Paul’s Rods and Restos – Where Passion Prevals
Passion and persistance have made Paul’s Rods and Restos what it is today. The road to a successful career can be full of obstacles with unexpected curves, bumps, and detours – and sometimes even taking a path that gets you lost for a while. With determination, you can learn from all of those experiences – the good, bad and ugly – to get you to where you love what you do and do it with success. For Paul DiMauro, the proprietor of Paul’s Rods and Restos, the road may have been fraught with ups and downs, but his passion for hot rods combined with determination have lead him to a successful shop and more.
“I am blessed to make a living working on hot rods,” Paul explained. “I look back at my journey and how it has led me to where I am today and I’m so thankful.”
Paul’s Rods and Restos, located smack-dab in the middle of Long Island in the area of Deer Park, New York, is a complete hot rod shop that can handily take care of everything from an A/C upgrade on a street rod to a full frame-up restomod rebuild on a muscle car. But there’s more to Paul’s than a frame-to-finish restoration shop, it’s more like a complete hot rodding campus sprawling through 28,000 square feet!
DiMauro opened Paul’s Rods and Restos in 2005 and focused on quality craftsmanship combined with customer service. Like any new shop, it took years of perseverance and dedication, but the company became known for its quality builds throughout the region. Paul explained that each build is like a billboard on wheels and word of mouth continued to help grow the shop. Ten years later, Paul saw the need to expand.
“I recognized the need for a specialized header and exhaust shop,” Paul explained. “In 2015 we opened Paul’s Custom Headers and Exhaust, where we can control the quality of our complete project cars while helping other rodders find an exhaust shop they can trust to do the job right.” This dedicated 3,000sq.ft. shop is outfitted with mandrel benders and a staff that can finish a complete custom stainless exhaust system.
Not one to rest, Paul also recognized the opportunity for wholesale and retail sales to support other builders and enthusiasts and filled about 3,000sq. ft. with products from the top names in the performance aftermarket to open Paul’s Hot Rod and Muscle Car Parts. The plan is to support local rodders with the best components as well as to expand the shop’s customer base for installations and customer support. There’s also a towing and storage division along with a new consignment center.
FINDING THE RIGHT PATH
For the last 10-15 years, the road for Paul has been full of positive experiences, but it had taken a few detours in the years prior. As a young hot rodder with a ’56 Chevy, Paul worked as an apprentice in a machine shop followed by five years with a body man before opening his own collision repair shop. Things were going well for the young entrepreneur, but he fell into the wrong crowd, made a few wrong choices, and it all crashed down.
Within a year’s time, he lost everything, including his two brothers to drug overdoses. “I vowed to turn my life around. I made a promise to change my life and was given a second chance.” Paul continued. “I put all of my energy and time into starting over and opened a new collision shop, but my passion was still to build classic hot rods and muscle cars.”
PAYING IT FORWARD
Paul considers his employees as family and has surrounded himself with like-minded hot rodders who are dedicated to their craft. With an average age of about 35, Paul understands the importance of involving the next generation of rodders and has built relationships with trade schools in the area. They support job fairs at local schools, bring in students for shop tours and internships, and are involved with the Automotive Youth Education System of the Wilson Technical Institute.
The shop enjoys paying it forward and is currently working on a ’65 Mustang build that will be auctioned off with 100-percent of the proceeds going to Homes for Our Troops. They also finished the restoration on a ’70 GTO for the family of Major Jeffrey Calero who started the project but was killed while duty on Afghanistan.
“We need to work together, to evolve with our peers and keep the hot rod industry rolling into the future,” Paul added. “I’m thankful for what we get to do.”
Paul’s path may not have been a smooth one by any means, but everything he’s experienced through his life is part of how he attributes the success of his company. Combine that with a strong will, determination, the support of his loving wife Chee Chee, and the entire team at Paul’s, and you get a group that is ready to sweat the details and build the best hot rod possible.