

Written by Dick Strom
Co-written with Mike Orso

A major conundrum shop owners face today is the fact that, contrary to what insurers espouse, all collision repairs are not created equal. The lack of true standards in the repair of collision damaged vehicles leaves the potential for improper or substandard repair up to the discretion of the shop or the insurance company paying for the repair.
Monday, 07 July 2008 06:09

Body Shop Vacation: Impressions From a Month in France

Written by Dick Strom

For those collision repairers with your noses constantly to the grind wheel, I’d like to depart from my regular format and point out that there is more to life than that found in the shop. Left to me, my wife and I would probably never have spent a month touring France by car. But Bobbi never lost her “wanderlust” as a military brat of a career Marine and so we were off to France, Rick Steves’ handy travel guides in hand. Here are some impressions of our trip to the motherland of the Impressionist Movement. 

Wednesday, 02 April 2008 03:03

Nightmare Lays Out Worse Case Scenarios for Insurer Partners

Written by Dick Strom

I awoke in a cold sweat as from past nightmares, relieved that this particular nightmare didn’t have a direct bearing on my life. It certainly did affect the lives of others. I forced myself to remember every detail so the dream would not fade away. 

Friday, 29 February 2008 09:00

Is New Legislation the Answer to Shop Woes?

Written by Dick Strom

A cartoon I remember from the '60s pictured a young couple getting it on in a grassy field. What made it memorable was the expression on the face of the guy as his female partner of the moment, stoically looked up into his eyes, saying something like "I’m doing this for nuclear disarmament, free love, and world peace… What are you doing this for?"

Monday, 31 December 2007 09:00

How Foxy Todd Fox Was Outfoxed by Elements of His Own Devices

Written by Dick Strom
The old Eagles song, Hotel California, has lyrics that once heard, reverberate in the brain for days. It’s ironic how well the lyrics of Hotel California describe the corner into which so many in the collision industry have painted themselves, how they got there, and how they can possibly get out.
Friday, 30 November 2007 09:00

Barons in the Buff 2007

Written by Dick Strom
Active Image
Dick Strom 

It’s time for the latest installment of Barons In The Buff, a collage of candid quotes from the mind-trust of insurance personnel, those who once walked in their shoes, and from those of us who know them all too well. We trust you will find these quotes educational and entertaining, and encourage you to send any notable quotes you’ve received to my e-mail listed above. No fabricated or embellished quips, please: the truth is always “stranger than fiction.”


Wednesday, 31 October 2007 10:00

Profiling - How Do Vehicle Owners Categorize You?

Written by Dick Strom

For years my wife and I have been cleaning up the roadside where we live. One major reason we do this is for the exercise it provides… a couple miles of brisk walking plus back and knee bending that keeps us fairly limber despite arthritis issues. Generally speaking, on the relatively upscale, bedroom community of Seattle island where we live, what little trash along our road is Starbucks cups, McDonalds wrappers and plastic salad containers, cigarette wrappers and butts, an occasional beer can or pop bottle, some of those little liquor bottles from plane flights (someone down our road obviously works for an airline), and an occasional syringe. The roads around our home are frequented by spandex-covered bicyclists with their butts high in the air expressing, I can only assume,  their opinion of the rest of us. 

Sunday, 30 September 2007 10:00

Defining Industry Accepted Standards

Written by Dick Strom

The term – industry accepted standards – is used by both insurers and repairers as it serves their purposes to earn the consumer’s trust. Industry accepted standards, relative to collision repair, is the feel-good lure of choice – cast out to convince the gullible.