December 10, 2012

Mid-December: Shop Update

It's finally snowing outside and we have been busy in the shop. The 1963 Galaxie Convertible has received it's complete mechanical overhaul and is leaving with her owners in the coming days. This project was specifically to have the car a fun to drive and useful car that will bring back fond memories of cruising the roads 30+ years ago for the owners.

There was no actual cosmetic body work involved on this project. A light buffing and polishing is all that the exterior paint had done. The underside of the car was touched up in spots and the frame needed some light work. Once all of the chassis work was completed the full underside of the car received a protective black under coating. All of the mechanical, electrical, brakes and suspension were re-vamped and brought back to working order to meet modern day standards. We also went over the interior of the car and gave it some creature comforts like a new am/fm hidden radio and 2 additional speakers below the rear seats. All of the upholstery is now back to new including the convertible top, front and back seats, door panels and carpet.When you are sitting in the car it looks and smells just like it recently came off the show room floor.

The owners of this car have a lengthy history with this car in their lives and in their family. More photos will follow with final delivery just around the corner. Use the following link to follow the complete gallery of the project:

 Still in progress, buffing the lacquer paint brought it to a pretty good shine considering it's the original paint.
New upholstery and the new convertible top really bring the 63 Galaxie back to life. Here we are finishing the installation of the rear seat belts.

We currently have projects booked through the winter including a 1953 truck cab for welding and fabrication, and a 1967 Mercury Cougar assembly and final mechanical work in addition to finishing the 1965 Ford Galaxie Fastback which is for sale upon completion. That is just the list for the next 2 months. We have openings after May of 2013 with occasional availability prior to that. Feel free to e-mail us with questions on your project.

September 2, 2012

Why THAT car?

There are so many cars in the world. Many of the cars that were a familiar sight on the street decades ago can no longer be found. For some of these cars that may be a blessing, but for others it's a mystery as to why there weren't more of them saved and maintained. In the end, it's a matter of taste and nostalgia that determined which cars were simply let go of, and which ones are saved, restored and cherished.

All car owners have their reasons for choosing the vehicle they love so dearly. Many fondly remember the car they took family road trips in or their favorite high school mode of transportation. Maybe they learned to drive in that truck at their grandparents farm (we won't mention they were only 8 years old and could barely touch the pedals). The every day drivers that were taken for granted and treated as simply utilitarian in purpose are now high value classic vehicles. Hopefully the Nomad or Chevelle you owned wasn't sold, wrecked or traded away, but in most cases the driving public would routinely use, abuse and then upgrade to a newer vehicle only to smack themselves on the forehead decades later. "That car would have been worth $70,000 now if I hadn't traded it in for that Chevette". Ouch.

Some of the cars purchased later in their life are because one could never justify(or afford) a particular car years ago when they so badly wanted it. Often the purchase of this vehicle is due to a midlife crisis. However, some are bought in a clear state of mind and motivated by the persistent desire to drive that "unicorn" of the past. Regardless of why and how, at least it is finally in their driveway.

Then there are the few that yearn for being weird. They simply want to turn heads and inspire the question "why?" every time they are seen driving around town. Their vehicles serve as a conversation piece and they hope to be able to interest people. Whether they leave it stock or make their own modifications, you can bet they had a motive.

Any time you see someone taking a drive in their classic vehicle, ask them why they chose that particular type of auto. We'll bet you get a long and very interesting answer. 

June 24, 2012

Summer Show Update

The show season in the local area has been a fun one so far this year. We started it off with a bang at the Automotion show in WI Dells. The 1949 Chevy Pickup 3100 made it's debut there. We have to admit that the truck was on a trailer to get to the dells and then driven onto the show grounds. Why you might ask? The truck's top speed is about 45mph and the roads to the Dells are less than smooth. The 216 and 3 speed on the column are great! The challenge is with the ruts in the roads that are barely wider than the white wall tires.

This little green truck attracts a lot of big attention. Young and old are drawn to it. Most of the trucks that are shown of this era are modified. This one however is stock. The only things that were changed: gas tank relocated to beneath the bed at the far back of the truck, conversion to disc brakes and it has seat belts(which we keep getting flack for from some of the most nostalgic viewers, but it is safer and the owner is a retired paramedic and firefighter). People seem to enjoy the time warp they experience when they admire a truck that looks like it's straight out off the 1949 showroom floor. It is just as much fun to ride in as well. "Everybody waves!" says Pat, one of the owners.

