As a life-long classic car enthusiast with a soft spot for Corvettes, Dale recognized the opportunity to fill a glaring void in the industry. “There are lots of fabricators, technicians, and painters in the restoration industry that are very talented at what they do, but have no interest in dealing with the headaches of running a business. My background is in developing businesses, so that gave me the idea of providing a platform where everyone can bring their skills together, and Precision Restorations was founded in 2008,” he explains.
With a track record of business experience that stretches several decades, Dale built a highly successful courier and distribution management operation that was named one of the fastest growing companies in America by Inc. Magazine. Furthermore, his successful ventures have earned him the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Blue Chip award, and he was named the Small Business Person of the Year in 1994. Looking forward, Dale continues to leverage his business savvy and expertise to provide unparalleled customer satisfaction, and strives to take Precision Restorations to the next level.
Paul Stroker – Parts Manager
Just like most car guys Paul’s passion started out as a kid helping dad in the garage. Paul said he would run around the garage with grease up to his elbows looking for anything to wrench on. His dad’s Ford model A coupe (which now belongs to Paul) and a ’62 Chevy station wagon were his first victims. It didn’t stop there. As he grew older his list of projects did too. These projects included a ’79 and ’76 Malibu both with built small block Chevys, ’65 Falcon and Fairlane, a ’72 Lemans, and a ’91 Mustang built for the track. Paul is also active in the Nostalgia race scene and an avid Harley rider cruising around on his ’94 Harley Davidson custom chopper.
One of Paul’s first jobs was sweeping floors and changing oil at a small shop which eventually turned into more difficult projects. As an automotive history buff, his extensive knowledge led him into a career of a hot rod and restoration parts specialists. Paul has developed many great working relationships with hordes of vendors and has a knack for coming up with that hard to find one of a kind part. He is a vital part of the Precision Restorations team. E-mail Paul at [email protected] for questions on anything regarding the Precision Restorations parts department.
Frank Ellis – Technician
Always surrounded by older brothers with cool cars as a kid, Frank Ellis had to get in on the action too. As a teenager and young adult, Frank was a Tri-Five Chevy guy to the core, having owned several ’55 and ’56 Chevys. The wildest one he built was a ’55 two-door packing a 421 cubic inch Pontiac motor. Frank has built countless hot rods through the years, and he’s currently working on a ’41 Plymouth with suicide doors and plenty of original patina.
As a seasoned veteran, Frank brings decades of experience to Precision Restorations. Not long after he turned 15 years old, Frank went to work at a trailer shop next to his house. His mechanical skills made quite an impression on the owner, who also happened to run a hot rod shop in East St. Louis. Frank has been building and restoring classic cars ever since, and he has proven to be an invaluable asset at Precision Restorations. Frank can fix just about anything, and he particularly enjoys performing suspension and brake work.
Brad Libich- Technician, Welder, Fabricator
Necessity can be a great motivational tool, and when Brad Libich turned 15, his dad sent him off to the school of hard knocks. “We had a ’72 Olds Cutlass convertible sitting in the garage that had piles of junk stacked on top of it. My dad told me that if I wanted a car to drive when I turned 16, then I better fix the Olds,” he recalls. “I had to figure out what was wrong with it and how to fix it all on my own. I finally got it running, and when I turned 16 it was mine. I still have that car to this day.” That experience kicked off a life-long obsession with cars, and Brad has compiled a very extensive collection of projects that reflect his diverse taste in automobiles. He is currently working on a ’30 Ford Model A coupe, a ’46 Willys Jeep, a ’54 Chevy 210, a ’60 Cadillac Series 62 coupe, an ’88 Mustang GT, a ’93 Mustang convertible, a ’97 Mustang Cobra, and of course that ’72 Olds Cutlass.
To further develop his mechanical skills, Brad earned a degree from Ranken Technical College. After working for seven years as an auto repair technician at major St. Louis area car dealerships, he took a welding course at Ranken that led to a seven year stint as a sheetmetal fabricator in the aerospace industry. Needless to say, Brad’s diverse range of talents is a great asset in the Precision Restorations shop. Not only can Brad handle mechanical work—such as driveline, suspension, and electrical duties—but he also taps into his vast welding and fabrication abilities to fabricate custom exhaust systems, brackets, body panels, and any other part that’s no longer available in a catalog.
Charley Ottwell – Custom Upholstery/Interiors
By maintaining a full-service custom upholstery department in-house instead of outsourcing upholstery work to a third party, Precision Restorations can maintain a much higher level of quality control. This wouldn’t be possible without Charley Ottwell, Precision’s go-to upholstery guru. He’s been restoring car interiors since he was 12 years old, when he learned the tricks of the trade at his dad’s upholstery shop. Together, they restored in interiors on all the family cars: a ’56 Hudson Hornet, a ’65 Mustang convertible, a ’65 Buick Electra, and a ’57 Ford panel van. “I loved doing upholstery work when I was 12 years old, and I still love it today. It’s so rewarding to start with nothing, and then seeing the finished product,” says Charley.
A perfectionist by nature, Charley specializes in making custom upholstery patterns and sewing entire interiors together. Doing this requires keeping a close eye on inventory to make sure all the materials and parts for an interior restoration are in stock.
Dan Wissehr – Painter
Sometimes you literally stumble upon your future career path by accident. After wrecking his ’94 Chevy S-10 pickup truck, with the help of a friend, Dan taught himself the art of collision repair by fixing it himself. Although the damage was minor, the project morphed into a full-on custom truck build with a lowered stance, and custom paint and graphics. Dan refined his artistic ability by landing a job at a body shop, and he later attended the Nashville Auto Diesel College.
Although it went against school policy, Dan made a few extra bucks painting and airbrushing cars on the side for friends and even some instructors. He went on to work at several restoration shops before joining Precision Restorations. As the lead painter in the shop, Dan’s specialties include custom paint, airbrushing, and graphics. His work has earned him multiple industry awards, and Dan’s projects have been featured nationally on magazine covers and on Spike TV. Dan is a true artist and it reflects in his work and his attention to detail. In his spare time, Dan enjoys customizing his ’54 Pontiac Chieftan which has gone from a 4 door to a 2 door with a full custom grill, headlights and chopped top. He also in the process of a full custom ’31 Ford Model A.