The Restorian - Chris cerce customs
With Chris, there is no miraculous or triumphant story of overcoming hardships or significant setbacks. It is a story of hard work, long hours, and meeting goal after goal. He pushes to get to the next level with no time for complacency. Something that fewer and fewer people seem to understand these days.
The alarm sings early, coffee brews, and both Chris and his dog are excited for the day ahead. Enthusiasm runs rampant as they both head off to the shop to prepare the schedule. Arriving before his crew allows him to assign tasks, place parts orders, and prep his fabrication for the day to come.
The shop sits within an old mill building. No signage to distinguish itself, no over the top neon lights. The flashy bits all lie within the bricks of the building. From the street, you would never know what is behind the walls. Once you have stepped thru the threshold, you'll feel as if you've uncovered a Jubilee diamond mine. Shiny and bright polished and unpolished the panels and parts jump out at you. I could get lost within the paint on the hood of a 56 Lincoln Continental project. It's depth of gloss, and sheer size must have had hours of labor put into it. There are no cut corners here. There is precision. There is passion. There are standards to meet. All reflected in the paint that Chris lays down or the welds he ignites.
I have been lucky enough to visit Chris's shop close to a dozen times, always filled with excellent motoring discussion. I often ask questions of how's and why's. I quickly learned that the level of craftsmanship and fabrication runs deep within the confines of his shop. They are always striving to find the best combination of products, the best steps of laying down a particular color. The process of fabrication and restoration takes time. Some projects are unpredictable. However, the results are marvelous. So marvelous that clients often schedule second or third projects before the first is even complete. Nowadays, the shop's schedule is packed. When I sat down to interview Chris on the podcast, there was a two-year waiting list.
The projects continue to grow and become more in-depth. A particular Camaro came in for a minor refresh. Some fresh paint turned into paint and wheels. Then an interior, and now it sits awaiting a full-blown motor upgrade with a laundry list of additional updates. The proof of repeat customers and continuous work speaks loudly for what Chris and his crew create.
All of that hard work pays off and does translate to fun and enjoyment. In what form do the fun and entertainment come? That is by way of Chris's 1992 Chevrolet Camaro. To be honest I personally never liked them, I had always associated the third generation Camaro's with a particular haircut or the sound of exhaust leaks coming from the six-cylinder-powered, rusted, louvered and faded paint beasts. I was wrong, so so wrong. Thankfully people like Chris exist to steer me in the right direction. Showing me that this platform can make a German car lover like myself question why I never gave this generation Camaro a chance. It is far more than mullets, large gold chains, and tracksuits.
Simplicity and flow bring this Camaro together. The black paint will attract you at first then you'll notice subtle additions like Corvette wheels and brakes. The not so subtle exhaust dump through the front fender is one giveaway that this third generation Camaro is more than fresh paint.
The car came to Chris in much rougher shape. "It was a beat up project car that barely ran," Says Chris. It was supposed to be a small project — something to hold him over while he works on his 32 Ford for the next few years. As with most craftsman, he couldn't leave well enough alone. The car was gutted then brought down to the bare metal, and fresh paint was laid down. Custom turbo piping fabricated to serve a dual purpose, integral to the vehicle running yes but also serving as a showcase piece to highlight what Chris Cerce Customs is capable of creating. This fun "small" project had turned into an attention-grabbing shop car!
When it comes to Chris and his crew, there are no cut corners. Being in the shop allowed me to witness the communication and decisions on how to attack the next piece of fabrication. The discussion of how to do something is open and constant. All are working together to achieve the best possible outcome for their customer. The pride and comradery is a breath of fresh air. It not only shows that the spirit of motoring is alive and well but also the tried and true statement that hard work pays off.
I am excited to see what Chris and his crew bring to life in the future. They will continue to give life to the cars of our past and hopefully spark generations to come to work hard and follow their passion.
Want to check out more from Chris Cerce Customs?
@Chris_Cerce_Customs - On Instagram
Or go check out his website:
Be sure to check out his interview on The Revival Motoring Podcast!