O’Hara Restorations

O’Hara Restorations

Restoring Vintage and Classic Cars from All Over the World

STORY AND PHOTOS TAMMY SEREBRIN

Located in an old Ford dealership building on Scenic Highway in the city of Frostproof, Florida, (population 3,000) is a very unique business. O’Hara Restorations, owned and operated by Bob and Sandy O’Hara, offers award winning restoration services for a wide variety of antique and classic cars. According to Bob O’Hara, the company has done “restorations on hundreds of cars, trucks, tractors and even boats over the years.” Receiving many national, local, and senior awards, the oldest restorations have been on a 1903 Olds, 1906 Ford, 1911 Little and 1912 Rambler. O’Hara has restored Aston Martins, Maseratis, Rolls Royces, Model A and Model T Fords, Chevys, Fiats, Bentleys, and more; all customer cars (and also trucks, motorcycles, and boats) from all over the world, and all out of their big showroom and auto center in Frostproof. Manager Justin Deen says they do various levels of restoration from paint jobs to complete restoration from a totally disassembled state. They provide open or closed auto transport shipping all over the world via shipping container. “Our reputation,” said Deen, “is first and foremost. We advertise on the internet and in publications.”

OHara  Justin Deen with 1955 Nash

Deen, who has been with O’Hara for three years but has been restoring cars for many years, grew up in Avon Park. He currently lives in an apartment upstairs above the showroom and says he works seven days a week. Deen talks about Bob O’Hara “doing this since he was a kid. He began in Massachusetts and has fifty-four years of experience.” O’Hara started the business in 1975 under the name of Wheels. He soon found his real interest was in antique and classic cars and moved the business to Naples, Florida in 1985. In 2002, “we moved to our beautiful building in downtown Frostproof where I have lots of room to work and show the cars I love.” O’Hara is equipped to offer everything from just a touch-up, to routine maintenance, to a complete restoration on cars from the early 1900s to the 1970s. “We have chopped a lot of tops – molded, frenched, louvered, custom and hotrods. We also do race prep on vintage cars with extensive experience on Vintage Rally cars, plus vintage motorcycle restorations.” They can locate even the hardest to find parts for domestic and foreign autos and make many parts themselves. They do custom paint matching using modern materials and have a wheel painting machine that will paint six wheels at one time. The welding shop is equipped to do various kinds of custom welding while having the capability of providing maintenance on all vintage automobiles. Deen states that there used to be quite a few companies like O’Hara, but it is one of few left because of the economy.

Ohara   1931 Model A Pickup

The average number of restorations is about 10 to 12 cars per year. Complete restoration can take up to six months with an occasional one taking 6 to 7 years.

What is the cost of restoring one of these beauties? Deen says “it is open ended and could be $10,000 to over $100,000, depending on the condition and what the customer wants when it leaves the shop. Some want everything.” O’Hara does not restore for resale. They do restoration for privately owned cars in private collections. Their handiwork shows up at a lot of vintage car shows around the country. Deen boasted, “It doesn’t matter what car show, one of ours (restorations) is there. Every small town across Florida has vintage cars shows from a Burger King parking lot to hundreds of cars and 20, 000 people.”

They garner business from all over the world and go to as many car shows as possible to market their business. They sell cars for owners on consignment, marketing all over the world and have worldwide auto delivery services. “A Corvette we had on consignment was just shipped to Holland.” They also restore cars that have been in movies. Currently there is a vintage car from the 1940s in the shop that was a big part of a famous 1980s movie.

OHara  1929 Rolls Royce Phantom

O’Hara Restorations can be visited at 10 Scenic Highway in downtown Frostproof or go online to www.ohararestoratons.com to view a storehouse of beautiful antique and vintage cars that have been restored at their facility.

 

 

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