Pat and Paul Sharpe bought the truck from a little town in Northern WI because Paul always wanted a 5 window 1949 Chevy. It shares the birth year of both of it's owners, not to state their age publicly or anything but that's the honest reason they got it. It was in red primer and it did run but was in need of a whole lot of attention mechanically and cosmetically. After being trailer to the shop the dis-assembly made it look a little more challenging yet. Some of the repairs done by previous owners were using tar and newspaper to fill instead of metal. The bed was used for oily parts storage as well. All the bed boards were there and although stained with oil they appeared salvageable and Paul took them home to refinish them. They turned out beautifully. The rest of the complete frame off restoration can be viewed through our photo gallery at:

So far this year the truck has been to 3 shows with the following results: 
WI Dell's Automotion- Top 6 Truck, Stock (Pictured here with shop owner Steve Gursky)

Beaver Dam Swan City Car Show- Best of Class Stock Truck 1900-2012 (Pictured with truck owner Paul Sharpe)

Portage Cruizin' Car Show- Event Class Winner Stock Truck 1947-2012 (Pictured with truck owner Paul Sharpe)

Congratulations to the owners! The positive remarks from spectators and judges are too numerous to mention but one stands out: "I hope you have a room big enough for all the trophies that thing will win"- fellow car show participant.

Next one on the docket is Fox Lake on July 28th (and maybe one or two in before that if time allows).

June 15, 2012

Driven Restorations in the News!

Car restoration business helps people drive their dream

We were recently featured in the Beaver Dam Daily Citizen. We are excited for the show circuit this summer and will continue the activities this Sunday at the Beaver Dam Swan City Car Show.

Thank you to all the local business's for their support and excellent service!

truck restoration
Steve and Molly Gursky with the recently completed 1949 Chevrolet 3100 5-window

The following was published by The Daily Citizen and was written by Amanda Lutey:

RANDOLPH — A car restoration business that prides itself on quality work has a simple goal – helping people drive their dream.
Steve Gursky Jr. and his wife, Molly, own Driven Restorations, located at their rural Randolph home.
The Gursky's moved to Randolph from northwestern Wisconsin a few years go when Molly had a job change. A graduate of Wyotech, Steve said he’s been working on cars since he was 8 or 9, and working on them professionally for about 12 years.
Driven Restorations will work on projects big and small, from a frame-off restoration to minor repairs and does almost everything in house except upholstery and machine work on engines. Driven Restoration fully document projects – including photographs and videos so the owner can see the process.
The Gursky's said they try to stay with local suppliers as much as they can.
Steve said he takes pride in his work, and considers each car he works on to be an advertisement for his business.
“People really notice the details,” he said. “It’s all about the details.”
Molly said a project can be restored back to stock, or customized with performance parts.
The Gursky's said the car scene is a lot bigger in this area than it was in northern Wisconsin. Steve had worked for an auto body shop on restoration and collision projects. He said he’s not going to get rich working on restorations through his current business.
“You have to have a passion to do it,” Steve said.
Steve restores a limited number of vehicles a year and Molly does all the bookkeeping(,customer service) and marketing.
“We do things knowing we will stand behind them,” Steve said. “All work is guaranteed.”
"We really focus on quality,” said Molly. “But we make sure we do what the customer wants.”
Current projects include a 1965 Ford Galaxie and a 1959 Dodge Sierra Spectator nine passenger wagon.
“I like old cars,” Steve said. “I could do this all day, everyday - and I do.”
Driven Restoration plans to be at the annual Swan City Car Show on Sunday in Beaver Dam, and will serve as a show sponsor for the Cruzin’ Portage Car and Truck Show on June 24.
To learn more about Driven Restorations, call (608) 609-5041, or (920)326-9314 find them on Facebook or visit their website,
The Swan City Car Show will take place Sunday at Swan City Park in Beaver Dam. Admission is free for spectators. The event opens at 8 a.m. An awards presentation will begin after 3:30 p.m.

