- December 29th, 2010
- Write comment
The short version: (reading time 3 seconds)
Hello my name is Mike, I’ve played around with and customized many vehicles, motorcycles, vans, cars and Corvettes for over 45 years and I still am.
The long version: (reading time quite a bit longer)
Hello my name is Michael Maguire (Mike) from Newmarket Ontario Canada. I’m not telling how old I am, just that I was around a few years before the first Corvettes were built. I’ve been customizing vehicles, cars, trucks, boats, vans, buses and Corvettes now for over 45 years and I’ve owned two custom and performance shops over the years.
I guess I first got interested in cars when my father would take me along with him every fall to see the new models at the local car dealerships. He owned Earl’s Radio & TV a repair shop, so when I was a teenager I would install car radios and 8 tracks (remember those) so being handy in that way I was always being asked by friends if I could help them with projects on their cars. The first customizing I did for a friend was on a Nash Metropolitan when I took a jigsaw to the rear wheel wells so that we could put on oversize wheels and tires and lengthen the spring shackles, this made for a wicked looking little ride.
After customizing a motorcycle and a few used cars like my ’62 Corvair, I did some custom work on my first new car a ’72 Vega GT Hatchback. In the meantime I had graduated from art college and at the age of 21 I became the Art Director of an 8 hundred million dollar corporation, the title just meant over worked and under paid. Several years later and a career change, I bought and built a 1974 Ford Econoline van which was a short box 102 inch wheel base which had never been customized before to the extent I had planned on. This van won a number of international awards and after being offered jobs designing and build vans in Florida and Arizona I opened my own custom shop. Now with a family a daughter Meagan and a son Jeffrey this allowed me to be closer to home so that I was able to spend more time with them as they were growing up. After building a few more award winning vans I was then asked if I would do some restoration work on classic cars of which there was a ’55 T-Bird, ’79 Corvette, 56 Chevy convertible, 69 GTO.
Then a 1959 Corvette that I fell in love with, it was Tuxedo Black with Inca Silver inserts and a Roman Red interior. I bought the ’59 Corvette from the customer I was working on it for, as an investment and after 3 1/2 years of ground-up restoration it was winning awards. The building I was in was being sold so I moved the business to a new location and opened up the second shop with the new name Downtown Custom & Performance. It was now time to buy a house for my family so the Corvette was sold. After many years of restoring Corvettes for others and training people how to detail every type of vehicle you could imagine from motorcycles to planes, now years later, it was time for me to have another toy so I bought my 1988 Corvette coupe and that’s where this story begins.