Be sure to check out Sam's Garage Radio Show at https://www.facebook.com/ShadetreeSam
To view the restoration of this 1967 Coronet, please visit this page on the MCR website
The magazine article featuring Greg's Coronet is available online at the publisher's website. You can find it by following this link to their website
Click the photograph above to hear from the customer of a '61 Ranchero restored at MCR. To see photographs of the entire restoration of this car follow this link.
Click the photograph above to hear from the customer of a '68 Charger restored at MCR. To see photographs of the entire restoration of this car follow this link.
Click the photograph above to hear from the customer of a '70 Challenger restored at MCR. To see photographs of the entire restoration of this car follow this link.
Click the photograph above to hear from the customer of a '70 Cuda restored at MCR. To see photographs of the entire restoration of this car follow this link.
Click the photograph above to hear from the customer of a '78 Camaro restored at MCR. To see photographs of the entire restoration of this car follow this link.
Muscle Car Restorations has been featured in Chrysler Power magazine since some of the first issues. Click the photo above to hear some words from the editor regarding MCR.
Click the photograph above to hear from the customer of a '67 GTO undergoing final assembly here at MCR. To see photographs of the entire restoration of this car follow this link. Great car!
People are asking me to pull over to look at the car. It took 45 minutes just to get out pf the parking lot at one of our favorite hamburger stops.
You guys are the best. The car gets AAAA from everyone moving or sitting still
Thank you and your whole staff. I am ready for the next dream.
Follow this link to view photographs of the entire restoration on Dale's Charger!
Please click the photograph above to view the exit survey, testimonial, a magazine shoot video, and the sign board for this awesome Road Runner!
Thanks for the follow up call. Please share this with your staff.
The car looks, sounds, and smells beyond what I have imagined or dreamed of. I am sure it will drive to the same level. Pictures do not do the car justice. Words cannot do it justice either. I can't wait to see it in the sunlight. The finished product shows what a high level of devotion, passion, and care you and your staff has for this rare craft.
I shared a story with your staff today. I have a customer that is a huge gun collector. He has some very nice and rare weapons. I have bought several hunting guns from him. Call the PR purchases. He has seen pictures of the car in restoration and frequently asks about progress. He was in yesterday and just flat out asked how much I had invested. I told him probably the same as he has in his gun collection. He was stunned and said I could get 3 cars for that. Well, I can only drive one at time and he can only shoot one gun at a time. Besides, there is only one like this Charger and nothing else I would rather drive.
Of course the conversation steered towards, "Could you sell it for what you have in it?" He was shocked when I said, "It doesn't matter." I stated, "I wouldn't take twice as much and don't know what number would cause me to give the car up. Barring a personal financial disaster that is." Memories and dreams are priceless.
John Mai, the owner of an MCR restored custom 1964 Belvedere, shares his restoration experience. You can watch this video testimonial by clicking image above.
To see photographs of the entire restoration of this car follow this link. Great car!
Rich Nedbal from FAST Man EFI in California recently traveled to Wisconsin for product support and training here at MCR. Rich, the professor of EFI, also manufacturs the cross ram fuel injection kits used here at MCR. He took some time give his impression on our company based on his travels around the country, and to promote the FAST EFI systems, an MCR prefered supplier. Click the image above to hear from Rich and be sure to check out the FAST man website at fastmanefi.com.
I really believe that your shop may be the best business in terms of quality and service that I have ever encountered. The fact that any deviation from perfect is handled by you personally and with obvious pride in the product and concern for the customer experience and value is remarkable. I work on billion dollar contracts (I test aircraft for the Navy) on a daily basis and the contractors I deal with apparently have no concept of responsibility for their product. To those guys, the idea of having guys figure out the problem and spending time with me resolving the issue without another check in the mail is foreign! We do have some decent contractors but you can be sure that I'll be using you as an example the next time I talk to Bell Helicopter and some others!
