Meet Paul Russell
Paul Russell is a hands-on Owner/Manager, diligently pursuing the details that apply to all facets of a car's preservation, whether on the shop floor discussing the intricacies of a repair procedure with the team or chasing down a critical piece of historical reference information.
His personal passion, to preserve the great examples of automotive design and to honor their original construction details, fuels the business. Paul's underlying goal is to reproduce, whenever feasible, the period construction techniques so that the next generation of restorers is able to see the car as it was originally conceived and built.
From his first job as a mechanic with an independent repair shop, it was clear to Paul that the necessary priorities of a street-car service business did not satisfy his personal desire to perform high quality workmanship. Five years after his arrival at a small firm that catered to Mercedes-Benz of the 1950s, and with encouragement from his entrepreneurial mother and engineer father, Paul purchased that firm's restoration division. In June of 1978 he opened for business under the name of "Gullwing Service Company, Inc.".
By 1998, with two decades of award-winning restorations, his clients requested he equip the shop to accommodate their great prewar, coach-built European cars. Renaming the business "Paul Russell and Company", he expanded his focus to include the classic European sports, touring, and racing models from the prewar era through the 1960s.
Free time is spent with his family: wife Barbara, children Patrick and Kimberly, and granddaughter Emma.
- National Advisory Board chair:
McPherson College Automotive Restoration Program
The SAE Historic Vehicle Technical Standards Committee
The International Chief Judge Advisory Group (ICJAG)
The International Advisory Council for the Preservation of the Ferrari Automobile (IAC/PFA)
- Honorary Doctorate of Applied Arts:
McPherson College Automotive Restoration Program
Revs Institute, Symposium on Connoisseurship and the Collectible Car
National Automotive Heritage Summit, Historic Vehicle Association, US Department of the Interior
- Guest Curator:
Museum of Fine Arts, Speed, Style and Beauty
Cavallino Classic; Ferrari Club of America Nationals; Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance
“We have a simple philosophy: A car has to work well, not just be pretty to look at. We are most satisfied when we are able to preserve a classic car at the highest level of performance as well as beauty.”
Whether our expertise is being employed on a car that is fully restored or one that is completely original, it is applied with concern for the future of the car in mind. We value what these cars were in their day, and our work shows respect for the workmanship and execution of the original builder.
Our extensive experience provides us with a unique perspective on cars that are perhaps no longer fresh and gleaming. When a car has enjoyed sympathetic care and maintenance over its life, it deserves an intelligent approach to its ongoing preservation. At times it is more appropriate to restrain the urge to make a car like new again, perhaps a surprising concept to be promoted by a company renowned for its body-off restorations. While we do not recommend a ground-up restoration on every car, we do advocate performing all necessary work with respect for historical accuracy.
We feel it is our responsibility to be well versed in the minutiae of the remanufacturing process. You can expect us to fully investigate a car's history, to make the correct decision on details that you will most likely never see, to use processes that do not damage original characteristics, and to monitor productivity and maximize labor value.
How We Do Business
Paul Russell and Company was founded on the principles of integrity, quality, and service to the client. We administer the financial side of each project with the same high standards and professional manner with which we perform our restoration and service work.
Before We Begin
Of the utmost importance is the reality that no two jobs are exactly alike - not even when the model of car is identical. Prior care provided and service work performed can be so varied that there is little to compare from job to job. Completed projects can only be a rough guideline for one about to begin.
After thoroughly examining your car, a work list tailored to its specific needs and your priorities is generated. Based upon our years of experience doing similar jobs, an estimate of the potential costs for that work is created. This is not a closed-end quote. We proceed using the work list you authorize as our guide, and bill all projects on a time-plus-materials basis.
Estimates and Scheduling
It is difficult to provide meaningful estimates for extensive restoration and service work. The initial to-do list for a project will inevitably expand as the job progresses. Mostly these adjustments are the result of challenges that we uncover during the disassembly process, or additional work authorized in conjunction with the original work list. An engagement letter outlining our expectations and business policies is generated for each major project.
Precise scheduling of the service or restoration needs of 40+ year-old cars is nearly impossible. Changes in the work list of an ongoing project can affect the start date of subsequent jobs. We do work very hard to not set aside any job until it is completed.
Cash Flow, Billing, and Insurance
Large projects require a realistic approach to the financial obligation. We work against advance installments on all projects other than basic preventative maintenance. Once an approximate work progress calendar is established, we can develop a cash flow schedule so you may plan for the financial commitment required to keep your job moving.
Clear and current billing information is provided for each project, whatever its scope. Charges for labor, parts, and outside services are listed on weekly repair records along with detailed labor descriptions. We send out monthly summary statements, which include copies of these weekly records, with an accounting of payments made and payments due. If it becomes necessary to put a car in storage until the requested payment arrives, those charges plus interest on past due amounts will be billed to the project. Naturally, up to date accounts receive top priority in the shop schedule and full payment of all outstanding bills is required upon completion.
We strongly recommend that you continue to carry full coverage insurance on your car while it is at our shop, in storage, or being transported.
Understandably, some prospective customers inquire as to what kind of guarantee we provide on our work. While a formal warranty policy is available on request, your ultimate security is our commitment to protect our most valuable asset - our impeccable reputation. We have earned that reputation by employing experienced, dedicated people and providing the best possible service to our clients. Virtually all of our business comes from repeat customers and referrals. Above all, we are a service company.
Surely one of the most rewarding moments in a restoration is when you first take the wheel of your "new" classic car. However, restoration work is a labor intensive and unpredictable endeavor. Our responsibility is to perform high quality work in line with your personal objectives for the car, and to work closely with you throughout the job. We make no representation regarding how our work will affect the value of your car. We invite our clients to experience the process of having a car built just for them, to truly appreciate the quality and detail of our work.
A Reverence for Craftsmanship
Paul Russell and Company has been specializing in the preservation and sales of pre-1970 Mercedes-Benz, Ferrari, Porsche, Bugatti, Alfa Romeo, and other fine European collectibles since 1978. Our renowned attention to the details has resulted in numerous awards including 36 Best of Show honors, and our craftsmanship has been on display at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts and the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris.