Nostalgia Garage - the WORST classic car restoration business in the South

Gomez Adams

Grammar Fascist
Staff member
Dec 1, 2020
Suwanee, Georgia
Folks, if you live in the Charleston, South Carolina area and you want to have your classic car restored, there is one shop you DO NOT want to even consider: Nostalgia Garage. It is the most inept, overpriced, excuse making collection of village idiots this side of the Mississippi. (Quite possibly, both sides of it.) This is going to be a long read, so grab a coffee, tea, beer, whatever your drink of choice is and get comfortable.

To set the stage on this, here's the background:

My dear friend in Charleston has a brother named John (nicknamed Cricket, but that's a whole different story.) Cricket wanted to have a 1966 Chevelle completely restored, so he bought one in reasonable condition and took it to Nostalgia Garage to have it completely restored and gave them $40,000 to get started on it. This was in late 2015 - early 2016, folks.

Here we are, June of 2021, and it's nowhere near done.

Cricket has had a lot of health problems over the last few years. He's had a stroke, a broken hip, pancreatic's been a really tough row to hoe for him. Needless to say, he's not been able to keep up with hardly anything, let alone a car restoration. He would receive letters and phone calls from Nostalgia Garage about needing more money and he would send it, no questions asked.

He just wanted his car.

$224,000.00 and 5 years later, he STILL doesn't have it.

So my friend and her husband Wayne decided to look into it. They were finally able to put together a loose leaf binder chock full of receipts, estimates and the like and they asked me to look at it.

It was, for lack of a better description, a case study in how to rip someone right the hell off.

Most garages will always mark up parts to make money on them. That's a given. Typically, the markup is somewhere between 25% to 50%. So if you need new brake rotors and they cost $100.00 each, the garage will charge you $125.00 to $150.00 each for them.

But not Nostalgia Garage. They double it at least and in some cases triple it. They took a $1,400.00 Holley Fuel Injection system and charged Cricket $3,000.00 for it. They took a $8,500.00 frame and charged him $17,000.00 for it. That's just for the parts, folks, that does not include installing it all. He charges $85.00 per hour and it takes him on average about 3 times longer to do anything than any mechanic I've ever seen.

It's just flat-out highway robbery.

So after I look through this whole thing, Wayne and I ride up there to look things over. Wayne is as good as they come. If you get him mad at you, you've accomplished something.

Pretty much the entire time they've been asking about this car (for the record, my friend has power of attorney now, so she legally has full control of this situation) they would get the runaround from Tony, the owner, about how he has personnel problems and how the setbacks are unavoidable. Let's take a look at some of what other people have said about Nostalgia Garage before we go further.

Dave Berry review.jpg
Gale Ricket review.jpg
Jay T review.jpg
Mark K review.jpg

Notice these reviews are saying the same things over years of time. So nothing has changed. It's been that way since he opened. There comes a point where it's not the people you're hiring for years and years. It's just you.

So all of this in mind, one important note to make is that last year, after 4 years of being in the garage, Tony said the car was in "the final assembly area" and would be ready in "the next few months". Being very generous, that was supposed to mean it would be ready by no later than July, 2020.

When Wayne went up there just over two weeks ago, there was nothing. No engine, no transmission, no brakes, no nothing. Absolutely NOTHING done other than the paint job. Tony promised he would "get right on it" and Wayne said he'd be back in a couple of weeks to check progress.

Looking at the pictures Wayne took of the car at the time, I was concerned about two things:
  • That absolutely nothing was on the car 5 years later.
  • That after all the bills for parts, that those parts may not even exist.
So when we went up there together on 6/24/2021 I had two jobs:
  • Inspect the work done if any.
  • Verify that the parts paid for were actually there.
Well, folks, one of the first things I noticed was how God awful the paint job was. Runs in it everywhere. As I was looking over the car, Wayne was talking to Tony. Tony saw me taking pictures of the ridiculously bad paint job and instantly started making excuses for it. Guess what he said. You're thinking he blamed the employees, aren't you? You're thinking he "just can't find decent people", aren't you?

Yep. That's exactly what he said. The "guy that did it" is "no longer employed here". He just can't find good people. He went on to state he'd fix it himself as he does "all the paint work" there personally.

You want to see what a $70,000.00 paint job from Nostalgia Garage looks like? Here you go:


My 8-year-old autistic spectrum son could do a better job than that. Just hideous.

What's more, there are parts inside the car still not painted/coated. Note the surface rust already setting in on the inside rear fenders:


We did make visual identification of most of the parts. They've been out of the boxes, sitting on shelves, covered in dust for years. That Holley EFI system he charged thousands of dollars for? Here it is:


The 4 speed transmission he charged thousands of dollars for? Here it is:


It's just ridiculous. These parts have obviously been laying around for YEARS. This isn't a personnel problem. This is a flat-out laziness problem.

What's more, he's trying to sell the garage and has been since February of 2021.

Maybe that's why he's not bothering to finish any cars; he's got the money so he'll milk it all out until the garage sells and then it's not his problem anymore.

Whether that's the case or not, do yourself a favor: avoid this place like the plague.


  • Dave Berry review.jpg
    Dave Berry review.jpg
    86.2 KB · Views: 2
Last edited:
  • Wow
Reactions: Grimhogun
224,000 fucking dollars. That guy is a fucking idiot. No way it's worth that. I looked up the values on it and here it is.

Perfect Condition
$50,000 - $137,500
Excellent Condition
$39,600 - $50,000
Good Condition
$30,000 - $39,600
Fair Condition
$1,430 - $30,000
Median Sale Value
Lowest Sale Value
Highest Sale Value

The highest car ever auctioned brought 137,000. That fucker's got nearly double that in that car with runs in it. Another case of somebody have way more money than sense.
  • Like
Reactions: Grimhogun
To start off I have been around paint and body work sense 1989 I basically grew up in body shops mechanic shops and race car shops. I do lot of Metal work bodywork fabrication engine building transmission building..

I worked at nostalgia garage about 90 days… body shop work everything started out fine I was straight up with Tony that I am not a 100% Body Man but I know how to do it. He said that fine I can work with you .Said to him I am more of a painter . Every time I turned around he was nitpicking my work over and over He had this attitude like he was better than everybody else. Said 8-5 worked many times to almost 7pm. Every body shop has there way of how they want it done. Other employee that worked there with me and the body shop Tony would always say have to go check on the body shop idiots. This is when things started to go downhill . I am almost 38 years old my back is not in the best shape.. Went to the doctor to see what was wrong with my back … day I leave the er Tony calls me tells me we have to work Sunday. Ummm I just got out of the ER trying to find out what is wrong with my back and you’re asking me to work. I ended up quitting the shop over this. Other painter body guy he said was there messed up all kinds of paint jobs and body work. He had me block sanding primer with 120-180-240-320-400 sound times to 600 grit. Put 6-7 coat of clear wet sand 600-800-1000-1200-1500-2000-2500-3000-5000 then buff… all ways had to push car trucks in out just start working. Shop was to small for what they where trying to do. I heard rumors from other Employee that worked there they closed the body shop because they couldn’t afford it.. that picture of the blue car that was posted was never worked on the whole time I was there it was always in the corner it never moved…. My back injury turned out to be two fractured vertebrae‘s L5 S1 is damaged bone on bone .
Last edited:
Thanks for posting. I'll pass this on to the owner of the blue Chevelle.

As a fellow bad spine guy, hope you feel better. I've had a few surgeries and know how hard it is and how much it hurts.
Last edited: