Saturday, April 21, 2012

Shop Stop: Mike Wambolds paint shop - 66 Triumph T120 gets a makeover.

Mike Wambold, inspects a work in progress while talking to a customer on the phone.

"You never have enough time to do it right, but you have plenty of time to do it over." Mike Wambold, professional painter for 30 years specializing in Triumph, was told this by his father after Mike fixed the wiring on his first car as a teenager - and spent much of the summer re-wirning it every time he wanted to go for a drive. Finally he re did the whole thing and his fathers advice became words to live by for the rest of his career.

Located above Allentown PA, Wambold's shop is as tidy as his work. His reputation as a painter has gained him a client base around the country and beyond. His prices are not cheap, but neither are the paints he uses. "If I billed you $20 an hour for all the time i spent on working and reworking these parts, you'd fall over backwards" says Wambold "I'm not a nickel and dime guy. I'll pull three dents and fix three holes as part of my base price, but if I see a forth spot that needs attention, i'll do it for free to make sure it's right."After that it goes up in price depending on condition and complexity.  Mike not only fixes the body work with old metal working techniques, but he reinforces the weak areas as well. "The gas cap rim on these old Brits will often leak - which can completely ruin a paint job. I silver solder the inside to ensure gas stays off the paint."  The corners of beaded-edged fenders can often crack from vibration. "I braze them using brass," says Mike "it's a bit more flexible than steel.  Brass will flex with the vibration and help keep those spots from cracking."

After inspecting some of Mikes work, it's easy to see that his prices are more than fair. The bosses for the petcocks are left bare - for a good reason: "you clear coat that spot and as soon as you tighten the petcock down, it will twist and pull the clear coat. I leave them bare so that the fuel taps snug right up to the tank without marring the paint around it. Once the taps are in place, you cannot see the bare spots anyway and the area is protected." He guarantee's his work too. "If the clear coat peals, just call me, I'll make it right"

Mike's work is very much sought after, not only by Triumph guys, but BSA, Vincent/HRD, Norton and even some old American bike guys - people who are looking for the best. As a result, he is generally booked out for months, sometimes close to a year. Best to get the tank and body work to him in the beginning of a restoration. "I had a guy who inquired about painting his bike a few years ago. He called me a few days later to explain 'why he chose a different painter'. it came down to the other painters quick turn around time and cheaper price. I said ok, no problem. A month later he sent his parts to me to strip and repaint. He was not satisfied with the results he got and wanted them done right."


Mike makes sure the tunnels are well coated and sealed.

L-R Primed, stripped, finished.

Materials of a master

Parts on the waiting list and a late 50's Triumph fender ready to go.

The curing oven

My 66 (UK spec) tank ready to receive badges and parcel grid

My fenders

A 38 Speed twin is up next.

Mikes work is meticulous. "I spray, bake in a curing oven (he made out of an old stainless steel lined freezer box with a heating element) sand it, spray it again bake it - repeat over and over again - and I'm not afraid to apply plenty of paint." Mike uses DuPont paint that is quite expensive, but the results of his labor and layers result in a deep lustrous finish that is both durable and beautiful. Better than the original paint for sure - though for period correct concourse bikes, Mike will lacquer paint and hand pinstripe the bodywork for a true to factory look and feel. Whatever your needs are for your restoration, Mike will get the job done - and get it right the first time.


Contact Mike Wambold: mkwambold@aol.com or phone Mike's Restoration: 610-767-4278 (cell phone:) 610-730-2789).

2 comments:

  1. The guy is a rip off. Takes your money, delays for a year and then claims he doesn't know you even though you have a cheque he's cashed and you show him the evidence. The guy is a looser scumbag.

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  2. If you let this guy have your parts, GOOD LUCK getting them back. Had my parts for two years. Won't answer phone messages or emails. Had to travel 11 1/2 hrs.to get them back. Then, he had the balls to threaten to call the cops and have me thrown off his property. I think he needs anger management class.

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