Colin Dougherty steps out of his Porsche GT3S after winning a race with his father Bill Dougherty c.1998
This 1965 Porsche 911 Carrera is one of the several vintage European cars being worked on at Dougherty every day.
cars shouldn’t be an issue,” says Tony. “The largest hurdle I face when sourcing technicians is the fact that most of the newer generation only understands computer systems and very little about old mechanical technology. There is nowhere to plug in a scan tool on an antique car to give you a trouble code — you have to know a thing or two to correctly diagnose a problem.” Glenn Lewis doesn’t let the fact that he works on classic and antique cars all day stop him from also collecting them. “I’ve got a 1950 Chevy 3100 pick-up truck (it’s my favorite), my 1984 Chevy El Camino choo choo special edition, my wife’s 1984 Chevy El Camino. Those are his and hers, from the year we first met. [Reporter’s note: points to Glenn for adorableness on this.] I also have a 1986 Chevy 3500 tow truck, and my son Shane and I take care of my mom’s 1957 Chevy Belair two-door hardtop, and a 1967 Chevy Corvair Monza Convertible.” In the 42 years they’ve been in business, Dougherty Automotive has worked on hundreds of vintage European cars and almost always have at least a few in the shop, according to general manager Ryan Diehl. “The cars we service aren’t just locally owned, but come from all over the northeast. It’s not a large percentage of our total business, but they are quite important to us, nonetheless.”
Here, too, the challenge of parts comes up. “Many of the vintage cars we service have not had parts available from the original manufacturer for 30 years or more,” he said. “Recently, Porsche and Volvo have instituted ‘classic’ parts programs that are aimed at producing and providing hardto-find parts for their most-loved vintage models, and that’s begun to move things in a good direction.” Diehl agrees with the others that great technicians are the key for working on any cars, not just older ones, “But, as they say, there is no substitute for experience — we’re fortunate to have technicians who’ve had first-hand experience with many vintage cars and also had knowledge and expertise handed down to them from techs before them.” Ryan jokes, “While some of our techs are themselves ‘vintage,’ we do not have specific vintage car techs. We have certain technicians with special skill sets and certain techs who gravitate towards certain projects, and it’s important to know the technicians well and recognize where they excel specifically so they’re fulfilled and we get the best results.” While car repair and restoration is a truly hands-on business, we found over and over again that there’s a real personal and emotional connection between the workers, the cars, and the
In Your Dreams the vintage cars our car guys love
Ryan Diehl: 1973 Porsche 911 RSR projects. “Recently, we were fortunate to have gotten involved with a mechanical restoration of a 1965 Porsche 911,” Ryan said. “The car was a prized possession of a family member but had fallen into disrepair and had sat unused for over 15 years. We’ve watched that car slowly come back to life, and the client was just recently able to drive it for the very first time. The fact that this car is such an early example (first year of production was 1963) of one of the longest-running sports car models ever produced made this a very cool project. The connection that the client has with this one-owner car, and that we’re part of keeping it in the family, goes beyond cool and makes it very meaningful to us.” Jonathan Aloisio learned his love of cars and the mechanical craft at the feet of his late father, Dave, who raced cars with Jonathan, built race engines, and
NOVEMBER 2019 THEWCPRESS.COM
Voice of the Borough