Cantonment’s Velocity Restorations Give Old Cars New Life
When you look at a vintage car still in mint condition, you almost expect to hear at least one person say “they don’t make them like that anymore”.
Out-of-block speed restores would be different.
The company restores classic Ford Broncos while incorporating modern technology that would be fitted to a new car in the field.
Since moving the company from a small store on Navy Boulevard to a 135,000 square foot store in Cantonment last July, the company has been determined to earn the same recognition from its community that it has earned from enthusiasts. cars across the country.
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To locals, Velocity Shop manager Will Myers said the business is a bit like Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory to Cantonment residents: No one really knows what’s going on behind the front door.
All they know is that shiny new Ford Broncos from the 60s and 70s constantly pass them on the road during their regular three-minute test drives.
The company’s team is made up of both automotive connoisseurs and burnt-out construction workers and plumbers who have reincarnated their careers as mechanics at Velocity.
Even though managers have taken a long time to train staff with limited experience, the low turnover rate justifies the investment, according to Myers. Many have made the decision to stay and grow within the company in management positions, now overseeing different stages of the production chain.
Some employees hired as entry-level painters now lead teams responsible for quarter-million dollar renovations.
“We’ve built an employment industry here that gives you a future,” Myers said.
The staff numbered just around 30 at this time last year, but it has now grown to 100. That’s a number the company’s management expects to double in 2023.
Although Broncos are the hallmark of the company, thanks to Velocity owners Stuart Wilson and Brandon Segers, Velocity doesn’t shy away from restoring other classic vehicles, like the Chevy Camaro or Ford Mustang.
The company rolls out approximately 100 restored vehicles available for purchase from the showroom each year, in addition to four or five lengthy custom restorations. Currently, the company is working on two different custom vehicles totaling $1 million each.
Some of the more elaborate work can take around two years, compared to the standard 14 weeks for regular restorations.
Customers from across the country will come to Pensacola to quickly give their car a shout-out over the years or ask for photo updates, Myers said.
Currently, Velocity holds a two-year waiting list for larger-scale restorations. These types of jobs also require the training that some technicians work their whole lives to obtain.
“Our attention to detail is second to none,” said Myers. “It’s a classic, vintage look with a modern ride.”
Jonathon Seger, a quality control technician at Velocity, recalled how a customer brought in an old truck his dad used to take him camping in the 1970s. Restoring the truck gave him more than just a ride, but brought him back this moment in time.
For most clients, restorations are lifelong dreams that they finally have the means to pursue, as each renovation costs an average of around $250,000.
“It’s almost like being a kid at Christmas,” Myers said. “It’s something they’ve been dreaming about for years and most of the time they’ve worked hard at it. We’re kind of making that dream a reality.
During a client’s first consultation, these dreams are scribbled on a piece of paper to be transferred into a digital design.
These first meetings begin with questions like, “So, you want the exterior blue? Alright, do you want a metallic Breton blue or a muted baby blue? Then, once they have your answer, the sales rep will continue, “What about the interior? White? Leather? Do you want upgraded tech, like heated seats, rear view camera or an automated staircase to enter the vehicle?”
“Those are the things I love,” Seger said. “Bringing the old with the new.”
Customers become giddy creating their own grocery list of features for technicians, only being deterred if the technician thinks a decision may reduce resale value later.
Cody Dabney, Velocity store manager and employee of seven years, said his favorite restoration wasn’t even the company’s signature Bronco, but a 1968 Chevrolet Chevelle.
He appreciated how the mission involved working on a low-flying hot-rod rather than a beast designed for four-wheel drive, and recalled how the vehicle was custom-built “from the ground up.”
Each step of the construction process, although meticulous, gradually brings out the client’s vision. The most satisfying feeling then becomes the finished vehicle ready for its first test drive.
“You see it coming together and it brings new life,” Dabney said.
Seger said that although he has been doing the restorations for nearly seven years now, each project still feels unique.
“Everyone has their own soul,” Seger said. “Each truck has its own quirks, its own attitudes. Legitimately, everyone is different.
Seger plans to help Velocity step into the future of “green” technology, which Myers says is expected to roll out next year.
The company plans to double in size and is always looking for interested and experienced employees, according to Myers. Those wishing to apply can visit the Careers tab on the Velocity website.