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Old 05-26-2012, 07:25 PM
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American Restoration- Does it seem too good to be true?

I watch American Restoration and enjoy the show.

I've noticed Rick Dale and his shop seems to restore/fix everything and claim it's like new.

I've done some welding on home repair projects and made my own wrought iron fencing for the front yard. There was an episode where Rick restored a customer's Irish Mail. It had a broke rear axle. Rick welded it back together and then gave the customer the impression his 10 year old could ride it. I've done repairs like that myself and know that the high temperature in welding makes the tubular framing brittle. It usually will break again right above the weld. Rick's "restored" Irish Mail looked like a million bucks. But, I can't see it lasting long if a kid used it.
http://thestrong.org/online-coll...1/Z0043112.jpg

How does Rick's guys fix such a wide array of stuff? For example Vending Machine Companies hire/train skilled mechanics to service their machines. Fix the coin mech when it's stealing money and so on. Rick restores a lot of vending machines and says they are in working order. But, I wonder just how reliable those coin mech's are that he "tinkered" with?

I saw an episode today where a guy brought in a very valuable British motorcycle. His dad had won over 50 racing trophys with it. Why would anybody bring a motorcycle to Rick Dale? There's specialized shops out there that restore and customize motorcycles. Anyway, somehow Rick manages to have a expert motorcycle mechanic right there ready to totally disassemble this motor and overhaul it. We see the motorcycle started, but nobody actually takes it out on the street for a ride. Makes me wonder just how reliable that motor overhaul really was.

I do love the show. But, it just seems like Rick's main business was restoring Coke machines, toys, and other vintage items. Since the show started he's suddenly restoring cars (for the Pawn Shop guy), motorcycles, penny operated scales, and some very specialized stuff that usually requires someone trained in that field. He even fixed a huge vacuum cleaner (for trains) that the History museum guy brought in. Who made Rick an expert on vacuum cleaners?

Last edited by aceplace57; 05-26-2012 at 07:29 PM.
Old 05-26-2012, 09:40 PM
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Doubtlessly, the show's producers scout these clients for an interesting array of items. I've known a few top notch handymen and tinkerers. There are guys who could tackle this wide range of items with aplomb. I don't know how for real Rick is.
Old 05-26-2012, 11:51 PM
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I have been impressed with the sheet metal guy Rick hired. Hammering out dents is a lost art. I'm surprised there's anyone alive that still knows how it's done. The guy Rick uses makes those old Coke boxes look like new.

I'm pretty sure car body shops stopped hammering out dents in the 70's. That's when Bondo® got popular. These days they usually just swap out damaged fenders & panels. Slap a coat of paint & sealer on it and collect the insurance check.

Last edited by aceplace57; 05-26-2012 at 11:55 PM.
Old 05-26-2012, 11:55 PM
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My uncle is one of those people that can repair and restore almost anything.
I am not sure if the people on American Restoration do restore everything that they claim to restore, but I do believe that it is possible.

Maybe some of the work is farmed out, I do not know.
Old 05-27-2012, 12:15 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aceplace57 View Post
I have been impressed with the sheet metal guy Rick hired. Hammering out dents is a lost art. I'm surprised there's anyone alive that still knows how it's done.
There are many who know how to work a dolly and a hammer or an English wheel. Some are even pretty good at it. Replacement body parts are not available for most cars over a decade old.

There's also an entire culture of paintless dent repair for those who insist that their Sixties Mustang have "all-original paint". Those guys can't work a large dent, but anything under two inches is usually possible.
Old 05-27-2012, 10:59 AM
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Rick and his crew do good work. I enjoy the show even more than Pawn Stars.

I just think both those shows have a certain amount of staging & manipulation for the cameras.
Old 05-27-2012, 12:38 PM
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I don't think these guys are restoring vending machines to a state of working order for commercial usage. But I know someone who does vending machine repair, and older units are very mechanical, and it's just a matter of getting the parts. In the shows I've seen it's clear they do a lot of very good cosmetic work and seem fairly skilled at doing it. But they also make mention of obtaining and fabricating parts to fix things. I think their main goal is to give a restored appearance to the items, which are going to be display pieces anyway.
Old 08-25-2013, 01:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aceplace57 View Post
I watch American Restoration and enjoy the show.

