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I was one of their listed installers specializing in early chevy. I was just at the facility about a month ago picking up my 32’ Olds Convertible roof that I had paid for over a year ago. I kept getting told they were out of T39 material which is one of the most common roofing materials used for our cars. It’s a Haartz product which is just a town over so I called Haartz about getting some and was told no problem so I offered to purchase theT39 myself so they could finish my roof. They got it done without me having to do that but owed me two roof boots in the same material. I kept calling and sending emails and they arrived a few weeks ago. I knew something was wrong over a year ago and didn’t feel I was being told the truth. I even mentioned I had a customer needing a 29 coupe interior and Scott took me over to the material area and showed me bolts of the correct material saying no problem, they could get it quickly to me. The whole time he had to know he wasn’t planning on doing that and that bothers me to say the least. Not sure if the Ez-Boy division thatwas moved to Maine is still operating or not.

     The sale is of assets to pay off the creditors so if someone is to buy just the assets and not the business, they won’t assume the debt which would be the only way for someone to purchase it. Possibly another interior company will purchase them as there’s not many GM interior companies. They had plenty of business but either the debt was too high to overcome the income or the business was just not run correctly. People like Cam, Donna, and Angel were always great with me and tried their best to satisfy their customers. 

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  • MCHinson changed the title to LeBaron Bonney
On 3/19/2019 at 6:00 PM, Joe in Canada said:

They could also be closing because of poor management. I know a mid size manufacturer up here where the younger took over the business and closed the doors after a few year. They held an auction before going into receivership. Spent the money on themselves leaving nothing for updating until it was too late. 

I see this more often than not !

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On 3/19/2019 at 11:11 AM, Bhigdog said:

The supply of interesting cars will slowly shrink through attrition and there really are no replacements. It's hard to see a market for a collectable Prius or almost any of todays production cars.

 

I was 30 years old when I bought my '64 Riviera. It was 15 years old. The 10 years ahead seemed like a lot time before the car was classified "antique" and I would be 40. But that modern car did get old. And in some groups it replaced formerly desirable other Buicks.

I was on the phone with J C Taylor yesterday. They have been insuring my 1994 Chevy Impala SS since it was 19 years old. And I bought that when it was 15 years old, as well. When the new policy comes next month it will join the other antiques. Maybe Hershey HPOF this fall.

 

My appreciation for the 15 year old BMW I bought last year is on a par with the 15 year old Riviera I bought 41 yeas ago. I am treating it to collector ownership status even if I am the only collector. I have the connection cables, a dedicated laptop and two sets of interface software to communicate on the two buses and 140 microprocessors. I guess interest is in the eye of the beholder.

At 15 years old a $10,000 Duesenberg was about as technically challenging as a 15 year old $100,000 BMW today. A hammer mechanic ain't getting far with either one.

 

For me there will always be a well maintained 15 year old car that will catch my interest, one I can keep for one or more decades. I guess the only part of the hobby I will not be participating in is restoration. But that was too much work anyway.

 

Will I have an antique car in 2028? Maybe a couple. Unless they change the rules because cars aren't interesting any more. That will be true for some.

Bernie

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  • 4 weeks later...
  • 2 months later...

With the closure of Lebaron Bonney I noted several folks needing wire on for their restoration.  I too found myself with the same problem.  A young fellow in Wi. has bought the machine that makes the wire on with your fabric.  I just had 50 feet make for my Hupp Skylark....nice product...his name is Cory Cook 715 520-3776, made and sent in two days..his email CMC14900@gmail.com

 

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By the way, if you paid money for something and it was not delivered or if they are holding your parts to use as patterns or ..., then you can formally or informally notify the bankruptcy Court and attempt to retrieve (outcome just depends though). 

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Hi John, fyi it is past the filing deadline for that with LB.  Got skunked a little but they sent me most of my order.  We did not want to bother navigating the filing process, etc. for a few hundy.  That said, this was a dissapointing experience and I hope owners dont try another go of it under a new name, as they screwed a few of us once already....

Edited by Steve_Mack_CT (see edit history)
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Steve,

 

I would doubt the owners would ever want to be in that business again. Very labor intensive and a hot dog cart on the corner would be easier and more profitable- I would think.

 

sorry to hear of your loss.

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I wonder what the final resolution will be considering they must have patterns for a quarter of the cars ever made.

I can't imagine any leftover stock material is worth much because who else who doing this any more?

Which begs the question "Who else IS doing this any more?"

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I would think they are supposed to sell the assets which would include the stock of patterns.

 

According to Kitaeff and Associates attorney Josh Burnett, the antique car upholstery company has filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. He said the company may no longer operate and a court-appointed trustee will liquidate and sell off its assets, either through private sales or at auction.

 

Trustee
Joseph G. Butler 
Law Office of Joseph G. Butler 
355 Providence Highway 
Westwood, MA 02090 
781-636-3638

 

Assistant U.S. Trustee
John Fitzgerald 
Office of the US Trustee 
J.W. McCormack Post Office & Courthouse 
5 Post Office Sq., 10th Fl, Suite 1000 
Boston, MA 02109

 

Joshua A. Burnett , attorney for LeBaron Bonney
Kitaeff & Associates, P.C. 
65A Flagship Drive 
North Andover, MA 01845 
978-687-1818 
Fax : 978-258-1967 
Email: attorneykitaeff@aol.com

Edited by mike6024 (see edit history)
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Which means not a single person who knows what they are doing will be arranging the sell-off.........but they know how to charge....... 🤬

Furthermore they don't CARE.

