Classic Car Articles
Still-One Automotive Restoration
“I’m Italian! Of course it’s in my blood.” Michael Stillone exclaimed when Classic Car Gurus asked him why he was so deeply involved in classic motor vehicles.
It was the mid 1970s and after a very early stint of mucking about building fibreglass boats Michael went on to work with new Alfa Romeos. “There was something about Alfa Romeos that I loved and still do.” Michael added. “However it wasn’t enough, and not before long I was bringing home used Alfas that were desperately in need of a good home. After a little tidying and a new part here and there they were ready for the road again and I would sell them off.”
The eighties saw Michael make a decision that he wanted to use his panel beating and spray painting skills on vehicle restorations. Consequently he spent time with other restorers such as the renowned Classic Autocraft. At decade’s end Michael knew it was time to launch himself into the industry and Still-One Automotive Restorations was born into a factory in the Sydney suburb of Granville.
He has vivid memories of the first car restored by Still-One Automotive – a Jaguar XK150 Drop-Head. That was soon followed by the complete restoration of a Ford Mustang and finishing off a Ferrari 246 Dino that had been started by someone else.
“Now there are 4 of us, and I am pleased that my son Joseph has joined me in the business. It’s not a boast, but each of us is very highly skilled in the art of vehicle restoration. In fact we are all multi-skilled and prepared to tackle any job. Of course to do that the factory is fully equipped with a spray booth, wheeling machine, swaging machine, folders – in fact everything and anything needed to hand-form panels and then shape them to fit.”
With so many cars receiving the Still-One treatment we were interested in what has perhaps been the most challenging. In response we were expecting an exotic European and surprised when Michael said it was a 1960 Pontiac due to the complex and compound curves of its panel work.
As you would expect, experience tells and Michael says that when it comes to a restoration it is always best to repair what you have or hand form it new. “We are coming to the end of a restoration of a Jensen-Healey that had suffered quite a bit from the rust bug. In conjunction with the owner we saw what panels were available overseas and came to the conclusion that it was cheaper to order brand new from outside Australia. It was a mistake as not one single panel fitted as it should have. We ended up repairing the original panels.”
“We are finding the same for an Alfa Romeo 101 that we are also doing. It needs quite a bit of panel work and while we could buy in from overseas, our experience tells us that the fit may be suspect, so we are repairing the original bodywork and as expected it’s coming along beautifully.”
“In addition to the Alfa and Jensen Healey we are currently working on an Aston Martin DB6 Vantage, a ’67 Cadillac and a Pontiac Bonneville. Normally we have 4 to 6 cars in the workshop at any one time and what I have been noticing of late is the increase in the number of Australian and US muscle cars being restored.”
Still-One Automotive offers the complete restoration service and during the process mechanical components are forwarded to trusted repairers. For trimming the same applies with the work either being undertaken off the premises in the case of upholstery or at Still-One with carpets, hoodlining and the like.
When asked what makes Still-One Automotive unique, Michael responded. “We have an excellent reputation and are well known within the industry. We certainly don’t cut corners and offer our customers a fully documented and photographic record of the restoration. We also will not take on any budget work and the result is 100% guaranteed against any defects. Each of us at Still-One is proud of our work and I honestly think the excellent results our cars receive at concours are testimony to what we can achieve.”
Michael also likes to put his conviction to the test and invites inspection of his premises at any time as the doors are always open to fellow enthusiasts.
So if you are curious about the excellent standards set by Still-One Automotive give Michael a call on (02) 9637 8184 or drop in at 22 Berry Street, Granville, Sydney.
Words by Patrick Quinn