I've noticed Rick Dale and his shop seems to restore/fix everything and claim it's like new.

I've done some welding on home repair projects and made my own wrought iron fencing for the front yard. There was an episode where Rick restored a customer's Irish Mail. It had a broke rear axle. Rick welded it back together and then gave the customer the impression his 10 year old could ride it. I've done repairs like that myself and know that the high temperature in welding makes the tubular framing brittle. It usually will break again right above the weld. Rick's "restored" Irish Mail looked like a million bucks. But, I can't see it lasting long if a kid used it.
http://thestrong.org/online-coll...1/Z0043112.jpg

How does Rick's guys fix such a wide array of stuff? ...

I do love the show. But, it just seems like Rick's main business was restoring Coke machines, toys, and other vintage items. Since the show started he's suddenly restoring cars (for the Pawn Shop guy), motorcycles, penny operated scales, and some very specialized stuff that usually requires someone trained in that field. He even fixed a huge vacuum cleaner (for trains) that the History museum guy brought in. Who made Rick an expert on vacuum cleaners?
The show at least admits he brings in specialty shops for making neon signs and a fiberglass slide, etc. where it was not believable that he does this work. Its obvious to me he does VERY LITTLE of the restoration of these unique items.

This and all FAKE REALITY shows have a script. They can go off the script a bit when someone says something amusing or a nice accident happens. (Did his brother really split his pants bowling or was that in the script? I vote on faked).

The coke machine from the Pawn Shop that changed models proves that the show is fundamentally dishonest about whether something was really restored. Was the kids trike restored for $1500 or did he just bought another for $300 off the internet? The show only showed us a tear down, so maybe he just subbed it.

I learned from an accountant, if you want to really understand any business, follow all the profits: By cable industry standards, show has a budget of (now) at lest $100K an episode. There is very little overhead, just two cameras, so the principals are probably paid at least $50K a week during shooting. They don't give a damn if the repairs are staged. If they wanted to, they could buy a nice X, tear down a really bad X and smile from ear to ear like the magicians that just tore up your $50 bill on stage and made it magically in their hands with different serial numbers (as happened to me in high school).

Are we really just seeing a magic show of saw-the-woman-in-half? The TV show pays so well, they can afford to either do the restoration or magically restore it to like new condition, by buying another one new at a higher price. They are making so much money per week off the TV show, its often easier just to buy a new one.

I still enjoy watching the show, even though half the time its probably faked and they just bought another one.
Old 08-25-2013, 05:11 PM
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Let's not be too cynical. While I'm sure the show is scripted, the main 'sleight of hand' is probably that we never see the stuff that people bring in that Rick can't fix. So what we do see is the stuff that's self-selected to be within his wheelhouse and/or that he either has parts for or knows where to find or fabricate the parts.
Old 08-25-2013, 06:10 PM
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His staff is impressively skilled, and he charges an arm and a leg. Why shouldn't the results be good?
Old 08-26-2013, 07:32 AM
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Not specifically about Restoration although they are mentioned as well, much more fake than you could imagine.

http://centraltendencies.com/2011/03...stars-is-fake/
Old 08-26-2013, 07:48 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nunzio Tavulari View Post
There are many who know how to work a dolly and a hammer or an English wheel. Some are even pretty good at it. Replacement body parts are not available for most cars over a decade old.

There's also an entire culture of paintless dent repair for those who insist that their Sixties Mustang have "all-original paint". Those guys can't work a large dent, but anything under two inches is usually possible.
Slight hijack: Are you saying there are actually cars from the sixties out there which have a complete coat of paint, where the entire coat consists only of the very paint applied upon original manufacture of the car? !?
Old 08-26-2013, 09:01 AM
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In 1994 I bought my late great-uncle's car from his estate; it had many mechanical problems (a lot of them from having spent the last five years parked in the same spot, as neither he nor anybody in his household was able to drive any more). The car was made in 1959 and hadn't been painted or touched up until I had an accident that needed repainting of the whole left side.

