By Ashley Reyes
The SEMA Automotive Restoration Market Organization (ARMO) named Classic Restorations of Southern Indiana as the council’s latest member spotlight company.
Get to know the company’s story and breakthrough moment in SEMA’s interview with company owner Dustin Foust.
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 restoration shops, and determined that he was tired of doing the work for someone else. Pat started a project for a customer on the side and the customer had a vacant building so Pat entered into a rent. From there he 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 probably the build that put us on the national stage was a ’70 Fastback Mustang. We did a complete Resto Mod/Big Block, 5-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.
SEMA: Tell us about your business now in 2022 and projects that you are working on.
DF: We have a big build ongoing for the past several years, which I can’t provide any pictures. This is a big job for us. We have the following that are just wrapping up:
- ’66 Corvette Coupe: Ground-up NCRS restoration.
- ’56 Ford Thunderbird: The owner’s grandpa bought it new after qualifying for the Indy 500 the same year. The father started the restoration at another shop but was never completed, and the grandson brought it to us as a finished shell, and we are in the process of completing the complete frame-off restoration.
- ’76 Buick Electra 225: The owner’s grandma bought it new and it was left to him, 32,000 original miles, had sat for 20-plus years, and brought it to us to get back on the road and all cleaned up.
- ’66 Chevelle SS: Ground up pro-touring build. We are doing everything but paint.
- ’56 Chevy Bel Air: Insurance job after a front-end collision.
SEMA: Tell us about a particular project, product or build you are proud of.
DF: That is a difficult question to answer as we are proud of every build we complete and strive the make the next one better than the last.
SEMA: What advice do you have for young professionals contemplating a career in the automotive aftermarket, particularly in the restoration segment?
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.
Fill out an ARMO member spotlight form to highlight how your company is contributing to the specialty-equipment industry. Selected candidates are eligible to be featured on ARMO’s social media, SEMA News and future ARMO member updates.