Thanks again, Jerry
I am the exceedingly delighted owner of a 1969 Road Runner 383 completely restored - literally from the frame up - by Muscle Car Restorations. The car is now front-page-magazine material, restored to a state that it never realized when it left the Chrysler factory in September of '68. The paint, done in the original factory colors, is so buffed, so polished that one can literally read the writing on the edge of an overhead fluorescent bulb in the paint on the car's hood. The chrome glistens on a car that is so detailed the work extends to inside the cigarette lighter - you know the part you'll never see unless a judge decides to pull it out for the heck of it. While I was putting air in the white-lettered radial tires at a local gas station, a station customer pumping gas walked up to me, tapped me on the shoulder and said he had never seen a straighter car in his life. You can lay a ruler across the door and the side panels and the ruler lays absolutely flat.
Of course, don't simply take my word for it. The proof lays in the winning, so to speak. Two major, judged car shows entered - the World of Wheels in St. Paul, Minn. and the World of Wheels in Chicago - and two trophies to show for it, including 'Best of show' for the car's class in St. Paul. My neighbor, who owns his own restored, classic Mopar - a Dodge Dart, checked out my car earlier today and said this: "The restoration on my car (Dart) is excellent. Everything, including the paint job, is quality work. But, in no way does it compare to this car (the Road Runner). In fact, this may well be the best restoration I have ever seen."
That's what MCR does - the best you've ever seen. And, not only is the work outstanding, the customer service is just as superb. Every car has a rep, and that rep keeps the customer apprised on at least a weekly basis of how work is progressing - what has been done, what needs to be done, how long the next phase of restoration will take. The MCR team gives the customer many options to consider during the restoration process so that the customer can decide how much to pay or what to add or subtract at any point.
One quick story demonstrates the quality of the company that I selected for my restoration. At the time I was getting insurance for the restored Road Runner, I sent in an application and a copy of a professional appraisal that indicated a significantly high replacement value. The insurance company called me requiring more proof - beyond the official, certified appraisal. I put in a quick call to MCR. In less than five minutes, the staff e-mailed me a complete inventory/build sheet, 33 pages in length, that detailed labor and every part - down to individual nuts and bolts purchased and replaced. I forwarded that 33-page document to the insurance company a few minutes later, and an agent called me back laughing - literally. All she could say was that MCR must be some quality company to maintain such detail concerning the work done on the car.
By the way, I got the insurance at the level at which I requested - immediately.
One other fact must be noted. The MCR team is composed of great people - people who go out of their way to help you, people you like to just 'hang out' with. I know, I've 'hung out' with them.
Kudos, MCR. It's a company that truly creates a 'WOW' for its customers.
1969 MCR-Restored Road Runner
We asked several of our great customers to speak with us on video during our annual open house. Please watch the video below:
Chris Clawson, owner of a 1970 Chevelle we recently restored, shares some of his restoration experience with us on camera during our Open House.
Click the play button below to watch (if you don't see the video - get flash (Adobe.com))
Click here for photographs of the entire restoration!
Archie Duiker, owner of a 1968 Hemi Roadrunner restored by MCR, tells us about his car and restoration experience.
Click below to watch (if you don't see the video - get flash (Adobe.com))
When the opportunity presented itself to buy the car of my dreams back in '98. I jumped at the chance. I right away realized that the car needed some serious attention. After discussing my project with a couple of restoration shop owners in my area and getting "turned down" because they felt the car wasn't worth it, I felt the need to locate someone that had a passion for old Mopars and would be up to the challenge. About 5 years ago, I saw a Year One ad in Mopar Muscle that spoke of John and his passion and dedication to the restoration and preservation of classic cars. After doing a bit more research, I knew without a doubt that Musclecar Restorations would be up to the task. John and his team of craftspeople were a pleasure to work with through out the process. They always went the extra mile to do the job right and it shows in the result. The extent of work required to bring the car back was a bit more than I anticipated, but, John and his team were ALWAYS willing to work with me to do what it took to make it happen. To you and your staff, thank you for making my dream come true!
P.S. The wife is fine. Loves the car, but, won't dare get behind the wheel!
Doug Ousdigian, owner of a 1972 Challenger painted at MCR, talks about his car and the experience of working with MCR.
Click below to watch (if you don't see the video - get flash (Adobe.com))
The Type 65 Coupe that Muscle Car Restorations built for us has been one of the most impressive, reliable, and durable shop built cars we have ever had on our showroom floor.
The fit and finish of the MCR Coupe was outstanding, and the attention to detail is in a class of its own. This car has been used by David Smith as his personal coupe, on the street, strip and track, and it still runs and looks exactly the way that Muscle Car Restorations delivered it.
We have continually been amazed by John Balow and the MCR crew by the way that they surpass our expectations on every project., every step of the way.
Factory Five Racing
Click here to see photographs of the build.
Mike Creglow, owner of a 1965 Plymouth restored at MCR, tells about his car and restoration experience.
Click below to watch (if you don't see the video - get flash (Adobe.com))
Steve Pachl, owner of a 1969 Dodge Dart Convertible restored at Muscle Car Restorations, talks about his restoration experience with us at the 2007 Car Craft Summer Nationals.
Click below to watch (if you don't see the video - get flash (Adobe.com))
The car looks great. It seems like it's not real though, it's been under construction for a long time, even before the car went up to MCR we were tinkering with it and it was off the street for a long time. It's going to take a while to sink in, that we basically have a brand new 1970 Plymouth Superbird.
John you and your crew are the best, the attention to detail, the workmanship, the start to finish process, the MCR facilities, and all the countless items that go into the restoration of a vehicle are Second to None at your shop. MCR is the premier restoration service in the country, Period.
You must feel very proud of your accomplishments. You are definitely to be commended for your first class effort with our (really it's Colette's Baby) car. I know she will be proud of that Yellow Machine when she finally gets to show it off. She's had that car since 1978 or 77, if that car could talk boy would it tell you some stories I'm sure. But all the while, she has always wanted it to be perfect, but somehow it's always eluded her when it came to that car. Well, that was the past. Now, (the present) the car looks perfect, and I'm sure it is, thanks to your project management skills and a very dedicated effort by you and your staff.
Let me tell you, it (the funding) was a major undertaking for both of us. But that will all go away when we start to enjoy the fruits of our & your labor. I'm sure the friendship we have with Jan & you will last a lifetime. Who knows maybe when things settle-down for us, we can join Jan & yourself on a cruise, you can show us the ropes of cruising. That might be fun.
Well, let us know about the show, and know that I sincerely appreciate the job you have done on the Superbird, not because I love Superbird, (I do) but because I love Colette, and I know what that car means to her she's very special to me.
Thanks So Much John
Your Friend Bill
Jon Stein, owner of a 1972 Hurst Olds fully restored at MCR, tells about his car and restoration experience.
Click below to watch (if you don't see the video - get flash (Adobe.com))
By Charles Princiotto
This story really begins in 1969. I had just turned 21 years old, working hard to make some money and working extra hard at being a Brooklyn kid with a nice new set of wheels. My first car, a 1954 Plymouth Savoy, I paid $50 for and ran into the ground within a month. The 1966 Ford Custom came next. It looked like a cop car and had over 200,000 miles on it serving as an ex-cab for my father the taxi driver. I hated that car, and the day that it broke down on 18th Avenue in Brooklyn was the last day I drove it.
I'm not sure why I picked the 1969 Dodge Charger RT/SE, but I did; and it changed my life for the next 35 years. It was brand new, it was sexy... and it was different. The typical neighborhood car at the time was a Chevy, but I wasn't the typical neighborhood kid. So I marched into a dealership on Coney Island Avenue and I bought it for $3900 outright. No test driving, no questions (things I've learned to do since that day in 1969). I just fell in love with the look and decided on the spot. This 440 engine, 375 horse power hot-rod right out of the factory was all mine. And I was intimidated to say the least. However, when I got behind the wheel, I felt like I belonged there. So with my mother riding shotgun, tires screeching and heads turning, I started my life-long love affair with the 1969 Dodge Charger.
We would drag race on 1st Avenue on the weekends. It was a beautiful thing; Beautiful yet extraordinarily dangerous. There were even refreshments being sold as rubber was being burned. I beat plenty of cars and won like crazy to the surprise of a few of my friends who were 'Chevy guys'. Who could imagine a Chrysler car beating a Chevy? I did, and I made it happen over and over again.
When I started 'fixing it up' is when the problems started. I figured if it was that fast as just a stock car, whatever I added on would make it faster. Bigger tires, new exhaust, new rear end... and it to my surprise, it never raced the same again. Insurance went through the roof, I had nowhere to park it and 2½ years later I sold my baby for $1700.
Fast forward 30 years and I regretted selling it every single day. I talked endlessly about my 1969 Charger and always had money set aside for the day I would buy it again. I got married, had children and put it on the back-burner, but never put it completely out of my mind. And that fateful day, while flipping through a car magazine admiring a Charger on the glossy pages, my wife stopped me, looked me dead in the eyes and said, 'You're making me crazy. Just buy the car already'.
So I began my search. I wanted the same color that I had originally and I needed the car to have paperwork. I had to verify that this was a legit car if I was going to buy it. When I found what sounded to be exactly what I was looking for in California, I hired an appraiser to check the car out and drive it. I bought it sight unseen and within a few weeks, the trailer dropped off my new '69 Dodge Charger RT/SE.
The seller was the third owner and he had put a little money and work into it. However, having it thoroughly inspected yielded a list of things that needed to be done. Let me be clear, I wasn't looking for a perfect car; I was looking to have fun with it. I wanted my old car back to drive around and enjoy again, but I needed to fix it up, even if it was minimally. There was a crack in the dash, the windows needed to be aligned, the trim needed fixing... so I did my homework and found John Balow's Muscle Car Restorations. If I was going to do it, I was going to do it right.
I didn't realize at the time what that meant; but I soon found out there was a lot more under the hood, so to speak, than I ever imagined. When it arrived at MCR, they revealed that which I did not want to hear: the entire inside of the car was rusted. Then came the choice: close it up and leave it the way it was, sooner or later having problems and selling it to an unsuspecting buyer, or put my new baby in the hands of capable professionals and turn it into exactly what it should be... the hot rod I remembered. What began as a small undertaking became the possibility of a full blown restoration. Now, I'm not the type to screw someone else, and selling that car as it was would have been doing just that. So I made the decision to undertake a project I never expected and truly didn't want on my plate. But it was my responsibility to the car. I knew I had something special already since there aren't many cars with all of the paperwork this car had; it was my chance to turn this car into exactly what it was meant to be.
The only way to do this was to do it the right way, which was undeniable. Everything in the car that wasn't new, was made new again. The interior had been done over before, but everything that had been done, was done again. And it was done right this time. The cost blew up from one number then doubled. It actually almost tripled. And as time went on and more and more was being done to the car, I began to worry. I bought this car to drive and have fun with, but was I even going to want to drive it when I saw it? There was so much money put into it, so much time. Was I going to be paranoid and end up having to sell it because I couldn't enjoy it and drive it?
When I finally got to see the finished product at Muscle Car Restorations, not only was I blown away by the sight of the car, but I was welcomed with open arms by the staff. Every one of the people at Muscle Car Restorations stepped up to the plate and made us feel welcome and reassured. From morning to night, we were shown around the shop, had all of our questions answered and were introduced to the men behind the work. And the car itself was a work of art, aesthetically and mechanically. From the bolts and the chrome tips on the exhaust to the undercarriage, the workmanship of the complete restoration was stellar. The original vinyl roof was back; even the exhaust smelled like it did 30 years ago. It had the look, the smell, the sound... this car exceeded my every expectation and was way beyond my original Charger.
I was immediately taken back in my mind to 1st Avenue in Brooklyn under the Gowanus... with the cars lined in the street and the engines roaring. It's a damn shame that I'm 30 years older and wiser, because although I know I'll never drag race again, I'd love to see the looks on their faces when I rolled up in this.Charles Princiotto
By Kent G. Olsen
The phrase says it all when it comes to John Balow and Muscle Car Restorations. I consider John to be a good friend of mine. Something I didn't expect to happen when he started the restoration on my Challenger. Since I first met John, he has become more than a friend. He has been a mentor, an advisor, a motivator, and as the title says, a leader. As far as I'm concerned it is a pretty elite class as well. Not many people are capable of or would even want to take on some of the projects that Muscle Car Restorations has done. John didn't get to where he is today by following in the steps of others or by doing things the way others have in the past. He has done things his own way and been very successful at it. He does them the only way he knows how, to the best of his ability. John uses a lot of ingenuity, skill, and common sense on his restorations. He does not cut corners when it comes to the work he does and he'll be the first to let you know it. But it is obvious in his work as well. His '64 Race Hemi Plymouth is a typical example of the work John does on every car that goes through his shop.
When it comes to any and all projects John is up to the task. He once told me I've never turned down a project. I sometimes wonder why when I see some of the cars that go through his shop. Some it seems are lucky to have rust on them as its the only thing holding them together. I think he really enjoys the challenge of bringing a rusted hulk of a car back to better than new condition. He really understands that when someone comes to him to have a car restored, they don't want to hear him say that they should find another car or go somewhere else. They want THEIR car restored and brought back to life. That is what Muscle Car Restorations does. Bring peoples dream cars back to life and/or make them a reality.
From what I've seen, one of John's major drivers is the joy he gets after completing a restoration and seeing the look on the faces of the owners as they take possession of their finished car. A look I'm sure I will have as my car gets completed. When I open the cover of some of the most popular hot rod and muscle car magazines, and see this ad with John standing next to his pride and joy, I realize how lucky I am to have my car being restored by John and his crew. This ad says a lot about John and his work but what he does is more than can be presented on it. Every car he does receives the same attention to detail as his '64 Plymouth. For now, I'll continue to admire John's work and look to him for continued guidance and motivation. John Balow and Muscle Car Restorations has been and will continue to be a Leader in his Class, as that is the only way they know how to be.
By Bruce Bisping
As the son of an Oldsmobile dealer and a long time Oldsmobile and General Motors owner, collector and restorer I can only give the highest praise to John Balow and Muscle Car Restorations. During the restoration of my 72 442 W-30 hardtop, John and his staff have listened to my suggestions, listened to my concerns and have done wonderful work on the car from day one. With John you get that personal touch on every project.
If you want the job done right the first time, look no further that Muscle Car Restorations. You can bet they will be doing my 70 442 W-30 convertible and my 72 Hurst Olds convertible when it's their turn for restoration.Bruce Bisping,
Minnesota Oldsmobile Club
Oldsmobile Club of America
Hurst Olds Club
REO Olds Museum
Click here to see photographs of the restoration process on the W-30
By Bob Eddy
When I was in High School, far too long ago to truly describe, I had a 1968 Plymouth Roadrunner, 383, 4 Speed. The car was simply unforgettable. When it came time to sell it, I promised myself that I would have another one, some day. That was 1971.
As time passed, I got married, we bought a house, had kids and the dream of another Roadrunner was put on the back burner. As with all things, time passed and the kids grew up and the idea of owning another Road Runner started to edge its way back to reality.
I started to look in earnest in 1993. I finally found a fairly rare, low production, numbers matching 1969 Road Runner convertible. The car needed a lot of work, but it was just the type I was targeting to buy. I got it home and with a small amount of work I got it running and was able to drive it from time to time. I knew all along that I was going to restore it and thought that I was going to be able to do that myself. Just as it was when we had the kids, the restoration process was put on the back burner due to job responsibilities and many outside activities. It became clear that if I were to restore this car myself, it would have to wait until I retired. I didn't want to wait that long.
I started evaluating restoration shops during late 1997 and into 1998. I included a number of critical categories in my evaluation. I looked at cost of course, but foremost I wanted to ensure that the restoration was of high quality. I also wanted to ensure that there would be strong, open communication and a good business relationship with the person doing the work.
As I did my evaluation, the one shop that consistently showed their commitment to quality and to ensuring that the owners were fully integrated into the restoration process was John Balow's Muscle Car Restorations. John spent a great deal of time with me during my evaluation process. He showed me around his shop, showed me a number of cars he was restoring and encouraged me to talk to a number of his customers before I made any decisions.
The selection process was made very simple; Muscle Car Restorations was hands above all the other shops I visited and reviewed. The rest is now history. John delivered my fully restored 1969 Plymouth Roar Runner to my driveway in October of 2001.