My Dad's Mini was bought in 1968 (just in time for my arrival!); it eventually got handed down to other relatives in 1978, paint pristine. It needed to be taken to the body shop in 2007 for a smashed, uh, "wing" (the part that goes out above a wheel).

Take into account that both cars used to "live" in a city where drivers are relatively good from what I've seen; in my current location, it's a miracle to go a month without a new scratch.

Last edited by Nava; 08-26-2013 at 09:03 AM.
Old 08-26-2013, 11:19 AM
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Rick has dramatically expanded his shop since I started this thread. I've been impressed with the skills of the people he's hired. Especially the graphic artist that hand reproduces all the logos and lettering.

It proves that if money is no object than most older equipment can be fixed up. Either by purchasing a "parts donor item" or fabricating new part. Rick's shop has invested a lot in equipment that can do that.

His prices are just insane and getting higher. He was charging the Pawn Shop a thousand or so for repairs before American Restoration started. Now he seems to start at 4000 and up unless its something very easy.

If you got 3000 to fix up a bicycle then he's your man. But I bet there's still bicycle repair shops that would restore it for under a 1000.

Last edited by aceplace57; 08-26-2013 at 11:23 AM.
Old 08-26-2013, 11:39 AM
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Originally Posted by simple homer View Post
Maybe some of the work is farmed out, I do not know.
It is. The farming out of neon and fiberglass have already been mentioned; add intricate electrical systems to that.
Old 08-26-2013, 01:16 PM
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Originally Posted by Frylock View Post
Slight hijack: Are you saying there are actually cars from the sixties out there which have a complete coat of paint, where the entire coat consists only of the very paint applied upon original manufacture of the car? !?
Maybe I'm being wooshed, but yes... there are tons of cars from the 60's and much earlier with all original paint. It is considered desirable to many and can increase the value significantly.

With paint-less dent repair they were able to fix all of my hail damage, even one that was close to the max... looked like someone drove a golf ball straight into the side of my car. You could never tell where it was before.
Old 07-02-2017, 09:54 PM
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guess it doesn't matter now

As important to what you saw on the show was what you didn't see. There are more people involved thatn get on screen. coin mechs are not that big of deal back in the day, any good mechanic could do one, with all the backup they have . as for welds, if done right, a weld is stronger than what is welded. It's not the welding that causes crystallization, but how it's cooled. It must be re tempered
Old 07-02-2017, 11:10 PM
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To address the welds in This Olde Thread also, what the OP was experiencing was a failure of the HAZ, "heat affected zone". He wasn't doing something right, hell the whole world of stuff is welded together.

Could be a steel that simply does not weld very well, there are many. Or chilled too fast. High carbon steels can crack immediately after welding. Most steels that are higher carbon but still weldable require heat treatment afterwards, and many others require pre-heating as well. Every steel alloy imaginable has a weldability index. Here is a chart of many steel properties, pretty basic but you get the idea. Notice how many steels that are easy to machine cannot be welded. You just have to know this stuff.

https://mcmaster.com/#about-alloy-steel/=18bwkxl

Aircraft frames were traditionally made of 4140 "chrome-moly"and after all joints are welded, the FAA requires heating the entire joint to a certain temperature and cooled at a certain (slow) rate to normalize it.

https://eaa.org/en/eaa/aviation-...-done-now-what

One of my best welds was an aluminum 6 cylinder BMW head, cracked right through an exhaust valve seat. I preheated in the heat treatment furnace to 500 degrees, wrapped it in rock wool insulation to transport to the welding booth and only opened up the portion I needed. Then recovered it and allowed it to cool overnight.

Even the factory said it could not be welded. A machine shop put it new valve seats and I drove that car for 80,000 miles more before I sold it.

I have also welded "pot metal" on a broken, hard to find door handle for a rare BMW coupe. I used small bits cut off the non-essential areas as filler rod, TIG welded in pure helium. But that one was just lucky, I guess it was a high aluminum content alloy.

Good welders with a state of the art TIG pulse welder can weld two soda cans together! Or two razor blades edge to edge. Not me...

Oh, good lord, I searched for a video of welding soda cans and found a guy welding aluminum foil!!

https://youtube.com/watch?v=6SXyzG_8H48

Dennis
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