Wednesday, May 31, 2023

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Patience is greatest lesson learned from restoring four antique cars

With four vehicles produced across four decades and collected over the course of 40 years, Barry Huff’s accumulation and renovation of antique cars may appear like a slow burn.

But, he says, the most enduring lesson to come from the renos has simply been patience with the process.

“Just don’t get in a big hurry, because it takes a lot longer to fix one than a lot of people realize,” he told The Alamance News, relaying his advice to anyone seeking to give a new shine to old cars. “I had a friend of mine who said he could build a house a lot quicker than fix one of these cars.”

                           HUFF WITH 1934 FORD

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Those cars include a 1934 Ford; a 1941 Chevy, driven in Burlington’s annual Christmas parade last month; a 1955 Chevy; and a 1969 Camaro, Huff’s first undertaking.


Having toyed around with building model cars as a boy, the Burlington resident chuckles when he considers that the four antiques parked in his garage are essentially full-size examples of his childhood hobby.

Huff first began renovating and rebuilding cars in 1980, when he went to work on his Camaro, completing it in three years. Both the 1934 and 1941 models also took three years to complete, while the 1955, which he described as the most trying, took eight.


With that in mind, he says, his favorite part of the process is, well, the end.

“When you finally get finished with them and you get to drive them around the block,” he elaborates.

That’s the other high point, he notes, adding that his vehicles aren’t kept locked away. Rather, they hit the road, taking him to Pigeon Forge, Maggie Valley, and even his home state of New Jersey.

“I drive them, I don’t just show them,” he says. “I build them, I want to drive them, so I don’t just leave them sitting in the garage.”

While he says he doesn’t need any more antiques, the 69-year-old, who has a soft spot for 1950’s-style hot rods, has considered finding a 1960’s station wagon, a hallmark of childhood for many who grew up in the famed vehicle.

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