It's just a job........ :angry:

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Chistech, I can remember when they had a 6 to 8 month lead time, they were so busy. They were a victim of a dwindling Model A and V-8 Ford market and an almost non existent, skilled labor pool. Sad.

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Business models that  worked for years are now out the window in many areas of the economy. Skilled workers, fixed costs, insurance, the list is endless. Sometimes a business is sold, and the new people just don’t have what it takes. More often, it’s structural changes in the way products and services are delivered... Amazon, the online marketplace... things change... and for many of us, it’s often not for the better. Progress can be a difficult thing for everyone involved.

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On 7/19/2019 at 4:53 PM, edinmass said:

... Amazon, the on line marketplace... things change...

 

As much as I hate seeing the mom and pop stores being shoved by the wayside, Its the bottom line for the consumer.

We are all guilty of it. It's about finding your best deal.

Less money and delivered on most consumer items.

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On 7/19/2019 at 2:49 PM, 46 woodie said:

Chistech, I can remember when they had a 6 to 8 month lead time, they were so busy. They were a victim of a dwindling Model A and V-8 Ford market and an almost non existent, skilled labor pool. Sad.

 

I would lean toward bad management and over expansion into perhaps some marginal markets (should have stuck with Fords and just been really good at it).  And, I know upholsterers are hard to find, but there are still plenty of people that sew and still college courses and...  And still lots of A's and V-8's out there and plenty of older restored cars that now need new tops and interiors, too. 

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Being an excellent trimmer can be very lucrative these days.  As mentioned, there are a LOT of cars out there that need upholstery.  I'm getting out of it, since it was an accidental hobby anyway, and yet I turn down a job about every two weeks.

 

The question posed to me is usually OK, you won't do it, will you recommend someone?  Well, no, rarely, because there are people doing upholstery, but very, very few people doing early upholstery correctly.  By "early" I mean pre-WWII and back to the turn of the century. By "correctly" I mean using the old methods and materials. You can't cut a seat or top apart and expect to use the pieces as patterns, time has shrunk and stretched the pieces.  You can't use foam and expect it to feel nor last like the original horse hair and cotton.

 

For a minimum dollar investment and with some training, it's easy to be in the upholstery business.  You need patience, you need to understand how things go together, and you need somewhat of an eye to see what's correct and what's not.

 

Once you're established, you could easily have an income of over $100K a year, working by the hour.

 

All that said, I've had three people that have expressed interest in doing just that, told them that I'd spend some time with them showing them the basic tricks.  No takers yet.

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A short time ago I got some unexpected, and saddening news that a trusted upholsterer was no longer taking work from Classic restorers. He was supposedly now focusing on custom work for street rods. I have to verify what I've heard, but if true loosing the true artisan like him affects many of us more then the loss of LBB. Not trying to minimize the impact of losing LBB, but how can the hobby replace the skills and ingenuity developed through decades of experience? Maybe someone knowledgeable can comment why someone would walk away from our part of the hobby? 

 

I'd like to make a comment someone brought up regarding subcontracting parts of a restoration. I think that acting as a contractor can really save money, but maybe more importantly can save time, but if you are working with a restorer you need to explain the situation to him before the process is started. Everyone needs to be on the same page.

 

I would like comments on the modern trend of powder coating frame and suspension part as part of an authentic restoration. How many agree, or disagree with me, that it stretches the limits of what an authentic restoration really is. 

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I'd guess that your trimmer "walked away" from antiques for money, simple as that.

 

The hot rod and street rod hobby started out with building cars on a limited budget, scrounging for parts.  It evolved into a big business of expensive build parts.  There's now an upper echelon of rod builders, and to try to win the big shows, it's not uncommon to spend a million or more on a street rod build.

 

A top notch design/build trimmer can make a LOT of money in that world of street rods.  The only comparison in the stock antique and Classic hobby is Pebble Beach quality cars, and Ed Minnie has told us many times about the money is no object world that exists there.

 

I think in 20 years it's going to be very difficult to find quality upholstery work for early cars.

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3 hours ago, trimacar said:

I think in 20 years it's going to be very difficult to find quality upholstery work for early cars.

 

It is already here... even with all the changes in the hobby, upholstery and chrome are now five times more difficult to source for top quality work.

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12 hours ago, edinmass said:

It is already here... even with all the changes in the hobby, upholstery and chrome are now five times more difficult to source for top quality work.

 

There is a different level of 100 point and 100 point over the top too (very hard to find the later). 

 

As to Lebaron Bonney, a local fellow did MARC with his Fords and he had his own interiors done as he said LB would not cut the grade in serious competition (allbeit I have seen many LB interiors on AACA Senior cars over the years, including helping a friend do an install).  

 

Ned Herman put a headliner in a RR (PIII I think) where the stitching was basically only in one side of the fabric so there was no thread showing in the interior (a talk of the town project) – they did it with a magnifying glass and also did the work in the 1970s - try finding that today.  

 

Some of the craftsmanship today is so much better than in the past and some not.  

 

 

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There is a blind stitch machine which makes the hidden seam, as is used to hem trousers.  I have an industrial version, uses a curved needle to grab just into surface of fabric, and from other side stitch can't be seen.

 

I've only done one car like that, and wouldn't do another.  One has to have just the right fabrics (think thick or heavy)  and just the right machine settings, or it won't work. The car I did was a coupe, and I was fearful the whole time the stitches would let loose.

 

"Perfect" upholstery I'd very difficult to come by.  I've been told I do excellent work, but I can always see my flaws when sometimes others can't. I'm happy to have some Senior AACA and some CCCA high point cars on my past job list. I'm very critical of other trimmer's work, just as they should be of mine.

 

 

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