EDITOR: This text is from an article appearing in the DeVILBISS DIRECTIONS a magazine published for the customers, suppliers, employees and friends of the DeVilbiss company. (Painting equipment manufacturer.) The magazine issue was Fall, 1979.

Thanks to Joel for sharing this old article.

CLICK HERE to see the pictures associated with this article.

The text of this article was converted with an optical character reader (OCR) and separated from the pictures so that it would be easier to read.
Priceless Fun

in a Classy Classic

Slipping behind the wheel of a brand-new 1931 vintage Ford Model A Roadster is something only people over 60 could have experienced.

Or is it?

Today, anyone over the legal driving age can have the same thrill of nestling himself into the plush upholstery, giving a couple of toots on the ‘ah ooga" horn and easing his very own "brand-new" Model A into traffic, thanks to a company called Replicar of West Palm Beach, Florida.

The 70s version of the Model A is built completely by hand. Gel coating and painting of the fiberglass reproductions are also done by hand exclusively with DeVilbiss equipment. "We are one of the last manufacturers in the United States painting cars by hand;’ says Joel Faircloth, president of Replicar. "We build about three cars a week:’

Replicar’s contemporary Model A blends today’s technology, such as a V-S engine, automatic transmission and air conditioning, with the authenticity and simplicity of the original. The replicars adhere to details like Ford’s famous Quail hood ornament, welled fenders and side curtains.

"Everything here is quality —the materials in the castings, three-ply fiberglass (ten times stronger than steel), custom welding, imported accessories and the best application equipment;’ he explains. "I grew up with DeVilbiss so I was sold on it."

There are three areas in which the equipment is used—gel coating of the fiberglass, chassis painting and body painting. A JGA gun with a two-quart remote cup is used to apply the gel coat on the mold.

According to Bill Howell, owner of Gulfstream Paints, who sold the DeVilbiss equipment to Replicar, "The remote cup is excellent in situations where the gun should be turned upside down to get to hard-to-reach areas. There are no drips and you get superior fluid control and atomization:’

To apply the acrylic enamel, a DeVilbiss MBC hand gun is used. Normally three coats are required; no final clear lacquer coating is used because Joel Faircloth feels that in this application it tends to dull and turn yellow

"Since the paint job is the first thing that catches the eye of a prospective buyer, you can believe we make sure it’s top notch;’ said Mr. Faircloth. "Each car is worked on until it is smooth and sparkling:’

Who are the customers who buy Replicar’s Phaeton, Roadster, Pick-Up Truck and Hard-Top Coupe? And why?

"With a Replicar, you have the fun of owning a vintage car which never goes out of style and has all the creature comforts;’ explains Sylvia Oliver, marketing manager, who sells about 15-20 Replicars per month — all special orders.

"Customers from Seattle to Vermont, Texas to Montana, are willing to pay the $17,000 price tag for their own grown-up toy, investment or unique advertising mobile:’

"They’re not the ‘devil-may-care types;’ says Ms. Oliver, "but are successful in their own businesses. We pride ourselves in taking care of them while they’re here and after they leave. They’re invited to meet the folks, visit the plant, see how the cars are made, and chat with Joel and the other family owners of the business. We provide a very homey, friendly atmosphere which seems to work well for us. We don’t work through dealerships:’

On any given day, visitors will see Joel Faircloth scurrying around in shirtsleeves "just keeping the ball rolling" as he puts it. "We want people to use these cars, not leave them in garages;’ he emphasizes. "So quality control is extremely important and I guess I’m the controller."

His background as an International Harvester dealer, and later, making specialized trucks, gave him the expertise to implement his idea for a modernized classic car.

"We picked the 1931 Model A Phaeton because it was a real American classic and collector’s piece. We took it apart, modified it, built the molds for the fiberglass body, and assembled the car by hand. With many more changes we finally perfected it, although every year we’re improving on models and introducing new ones:’

Any thoughts about increased sales and the future?

"Our customers sell our cars for us;’ notes Ms. Oliver. "Word of mouth and direct response tells us our quality is good and there is still a large market for this type of car."

A test drive in one of Joel Faircloth’s cars reveals what other owners already know — a Replicar is ageless, the quality is flawless, and the fun is priceless.