Larry Seabert, owner of Dwight’s Tech-Ni-Kolor AutoCrafters, has been restoring antique autos and fixing vehicles damaged in auto accidents for two decades.
And although 80 percent of his business is fixing automobile accident vehicles, his first love is restoring the antiques and classic cars.
His current project is a 1967 Pontiac Firebird, which he said is expected to be fully restored by June.
The vehicle came in with an inoperable engine, and totally rusted out from sitting idle for many, many years.
It was the owner’s first car from high school, Seabert said, owned by Doug Beckman of Streator.
He has to totally rebuild the body, which was unibody construction, put in a new engine, and restore the entire vehicle to its original specifications, per the customer’s wishes.
“There was no floor,” Seabert said of the vehicle when it was first brought in on a flatbed.
He is currently about to move the subframe of the motor under the body and will finish painting the front fenders before final construction. The subframe has to be bolted onto the body. The motor was rebuilt by a different company, Seabert said.
The vehicle has an automatic transmission and a 440 Pontiac engine.
The total restoration is estimated to take eight months, Seabert explained.
But each restoration is different, depending on the condition of the vehicle and the customer’s desires.
To do the reconstruction, he created a special jig based on the original frame, to make sure it is aligned properly when it is put back together.
“We actually looked for another body for six months, with no success,” Seabert said. “We finally decided to build a new one.”
Seabert came to the business ownership after working for several years at Boyer Buick, which later became Rub Chevrolet. “I was the shop manager for Buick,” he said.
At Tech-Ni-Kolor, he employs three people including his brother Todd who is the manager.
Tech-Ni-Kolor is located at 105 Watters Drive, in Dwight.
He can be reached by calling (815) 584-2588.