Darrell Schneider
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I have been interested in cars nearly all my life and began "wrenchin" at the age of ten when I would help my father work on the family race car. About the same time, I became better acquainted with Mr. Steve Archer, a longtime family friend. At the time, Steve owned a fiberglass shop and built complete fiberglass hot rods, as well as several individual components. He was very talented and a true craftsman. His ability and parts played a big role for six America's Most Beautiful Roadster award winners, (1972, 1974, 1976, 1977, 1978 and 1987). Another of his cars, built for the Oakland Roadster show, won the "Best Engineering" award in 1975.

 

Steve picked up on my attraction to all things cars and became my mentor. At the age of fifteen, with the encouragement and coaching of both Steve and my father, I took on a modified restoration of my 1967 Mustang. Following Steve's guidance and direction, I completely disassembled and stripped the car to bare metal and straightened reworked the body, as necessary. After this first phase of the project, Steve continued to coach me on every step necessary to prep, repaint and finish the car. I then installed a rebuilt small block Ford engine and completely reassembled the car. The project was completed before I was old enough to get my driver's license.

 

The quality of my work and the ability to complete the entire project was the evidence Steve needed to offer me a job in his shop. Working on a part time basis, until I completed high school, Steve continued to mentor and push me to fully develop all of my skills. In addition Steve also taught me the fundamentals of working with fiberglass. With this jump start from Steve Archer, I then went on to complete six more modified restorations before graduating from high school Following graduation, I continued to work with Steve.

 

From 1985 to 1993, I worked for Lindy's Autobuilders in San Ramon, California. Lindy's specialized in repairs and restorations on Ferraris, Maserattis, Mercedes, Porsches and BMWs. In addition, the shop also built hot rods and muscle cars. While working at this shop, I was able to train on state of the art equipment as well as work alongside such craftsmen as Rod Moore who perfected the wild low rider paint jobs; Sergio Luis, who earned Apprentice of the year, four years in a row, while working in the Rolls Royce Factory; Paul Blatt, a guy that "can make a car out of a beer can", as well as Larry Nelson, who was a fiberglass and body filler "magician". At the same time, I also took full advantage of the opportunity to learn the business side of the collision repair and restoration business. I also used my spare time to complete two more award winning modified restorations. The experience proved to be invaluable!

 

I opened my own shop, Toy Works Autobody, in 1993 and focused on specializing in high quality "fit and finish" work for bay area car builders including Roy Brizio. Between 1993 and 1997 Toy Works completed sixteen award winning cars.

 

In 1998, for economic reasons, my partners and I decided to shift Toy Works' business focus exclusively to collision repair. In addition, I continued to seek out more modified restoration work in my spare time and completed five additional projects.

 

My business partners and I decided to close Toy Works Autobody in 2008. I decided to continue in the line of work that, first and always, fueled my passion for "all things cars" and am now directing all my talents, skills and over 30 years of experience to continue in delivering complete builds with award winning fit and finish.