It’s a hot afternoon in Warrenton, VA---even hotter if you are under the hood of a car or beneath the car itself.
Auto body shop bays tend to be that way. The equipment is noisy. The air is dusty. The work is hard. The hands of the body shop workers wielding the tools are greasy, their overalls gritty.
At Boggs Body, nestled in a hub of auto repair and restoration garages on South Fifth Street, owners James Boggs and Nick Papanicolas take a break. Their faces drip with sweat as they reach for bottles of water or pause to stand in front of a large, industrial fan.
Today, there are two cars in the bay. One is being painted a hot red, the other a hot blue.
“Our bread and butter is collision work,” says Boggs, a Fauquier native and a guy who has been working on cars for more than three decades.
“Yeah, I’ve been crawling around for years … look at my knees,” he says of his hard and calloused kneecaps, evidence of time spent kneeling on cement or scraps under a chassis.
But for Boggs, it’s a love affair with all things cars, going back to the days when he and his brothers worked on hot rods on the weekends, raced or went to car shows.
He started at Rick Hunt Ford in 1988, which led to a long stint with Warrenton Auto Service. But in July of 2011, he opened his own shop. While healing bended fenders, damaged doors and electrical systems are their staples, restoring older cars is their passion.
“They’re my babies,” he says affectionately of the cars he has restored over the years. Much more than metal, these driving machines stir up memories and speak to a lifestyle that, if you aren’t into collectibles, you probably just don’t get.
One man who totally gets it is Rick Haines, a Fauquier businessman, regular customer and current owner of three vintage automobiles. With a 1967 Chevelle SS and a 1973 Plymouth Roadrunner at home, Haines didn’t hesitate to call on Boggs Body when he looked to restore his 1963 Impala SS.