May 25, 2012

1949 Chevy Pickup Truck: Before and After

1949 Chevrolet 3100 Pickup Truck
1949 Chevy- In primer as purchased
1949 Chevrolet Pickup Truck restored
1949 Chevy completed and ready to drive

Placed in Top 6 at Automotion 2012 in Wisconsin Dells among approximately 150 trucks and 1200 vehicles

See photos of the full restoration from start to finish in our gallery 

Questions? Email us at
Like us on Facebook to see out latest work in progress

April 22, 2012

Website Updates!

A new website is rapidly approaching!

We have been working on a new format that will allow larger picture files, include the blog roll on the webpage and contain some new information about our business. We have to thank The Coder Group for all of the work they did on the new format. Our picture posting will be vastly improved and we now have links to ALL of the venues that we share information through. This includes mostly Facebook, Blogger, Twitter and YouTube, but we also are working to maintain LinkedIn and Google+.

Through the summer we will attend many of the area car shows and automotive events and will post updates and photos from each of them. We will be maintaining our own car show and event calendar to include the events we plan to attend(and some that we may miss)

If you have any thoughts or ideas for making us even better on the web please share!

April 6, 2012

Summer Schedule

     The summer of 2012 will be a busy one for us. Most of the events we will attend are local(within WI or a neighboring state). The method behind that madness is to meet as many people locally as possible while keeping the extreme pace of vehicle restorations that we've been on for the last 6 months. The first big one of the season will be the show debut for the 1965 Galaxie and the 1949 Chevy Pickup. See the before's:

     Both of these projects were in a rough state upon arrival(obviously). It will be refreshing to get them out to a show in their full glory and completed at the end of this month at the Madison Classics Jefferson Spring Car Show and Swap Meet. The Galaxie will be for sale upon completion.

The 2012 show dates are as follows:
Madison Classics Jefferson Spring Show, April 27-19th
Beaver Dam, Swan City Car Show, June 17th
Cruzin' Portage Car & Truck Show (show sponsor), June 24th
Iola Old Car Show (and huge swap meet), July 12-15
Car Craft Summer Nationals (MN State Fairgrounds) July 20-22
Goodguys Chicagoland Nationals, Joliet IL, August 10-12
Pardeville car show Sept 1st, 2012
Dodge County Car Show and Swap Meet(Beaver Dam WI) Sept 8-9th
Madison Classics Jefferson Fall Car Show and Swap Meet Sept 28-30

Thats a basic summary. We will be attending most of these and possibly some additional local shows as well. We hope you can find us there!

April 4, 2012

Get Your Motor Running

Test running a motor is always an exciting day!

This is the 390 for the '65 Galaxie bored .30 over. All we have to do now is get the body done and back on the frame in 2 weeks...yes. 2 weeks. Did I mention that the interior has to be completely re-done and the chrome has yet to come back from the plating company? It's okay though. We're used to deadlines.

Rebuilt Ford 390 in the Ford Galaxie
The rebuilt Ford 390 almost ready for a test run

To see the rebuild of the 1965 Galaxie 500 visit our webpage at or find us on Facebook

March 12, 2012

Getting it DONE

     There are numerous stories of restorations that are half completed or in some stage of ruin after being worked on and then left to rot. Any number of these vehicles can be spotted in sheds and garages at various locations around the country. When you stop at these places to ask to buy these vehicles the likely response is "I'm restoring it". But at what point is "restoring" no longer the valid word to use? Drop the "re" and just say "storing". And why does this happen so often?  Did they get stuck at a point that they lacked the skill or knowledge to complete? The more likely story is that all their funds were exhausted much faster than anticipated and total costs got too high and there are still a couple major parts missing that cannot be found but are essential to moving forward with the project.

