Meridian Industrial

THE ART OF RESTORATION

2022-04-01 | KEITH O'CONNOR

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Paul Rossi of Rossi Bros. is the proud owner of a 1979 Ford F-150 pickup truck.

“The truck arrived at my business in a roll off dumpster completely disassembled. It was an enormous project that required nearly 700 hours of work involving research, parts collection, fabrication, restoration, and painting,” Rossi said, who is owner and founder of Rossi Bros.

But it was all worth it.

Following endless hours of meticulous restoration, he entered his prized possession in local competitions and earned two “Best Truck” prizes.

Today, after doing mostly collision repair and restoring a few older cars here and there, Rossi has turned his attention at Rossi Bros. to doing what he really loves, working on classic cars and hot rods. “Family owned. Fine Tuned.” is their motto at the Stafford Springs shop where he offers quality auto restoration, abrication, maintenance, and repair services.

“I have a passion for the classics, and I enjoy a challenge. I love seeing the results, especially when I see the smile on an owner’s face after the job is done,” Rossi said about his restoration efforts.

From working on a 1939 Ford Coupe to a 1960 Austin-Healey and from a 1964 Corvette convertible to even a Model-A Ford truck dating back to the 1920s - as they say, “no job is too big or too small” at Rossi Bros.

He bought his first car at the age of 16, sparking his early interest in auto repairs.

“It was a blue 71 Mustang Fastback. It needed some repairs, so I took out the engine and put it back together, completed some rust repair, and gave it a new paint job,” Rossi said.

Rossi, who has worked on automobiles since 1979, noted "taking things apart is nothing new" for him.

“I’ve always had an interest in fixing things…taking them apart and putting them back together. After rebuilding the engine, I was proud of my accomplishment and it gave me confidence to do more,” he said.

Rossi got his first job working on cars at Colonial Auto Body in Somers, CT.

“Michael Bachiochi, who owned the body shop, taught me well. With him as my mentor, I developed and honed my skills in body work,” Rossi said.

He went on to continue his auto body endeavors at several other local shops, managing at two locations, prior to opening his own business, Hometown Collision, in 1998.

“Growing up with my parents running a family business, along with the guidance from my father, Roger Rossi, I had the confidence to open up my own business,” Rossi said.

He later founded Rossi Bros. with his brother, Peter Rossi, in 2004. The brothers shared the building. They worked separately with Paul doing auto bodywork and Peter using his talents on signs and lettering.

Rossi has more than 43 years of experience in auto services, including precise auto painting, clean restoration and repairs and detailed fabrication. He also has countless hours of experience working with collision repairs. His new focus on restoration involves mechanical restoration and upgrades including brakes, performance engines, steering, suspensions and drive trains.

“It’s an art,” Rossi said about working on vintage cars and hot rods.

“I enjoy the challenge of bringing these older cars back to life and looking better than new,” he added. While the pandemic has disrupted many supply chains, including automotive parts, the challenge of finding older parts is even greater.

“The pandemic made searching for car parts even more difficult than before. Finding parts for these classic cars was already complicated because some of the parts are no longer produced. So, you have to try and find someone who sells older parts and hope they have the ones you need. Right now, I have an auto supplier getting me parts from Italy for a Fiat I am in the process of restoring,” Rossi said.

Rossi noted there is “something to be said” about the automobiles of yesteryear.

“For one thing the metal was twice as thick, so they were pretty rugged. Also, the bumpers were made of steel compared to plastic today. And there were no computers back then, so there were fewer issues to deal with,” he said.

Owners can tell if their car is antique, classic, or vintage by the year it was manufactured. A vintage car was manufactured between 1919 and 1930, an antique car is greater than 45 years old, and was manufactured in 1975 or earlier. A classic car is greater than 20 years old and was manufactured in 2000 or earlier. Also, a hot rod is an automobile (including pickups and SUVs) that has been rebuilt or modified to increase its speed, allow it to handle better, and look and sound better.

The most difficult and challenging restoration Rossi has undertaken was on a 1941 Buick Convertible.

“I began restoring the car with it in two separate pieces. I had to rebuild the car, part by part, completing bodywork and painting. It was especially challenging because I had to build the center section to complete the two halves,” he said.

Rossi, who does all the bodywork, also employs Roy Houle, a skilled mechanic with 44 years of experience.

“Here at Rossi Bros. we can assure quality work. I am thankful for all of my past, current, and future customers,” he said.

ROSSI BROS. IS LOCATED ON
34 WEST STREET IN STAFFORD SPRINGS, CT
HOURS ARE MONDAY -  FRIDAY FROM 8AM TO 5PM
FOR MORE INFORMATION, CALL 860-684-9229 OR EMAIL PAUL.ROSSIBROS@GMAIL.COM

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