Who are we?
Finicky Auto Restorations is a family team that total 60+ years in the automotive industry.
Claude is the senior member of our team. He has been in the automotive industry since the early 60's. He started out as a bodyman in a local bodyshop in Rouyn-Noranda, Quebec. Very soon after he became the painter in that shop. So yes, he knows everything about painting with Acrylic Enamels or Lacquers.
Claude knows all the old school methods of bodywork, like the lost art of leading body panels, which is very useful when restoring old cars.
Over the years he has actually worked day in and day out on the cars that we now seek to restore and collect, he knows the ins and outs and how things were done back then.
From those humble beginnings, with the help of his wife Irene, they decided to start their own body shop, it was called "Garage 393".
The simplest way to get started was to build a dome. With the help of his own father Adolphe. (That's him on the picture).
This is what it looks like today, don't know what it is used for today but it's nice to know it is still standing. (It was built in the 70's)
This is where Claude's son Sylvain started learning the autobody trade. On summer breaks from school, he would help prep the cars for paint, do some sanding, masking, clean up the shop. He did not always want to, like any 12 old kid I guess. But none the less he learned.
Because of harsh economic times (recession), in the 80's the family decided to move closer to the big city (Montreal, QC). Claude went to work for a Toyota Dealership Body shop as a manager for several years. After what he was hired by Sikkens Automotive Finishes an AkzoNobel company as an instructor. Yes he would teach other painters. Claude knew how to keep up with the times and understood the new technology in paints and body materials, and could even teach it.
Some time after moving to the big City, Sylvain found his first Restoration or Customization Project. It was a 1973 Mercury Capri RS 2600. It had a 2.6-L "Cologne" V6 that originally produced 150 hp, after some modifications it produced a little over 200 hp, which was plenty for a young 16 years old driver, that had a lead foot. It was fitted with old school Thrush side pipes. Anyone remember those? And it rolled on Cragar aluminum slot wheels.
The car was painted "Hello Yellow" GM code 52, in Dupont Centari Acrylic Enamel. Unfortunately we don't have anymore pictures of the project, digital cameras did not exist yet. And even worst, remember what was said about Sylvain having a lead foot? Well after many speeding tickets the Capri came to be known by the local authorities as the "Little Yellow Bomb". Unfortunately it did not end well for the "Little Yellow Bomb", she is not with us anymore.
Claude and Irene, still had the plan to restart their own autobody shop again. So in the 90's they decided to purchase a shop in the suburbs of Montreal and with the help of their son Sylvain, they opened shop again. It was called "Techni-Brille Inc." (It's french for "The technology of shiny things"). The shop focused mainly on collision work and quick moving small repairs. One big issue a shop has to deal with back east, is cars rusting out because of the harsh winters and road conditions. We have seen lots of rust and know exactly what needs to be done to get rid of it.
Sylvain also got quite involved with the local Car Tuning scene, unfortunately we don't have any pictures to show, as the pictures, we're lost at some point in time, sorry. Some of the cars that we tuned: 2000 Toyota Supra, 1999 Toyota MR2, 1999 Hyundai Tiburon, etc... Modifications included, Installation of full body kits, spoilers, custom paint jobs, lowering kits, installation of sound systems, etc...
In the beginning of the 2000's Claude and Irene started talking about retirement, back east winters are harsh and very cold. Their daughter Helene, had moved to the Vancouver lower mainland area years ago, so after a few visits in the winter, they decided that they would move in the Vancouver lower mainland area.
So in 2003, Claude, Irene and Sylvain moved to the Vancouver lower mainland area. At this point in time Sylvain used this opportunity to pursue a different career, he went to college to study computers, it seemed at the time to be an interesting career choice. Even before the conclusion of his studies, he was hired by a Microsoft Vendor in Vancouver as a Quality Assurance Technician. In 2010 things started to slow down for the company he was working for. Sylvain then decided to go back to what he knew best and missed doing, that is being finicky over every little detail in the process of restoring a classic or customizing a dream car. So after some discussion Claude and Irene agreed to come out of retirement to help Sylvain
So in 2011 we opened shop again here in the Vancouver lower mainland area, That's it folks, that's how Finicky Auto Restoration came into existence, we are a small family business now operating in Mission, BC.
Both Claude and Sylvain are licensed Bodymen (Quebec license) and Irene is our Bookeeper