     First of all, lets not sugarcoat it, there is a LOT of money to be spent to complete a vehicle from start to finish. Paint and materials at lowest cost will run at LEAST $2000 to upwards of $4000 just for sandpaper, paint, primer etc.(UPDATE: Thanks to the EPA costs have increased, You can now double these prices as of 2014). Not to mention the cost of new/replacement parts, bolts and hardware for assembly, chrome, body filler, patch metal, and special tools you may need to finish the job. But the majority of the investment, whether you are using a restoration shop like ours or doing it yourself, is time. It would be great to assume that you can have a car done from start to finish in a week, but that is a dream unless you are on one of those reality shows, and most of these cut a lot of corners and don't create a driver friendly car that will last. In most cases you can't complete frame-off restoration for less than $20,000 and that's if you do the majority of the work yourself  so there is no hired labor. However, please consider that paying that labor on certain portions of the restoration will pay you back in longevity of the finished project and value of the vehicle in the future.

     So for those of you that are doing your own work, how do you stay motivated through completion? How do you avoid "storing" your project and wishing it was finished?  As much fun as it is to get the project started, it pales in comparison to the first drive down the road when it's done. Use your resources and allocate your time and funds efficiently. With careful planning and with some sweat and patience you will finally get out on the road.

See this relevant article about budgeting for car restoration:

At Driven Restorations we can provide you resources to assist you in completing your project with a customized project portfolio. We'll tailor it to your needs for a nominal fee and set you on track with documentation assistance, parts location and research so set you on your way to Make it Driven. Email Molly at to find out more.

February 23, 2012

Chrome...The end result better be worth it!

     Anyone that has had chrome plating bid for their various car parts can relate to the utter shock that hits you upon hearing the price to have your bright work done. There aren't many options for automotive parts to be sent to on a local level, but the options that are here are ALL expensive. There are good reason's for this. 

1. Quality and longevity of the finish
2. Appearance 
3. Service

    We have found 3 chrome business's in our local area(and we define Local as within Wisconsin). There is the mail option to have them done from out of state, but we like to keep it somewhat local when it comes to services of this nature.

All of the trim is removed using tools and pry bars designed specially for removing trim without causing excessive flexing or breaking off clips and studs. 

Before: Beltline trim on the Galaxie 500

Once the trim is removed, we document the starting condition and label any related hardware to ensure it can be re installed correctly once refinished.
1965 Ford Galaxie Bumper chromed
1965 ford Galaxie parts

65 Galaxie Chrome trim
Before: Galaxie 500 chrome trim

1965 Galaxie fender emblem
Before: Fender emblem
     #1 tip for buying a car that needs restoration if you're on a tight budget: Buy one that has all the chrome still in show quality (good luck!). As an alternative, locate a car with minimal chrome trim or go the custom route and make use of body color or removing the trim altogether. If you must have a car with chrome make sure that all the parts come with the car and that they are at the very least straight, the studs are intact, and they are in restoreable condition(not too many pits/gashes/gouges and enough metal left to plate etc). If they are too far gone, check for aftermarket replacements but shop carefully. The plating will be thinner and less consistent than if you have the original piece dipper. Not to mention potential issues with fitting the pieces on the car itself. 
1965 Galaxie 500 fender emblem
After: Re-plated, painted and installed Galaxie 500 fender emblem

The "frosting" all over a car sure does look nice...and it better, considering the price tag.

February 20, 2012

The 1965 Ford Galaxie: parts and progress

     We are DONE with metal work on the Galaxie project. The 1965 car is being fully restored to better than new and we've gotten to the mud work in just over 7 weeks of work. The frame is done and is a roller, the metal work was extensive but now has the car free of rust, and the engine work is in progress. The products that we've used on this car to date are numerous but we did find a supplier that could meet most of our needs to date.

     Deerborn Classics has been our source for a number of items. The only body panels we bought were for the lower quarters. We discovered real quickly that to buy the quarter that is double the price of the cheaper version was well worth the money. It comes formed to the body lines and saves labor hours in forming the lines and contours around the wheel well(see picture below). For the rest of the patch panels we used plain old sheet metal from a local supplier (Al-Win) and shaped it to form. It's turned out beautifully so far and mud work is underway.
1965 Ford Galaxie quarter repair

      The only thing that was difficult was the number of shipments we received from Deerborn. We ordered a large dollar amount of items and they arrived over a period of 3 weeks and ALL in separate boxes. There has got to be a better way to ship for their sake! Needless to say we weren't impressed with the scatterbrained method of delivery, however, most of the products have been up to par.