Our Workspace

We are quite proud of our workshop, purpose-built to support the award-winning restoration work that is accomplished within. Our workspace has evolved over the decades to include Coachbuilding, Bodywork and Paint, Mechanical, Machining, Upholstery, Parts and Materials, and a Sales Showroom, all under one roof. 17 talented craftsmen and 10 support staff operate out of a 30,000 sq. ft. state-of-the-art complex.

As you enter our front door there is a feast for the eyes. Any of our award-winning cars may be on display, depending on what is currently under our care. The walls are covered with some of the articles written about our restoration projects and a photo display featuring many of our award winning cars. Surrounding the Reception desk are the Offices where the business details are handled by our Administrative staff. Alex Finigan, who handles our Sales and Brokerage requests, can often be found in his office looking through his impressive collection of reference materials on behalf of a client. The Conference room holds another extensive library of automotive research books and historic photos, plus original paint and fabric samples collected over the years. Beyond the Reception area are the double doors into the heart of the workshop.

COACHBUILDING

A tour of our facilities generally starts in the Metal Fabrication Shop, an aspect of our business that did not exist until 1984. We are especially proud of these hard-to-find services, which illustrate both the technical and the artistic skills required for automotive restoration. Panel beating, or recreating a body panel in the proper shape and size from a piece of flat sheet metal, requires a skilled hand and an experienced eye.

Distributed amidst the two work bays in the metal shop is the specialized equipment used by the early coachbuilders, who made all body panels by hand and then fitted them to each individual chassis. For the restoration of a 300 SL body we can reference the full-size blueprints acquired from the Mercedes-Benz factory. But for most metal work we have to use the remaining evidence on the car, in combination with any photographs or drawings from our library of reference materials, to determine what the panel shape should be. Often we must also go out into the classic car community to find other examples, to examine and measure, and occasionally to make templates.

Woodworking is another aspect of the coachbuilder's art. As many of the early car bodies were made by those skilled in making horse-drawn carriages, prewar body frames often were made of wood. There can also be wood trim around door and window frames, wooden seat frames, and of course wooden dashboards. Wood dust is notably injurious to many other aspects of automotive restoration, and so the table saw, hand tools and workspace for these tasks are located elsewhere in our building.

BODY AND PAINT

As in the metal shop, skylights help to give a clear view of panel surfaces. The five work bays are usually full of bodies on chassis jigs and assorted body panels on sanding benches. This is where the body parts are primed and minor surface imperfections are addressed with various epoxy filler primers. Any irregularities or gaps in the fit of the panels are adjusted during trial assemblies, before the color coat is applied.

Our pressurized downdraft Paint Spray Booth is just one part of a significant investment in the proper environmental control equipment needed to do restoration work responsibly. Air is brought in from outside the building, filtered, and then pushed down into the spray booth through a one million BTU gas-fired heater that adjusts the air temperature to the technician's setting. The paint-filled air is exhausted through two sets of filters underneath the floor before being released.

Across from the spray booth is our Paint Mixing Room. Glasurit was the original paint manufacturer for our first speciality marque, Mercedes-Benz, and continues to be the preferred paint supplier for all of our projects. Even with BASF Glasurit's extensive archives, original paint formulas are often hard to find. Color matching a car's paint is a difficult task, made possible with the selection of correct paint toners and precise metallics on hand in our high-tech mixing room.

At one end of the body shop is our Wet Bay. A single-car wide, with floor drains and extra lights, all the messy paint stripping and wet sanding is done within this contained room. Next-door is our state-of-the-art Waste Disposal Room, where the chemicals used for paint stripping and parts cleaning are processed for environmentally correct disposal. Wastewater collected from floor drains located throughout the work areas is filtered and rendered down to low volume solids.

MECHANICAL

Passing through a set of swing doors, large enough to push a car through during inclement weather, we enter the largest workshop area at Paul Russell and Company. The Mechanical Shop has eight work bays, six hydraulic car lifts, a full-sized paint booth for refinishing individual mechanical components, a separate room dedicated to rebuilding engines and transmissions, and an area earmarked for the final assembly stage of major projects. Distributed throughout the work bays are all the workbenches, tools and pieces of equipment necessary for the basic preventive maintenance and preservation work that all decades-old cars need, and for the extended jobs requiring that every last nut and bolt be restored.

A collection of rolling, shelved carts act as flexible dividers between the work bays. Each of these carts is filled with a project's component pieces which will be reassembled into larger and larger parts until, in the case of a body-off restoration, a fully operational rolling chassis stands before you. Items on these shelves will receive a technician's attention many times during the restoration process, as each gets disassembled, inspected, repaired, painted, plated, and reassembled.

Our extensive Parts Cleaning Room can be accessed from either the body or the mechanical shop. It is filled with the wide variety of chemical baths and media blasting cabinets necessary to clean components that have a half-century of sludge attached to them. In a separate area there is an out-dated paint booth that we have converted to a car-sized sandblasting booth.

MACHINE SHOP

At the end of the mechanical area is our Machine Shop. Stationed here are two Bridgeport milling machines, a metal lathe, a surface grinder, precision measuring tools, and a collection of the 'old style' machines used by the original part manufacturers. A Machinist's services are in high demand here, as it is common-place for each project to be in need of quite a few rare items, whether the car is in for restoration or for service. A CAD program is used when work must be sent to a specialty machine shop or when it happens that we need to reproduce multiple quantities of an item, from door handles to door lock springs.

