First off, I will admit it: keeping up this blog thing is something I haven’t quite got down to a smooth shifting schedule yet. But, I am working on it, and a “D” for driving myself without too many spin outs may be a reasonable grade so far. As I promised in my last blog, I want to explain a little more about this whole “Spokesperson” thing, and how it works from the perspective of the Spokesperson (me).
Sometime in early 2011, Martin Beckenbach and I bounced around the idea, for me to become a spokesperson for his company, Legendary Auto Interiors Ltd. I was essentially being asked to put my signature and reputation to a manufacturer’s brand. I know it’s done all the time, but it’s never something I had put my mind, mug and pen to. So, I wanted to be certain that my first experience would more “right-on” than “write-off”. That’s why I asked if I could have the Full Monty about the company and what they manufacture before I bared and dared myself. Marty agreed it was a good idea for me to understand as much as possible about the automotive upholstery business. Next thing I knew, I was buckled in for a flight to Upstate New York.
In May, I made the jaunt to Legendary Auto Interiors without cameras, my crew, or the usual tools and entourage we bring to a shoot. This time it was just me. Naked and new.
Legendary is right next to the Erie Canal in the heart of Newark, New York: one of those small, picturesque towns where everyone knows everyone. It was a Monday morning, and I was amped to walk through the doors and get a look under the hood of one of the best upholstery manufacturers in the world. I was expecting the tour to be fast, simple and smooth. But, I was only right about one of those things. It was pleasantly smooth.
Marty met me at the reception area with two of his managers, Brian and Dan, who quickly put aside any thoughts I had about a typical “visitors tour”. Instead, I was going into training. Boot camp for this recruit! For two solid days, I would be moved from work station to work station learning in great detail how every piece they offer is made. From material handling, to cutting patterns, to door panels, to sewing seat covers, to stamping floor mats, they gave me the entire training regimen. The same process they give every new employee – guided every step of the way by the people who do the work every day at their facility.
What gives me the most pleasure about working with Legendary in the upcoming months is that I had a chance to truly get to know their people. It is a staff that really understands the importance of producing a quality product in America. They know their competitors are importing from China, India and Mexico – so they make sure Legendary goes beyond competitive, making the best products possible, with the best guarantees. The number of checks and double checks of each piece
they manufacture is second to none. And the quality of material and skill is, well…Grade A U.S.A. That’s not rah, rah, rah…It’s proudly refined results.
When you think about the thousands of dollars we spend on restoring our cars and the love and care we give to our pride and joy rides, getting the best interior products only makes sense. Too often, I’ve seen a project car have time, effort, and energy spent on engine builds, fabricating design modifications, painting and sanding, only to shake my head at a cracked dash pad or ripped seat covers. Hey! Your interior is the second thing someone sees when they look at your car. It only makes sense to have the interior look its best as soon as possible. You can keep your hood shut until you have the funds to show it off. But, you can’t put limo tint on every window!
Next blog… Pressing the Flesh in Carlisle and Syracuse.