The end result of this restoration journey is a very high quality restored automobile, which from my perspective, is much better then new. I can honestly say that I was involved in all decisions during the life of the restoration. Every month during the restoration I was sent a batch of pictures to show and track the progress of the restoration. I was encouraged to visit the shop on a regular basis to inspect the work and talk about various options. As John says the "Quality and craftsmanship is long remembered after the price is forgotten" and I can honestly say that I am more then satisfied in the outcome of this project, a project that we worked on together. I would recommend Muscle Car Restorations to anyone who is considering a high quality restoration.Sincerely,
Maple Grove, MN
see photographs of the entire restoration process
By Dan Stanley
I had the good fortune of growing up in a family that appreciated the automotive world and thus became infected at a young age with the love of Muscle Cars, specifically Mopar Muscle Cars. My uncle Bob (my Dad's brother) had ordered a brand new 1970 Dodge Charger R/T, and I remember him coming over to show my folks and give us a ride shortly after he had received it. My Dad's family had a very modest upbringing and had to work hard for everything they got, so this purchase was a huge accomplishment. He was so proud as was my Dad of this car and it was cool! It was Plum Crazy with a brilliant white interior and had the 440 Magnum under the hood, and it had power. This car served as my uncle's family car and over the years it was serviced by my dad, as he was a mechanic, thus he knew the car well. Time and teenage sons took a toll on this car and finally it was replaced, but they held on to it parking it out on the farm. My brother then purchased this car in about 1980. We drove it home, but it had a partially replaced front fender as the result of a driving mishap by my cousins. It had also been stripped to bare metal in an aborted restoration attempt. Since it had sat quite a while in this condition, the exterior had a heavy coat of rust. In about 1982, my brother and I disassembled the car as the first step in starting our attempt at restoring it. I tell you all of this to give you a feeling for the meaning of this car to our family, but also to tell you how tough this restoration would be.
This car sat disassembled in storage for a number of years while my brother and I went to school, started families, and developed our careers. Finally, in 1998 I purchased the car from my brother with the intent of completing the restoration. I took the car to a local Twin Cities establishment that promoted themselves as auto restoration experts. The project proceeded over a period of a year. I started getting bad vibes when every phase of the project took longer and cost more than estimated. They also continually looked to me for answers on the proper colors, sources for parts and other questions, all things an experienced restorer should know. It became apparent that they did not have experience in this process and that I was paying a lot of money for them to learn on my project. I finally reached a point where I put the brakes on the project shortly after the car was back in a roller stage. I politely told them that I was going to finish it myself and loaded up my car and parts and brought it home.
In the meantime, I had read a number of articles about Muscle Car Restorations and John Balow. I contacted John and told him my predicament. He invited me over to tour his shops and view some current projects underway. He was sympathetic to my experience with the previous shop and specifically addressed my questions pertaining to various aspects of the restoration. He showed me the positives of his methods and why they would contribute to the value and longevity of my car. I was extremely impressed with the professionalism of John and his staff and the neatness and organization of his facilities.
I was sold. I delivered the Charger to MCR and we began the process. The car was again totally disassembled and we started over. Throughout the experience, John was patient with my numerous questions and he kept me informed about the progress with photos, e-mails and phone calls. He always knew where to source his parts and would discuss with me the pros and cons of decisions to be made about keeping stock equipment or upgrading to new generation parts at appropriate junctures in the restoration. Most importantly, John understood the meaning of this project to me. At various times I would visit his shops to get first hand updates on my project sometimes bringing my son and nephews and sometimes bringing my dad and brother. Each time John would give them a tour of his facilities and ongoing projects, treating them just like customers even though many of our visits were after hours or on Saturdays. In the end and most importantly, the car turned out great! A great deal of sheet metal was replaced and many parts had to be sourced, but it is immaculate. On the day of pickup 12/11/03, I brought my dad and brother along (unfortunately my Uncle Bob has passed) as they are the toughest critics. John continued to acknowledge the meaning of this project to my family and impressed them with the results. I am very proud of this car and look forward to doing the whole process again with my first car of which I was fortunate enough to be able to repurchase. I wasted a lot of money by allowing another so-called restoration shop to learn on my project. I could go on and on, but ultimately the theme of this letter is to endorse whole-heartedly Muscle Car Restorations, John Balow and his staff of professionals.Dan Stanley
5833 Meadowlark Lane
Prior Lake, MN 55372-3116
It was great seeing you guys again. Thank you for taking the time to show me all the great work you have done. I was very impressed with what you have done to my Charger so far. No doubt I am fortunate enough to have the best of the best working on my project car.
Again, thanks for everything. You guys do beautiful work!!!John
I recieved the delete panel from UPS in good shape, the panel looks great. My compliments to the craftsmen who did the casting they did a real nice job.
I want to thank you again for all your help, it was a pleasure doing business with you.Lewis