Palmer’s Custom Paint & Body in Camarillo specializes in the restoration and manufacturing of automobiles
Alan Palmer is a perfectionist.
Have you ever noticed the space between the door and the body on your vehicle? Palmer, the owner of Palmer’s Custom Paint & Corps, does.
The attention to detail at Palmer’s is so thorough that this space will be carefully examined and perfectly adjusted before a car is finished.
Palmer lives, breathes and eats custom cars and his workshop is the ultimate in automotive restoration and manufacturing.
This is not your everyday body shop. This isn’t a store where you would get the family car repaired unless mom wants the football van cut and channeled, as Palmer specializes in hot rods and custom cars.
Palmer, 37, and longtime Camarillo resident, opened his business two years ago.
Palmer has been interested in hot rods and custom cars since he was a teenager. “When we were young my older brother made us help sandblast the cars he worked on” Palmer said.
Prior to opening the store, Palmer worked for his brother who owns a paint and body shop elsewhere in Camarillo. His brother took the traditional route and specializes in body repair.
But Palmer’s Custom Paint & The agency does not support claims from insurance companies.
It’s not an assembly line and no car is in a rush. “This car building process can take up to eight months,” Palmer explained. “Everyone here takes pride in their work. All of my employees pay close attention to detail. ”
Palmer’s employs six full-time employees in a 13,000 square foot store.
And what a shop it is. In the far corner is a lowered 1950 Mercury. In a plastic closed room a ’71 Chevy Blazer is displayed. The Blazer bears little resemblance to the vehicle off the GM assembly line. In another corner of the store, an employee is working on the skeletal remains of a chassis from an unknown automobile. The late and legendary Ed “Big daddy” Roth would feel right at home in this environment.
At Palmer’s, a custom paint job can cost anywhere from $ 15,000 to $ 20,000.
Her clients range from a carpenter to a local actress. The actress and her dad are doing a dad and daughter restoration project on a 1967 Pontiac GTO. Palmer takes care of the build and paint. Some clients have had their cars since high school and want to restore their dream car for nostalgic reasons.
Currently, the 1959 Chevrolet Impala is one of the most popular cars to be restored. An owner can get a higher price for one. The mid-1960s Chevrolet Chevelle is also back in popular demand. They had one on the screen that had a 572 cubic inch factory crate engine from GM. This monster will produce an enormous power of 620 horsepower.
A popular color with Palmer’s customers is a copper orange or burnt orange shade. Imagine a tangerine or a radioactive pumpkin.
When it’s time to paint, Palmer paints in a booth equipped with a million BTU heater. The temperature in the cabin can reach 160 degrees. This speeds up the drying process and allows you to work on the car the next day.
For environmental reasons, yesterday’s solvent-based paints are being phased out. Water-based paints are there because the water in the paint reduces the amount of volatile organic compounds emitted into the air. And while the EPA has yet to demand the change, Palmer’s has already implemented the change. “It’s going to be tough for some stores,” Palmer said of the change. “A lot of stores and older painters resist the change.”
At this year’s SEMA Show in Las Vegas, Palmer’s showcased four cars. “Most people are happy to have a car in the living room, we had four” Palmer said.
Ahead of the SEMA show, Palmer’s took a ’32 Ford Roadster to an event in Detroit that won the coveted Ridler Award, for best paint job. The workshop spent more than 1,500 hours working on the car in six weeks.
Early in his career, Palmer earned an engineering degree, but found it wasn’t for him. “I am not made to sit behind a desk,” he said. He is happy to go to work each morning and appreciates the time spent in his store, which is typically 12 to 14 hours a day, six days a week.
With all the trips to auto shows, she misses the time spent with her family. “I thank my wife Michele and my sons Austin, Sean and Nathan for supporting me,” says Palmer. “Everything about this business is word of mouth. If you have a bad reputation, you’re not going anywhere. ”
Custom Paint & Body is at 1031 Avenida Acaso in Camarillo. He can be reached at 383-4020 or on the web at www.palmerscustom.com.