By Ashley Reyes
|Classic Restorations’ '70 Fastback Mustang.
Classic Restorations of Southern Indiana LLC has been named as this week’s SEMA Hot Rod Industry Alliance’s (HRIA) council spotlight member. In HRIA’s recent interview with company partner Dustin Foust, Foust answers questions about Classic Restorations’ current and upcoming vehicle projects, their ’70 Fastback Mustang that made national headlines, and offers advice to aspiring professionals in the automotive aftermarket.
SEMA: Tell us the story of your business? How did you start?
Dustin Foust: We opened January 1, 1991. My dad (Pat) started and previously had worked at collision shops and a couple of restoration shops. He determined that he was tired of doing the work for someone else. He started a project for a customer on the side and the customer had a vacant building; He entered into a rent and never looked back. I worked part-time through high school and college and joined full-time in 2010 and became equal partners in the business in 2011. Today, Classic Restorations has three full-time employees and two part-time.
SEMA: What was your breakthrough moment?
DF: We were always busy, but the build that probably put us on the national stage was a ’70 Fastback Mustang. We did a complete Resto Mod/Big Block, five-speed, and so on, and took the car to several shows in 2009. The car was featured on the cover of Modified Mustang & Ford magazine and won several Best of Show awards. From there we were getting work from all over.
Classic Restorations of Southern Indiana LLC.
SEMA: Tell us about your business now in 2020.
DF: We’ve had a big build ongoing for the past six years, which I can’t provide any pictures. This is a big job for us. We have the following that are just wrapping up:
- ’71 Ford Torino Ground Up Resto Mod—everything but paint—just delivered.
- ’65 Mustang Coupe—targeting this one for the Builder’s Showcase at Street Rod Nationals in August—provided they still have it.
- ’30 Model A Sedan—customer in her 70s—original—had it in her family since it was purchased new. Doing a safety evaluation/road ready so she can drive it around town.
- ’66 Corvette Coupe Ground Up NCRS Restoration.
- ’34 Ford 5 Window coupe—rewire and detail—327 Small block, 39 Lincoln three-speed.
SEMA: What changes are you seeing in the industry?
A '65 Corvette restored by Classic Restorations, which won the National Corvette Restorers Society (NCRS) Top Flight Award.
DF: New technology, one-off parts are easier to find and produce. Parts are more available, and the cost is dropping with 3D printing technology.
SEMA: What advice do you have for young professionals contemplating a career in the automotive aftermarket?
DF: There is no substitute for hard work. Listen, learn and get your hands dirty. The elders in the business can offer a wealth of knowledge and experience. Most are more than willing to share. This will keep our industry strong.