UPHOLSTERY

The side of the building opposite to the metal and body shops is where our coach trimmers perform their craft. The Upholstery Shop has room for one car, for facilitating the hands-on installation of interior pieces such as carpeting and convertible tops. Two extra-large worktables are for laying out and cutting leather hides and other fabrics, as well as for sewing and assembling individual trim pieces.

When rebuilding the seats, interior panels and tops, our restoration technique is true to the original methods and materials used. If the seats or cabriolet tops originally had horsehair padding, that's what our upholsterers use - we make no substitutions such as modern poly-foams just to make the job easier. When requested, our craftsmen will reproduce the custom luggage that was once offered by Mercedes-Benz and other European marques.

PARTS AND RESOURCES

Located in the center of the building, much of the activity here is in direct response to the difficulties encountered in locating the correct parts and materials for these older vehicles. A sigh of relief can be heard when a reproduction is successfully created, a repairable replacement part is found, or a long awaited item finally clears US customs. A back room contains an inventory of commonly used parts.

Bookcases full of parts and service reference books and computers for accessing our digital photo archives add to the atmosphere. Much of the research required to make an informed decision regarding originality details takes place here. This Service area also contains an assortment of desks and files for dealing with the accumulating paper trail, an important part of any project. Clipboards for all active projects, holding the current work records and repair notes, cover one wall.

SALES SHOWROOM

Away from the hustle and bustle of our technicians' work areas, the Showroom usually has a selection of collectible 300 SLs, Porsches, Ferraris, Bugattis and other limited production European classics for sale. Customer's cars are often in the mix, awaiting delivery to the next event or just waiting for spring.

Our Team

It has been said that "The fine art of automobile restoration demands ingenuity, resourcefulness, high technical skill, and a feeling for machinery not too far removed from love". We are fortunate that Paul Russell and Company is made from such, a group of passionately dedicated technicians and administrators.

Administration

Alex Finigan - Classic Car Sales Manager

Andy Hilton - Operations and Parts Assistant

Donnie Graham - Maintenance Manager

Jack Styles - Parts Manager

Janet Oliver - Website, Advertising, Media

Jeanne Kelley - Accounting Assistant

Josh Korpi - Shop Assistant

Paul Russell - Owner-Manager

Sheila Wilson - Office and Sales Administrator

Susan Barnet - Corporate Comptroller

Body and Paint

Darrell Cole* - Body and Metal Technician

Frank Price - Body and Paint Technician, Foreman

Mike Rocco - Body and Paint Technician

Coachbuilding

Davis Griffith - Woodworker

Evan Weymouth - Metal and Coachbuilder, Apprentice

Richard Docking - Master Coachbuilder

Mechanical

Bob Lapane - Drivetrain Specialist

Chris Hammond* - Restoration Technician

Chris Siepka - Service Technician

Chuck Sim - Restoration Technician

Randy Elber* - Restoration Technician

Rich Bryk - Restoration Technician, Foreman

Sean Gill - Restoration Technician

Thane Heal - Restoration Machinist and Technician

Upholstery

Derrick Dunbar - Coach Trimmer, Foreman

Richard Barnes - Coach Trimmer

*Graduate of Automotive Restoration Program, McPherson College

Shop Tour

Mechanical, coach-building, bodywork and paint, upholstery, machining, and materials sourcing craftsmen, all under one roof: "where real people rebuild honest cars for genuine car enthusiasts".

Join Our Team

There are no positions open at this time. However, experienced body and mechanical technicians are always encouraged to review the services we offer. Qualified candidates should complete our on-line application.

To properly preserve the cars entrusted to our care takes a degree of old-world perseverance and skills uncommon in today's world. A willingness to learn from others and a desire to understand technology that is a half-century old is paramount to any job in our workshop. Many components, from ignition coils to window seals to exhaust systems, are simply not available from any parts source. The specifications that were standard when these cars were first built must be investigated, and the necessary materials must be located, before the component can be replaced, restored, or fitted.

You would be working alongside skilled and experienced panel makers, body men, tool makers, upholsterers, and mechanics, all supported by parts and resource specialists. Major projects are directed by a team leader, working in close association with all the different craftsmen. The team depends upon each individual to work to their highest level, and to have a working knowledge of the other disciplines as they relate to the task at hand. To those who truly cherish the craftsmanship of the finest classic automobiles in the world, there can be no better workplace.

Since 1978 we have been passionately dedicated to the preservation of fine automobiles. We undertake projects ranging from regular maintenance and service work such as preparation for rallies like the Colorado Grand, to a complete ‘every nut and bolt’ restoration for the Pebble Beach Concours. We are very serious about performing each aspect of our work correctly, while honoring the historic authenticity of each individual car.

Offers of employment typically include paid holidays and vacations plus a flexible benefits plan consisting of medical insurance, short-term disability, life insurance, a Section 125/132 Cafeteria plan, a 401K plan, and profit sharing. Our current staff has joined us from overseas and across the country. We have a friendly, small business atmosphere.

Our workshop is located about 24 miles north of Boston, Massachusetts. Essex is a small New England colonial-era seacoast village, renowned for building the great wooden fishing schooners of the 1800s. For more information on the area, visit www.visitessexma.com and www.capeannvacations.com.

“Russell's shop is tucked away on one of those winding New England roads tailored for a weekend spin in a '50s-era roadster. The low-slung building is a sort of Plymouth Plantation of the automobile world, peopled by specialists with the skills and knowledge of true artisans.”

Tom Duffy, "Bringing Back the Classics", Cigar Aficionado