All posts by Ripper

New location

I have a new location in Whitestone, Queens, NYC. Not officially open yet, but I’m moving stuff in. I will post the location when I am done moving. I will be offering airbrush work, graphics, custom paint and customizing. I also hooked up with a guy who does dipping, so that will be offered at this location as well. I had many people asking me to do work for them, so if 1/10th of them come through, I’ll have plenty of work. Let’s get this going.


Crumple zones

Let’s not kid ourselves people, cars are not only NOT safer than they used to be, they are far less safe. Let’s start with “crumple zones”. These are supposedly areas of the car that sacrifice themselves to save occupants from injury. In reality, these are areas of the car that assist in creating a total loss for insurance companies and car manufacturers.

Cars are not built to save occupants, they are built to destroy themselves so the car makers can sell new ones and insurance companies don’t have to deal with a big repair that could end up costing them money. It’s just easier, cheaper and faster to write a check and kiss the problem goodbye. Fixing a car after a major accident is a big deal.

I have several examples I have personally either witnessed or been a part of. Here are just a few I can remember from almost 40 years in the industry.

1978 Camaro vs 1987 Toyota Celica. The Camaro lost a marker light, which I managed to put back in. It had some scuffed paint. I painted the right front fender and the front bumper, replaced NO parts, and the car was in and out of the shop in 1 day. The Celica needed $6,000 worth of repairs.

1986 Caprice vs 1966 Caprice. Same model, 20 years difference. 86 hit the 66 in the rear bumper. The 66 needed a new bumper. the 86 was a total loss. The engine went into the passenger compartment. all 4 doors were stuck. Every window in the car was smashed.

57 Chevy vs concrete wall at about 65 MPH. Bent the bumper and broke the left headlight. Drove it home.

83 GMC Van vs 90s Honda civic. Van had no visible marks on it. Honda was totaled. It folded up like an accordion.

The list goes on and on……

Living in limbo

My theme for this blog is living in limbo. That’s my life lately. It’s my own fault, partially. I’m switching kidney transplant hospitals and the process is a lot more difficult than it should be. For one thing, the new hospital (NY Presbyterian) has a lot more tests than the old hospital (North Shore) did. For another, it’s a lot harder to get to, for me. I’m in Long Island, the hospital is at the north end of Manhattan. I was supposed to go last Tuesday for an echocardiogram. The test takes literally 5 minutes. It takes almost 2 hours to get there and 2 hours to get home. 4 hours traveling for a 5 minute test.

Then, they tell me one thing, but do another. Two weeks ago, I had to go all the way uptown because the doctor “had to” administer the stress test himself, according to the nurse coordinator. The doctor tells me that wasn’t true. They also told me I’d be taking a chemical stress test, not the treadmill type, again because the doctor said I “had to”. Once again, the doctor said that was not true. I took the treadmill test.

Today, I was scheduled for a colonoscopy. I get a phone call from the doctor yesterday to confirm the “endoscopy”. It sure is a good thing I didn’t spend the last 2 days drinking that crap they poison you with before a colonoscopy. The reason I didn’t drink the poison was, Saturday, my transplant coordinator and I decided I could do most, if not all, of these tests at Winthrop University Hospital in Mineola. 15 minutes from me. Unfortunately, I now have to do her job and schedule all the tests myself.

That’s not the only limbo in my life. As some of you know, I am looking to move back to Queens. I hate it where I live now. The worst part of this whole deal is, I wanted to find a place where parking wasn’t an issue. When I lived in Queens, I never had a problem parking. Here in Long Island, there is no parking overnight, I have meters up and down the block and if I have guests, they have to park in the lot down the block and there’s a 2 hour limit. What kind of shit is that?

If it weren’t for the parking, there is still the issue of the landlord not doing anything as far as upkeep on the property. I still have leaves piled up all over the place from November. There is a small hole in the walkway that if someone falls into it, there will be a lawsuit, the pipes in the bathroom freeze in the winter, all the drains are slow and the roof leaks.

Anyway, I have a possible apartment in my old neighborhood. The house is owned by a family friend. They are moving, but they need to wait for a house to be built. The house has been delayed, so I am waiting. My lease expired in April. I have, so far, not heard from the landlord. I am hoping it stays that way until I figure out what is going on.


My love for things with wheels

I got my love for cars from the inside. My one Grandfather (Father’s Dad) used to rebuild Model Ts in the backyard of the house where I grew up. My other Grandfather (Mother’s Dad) used to buy a new car almost every year. He was meticulous with maintenance. He would change the oil every 3,000 miles, religiously. He washed his garage kept Pontiacs every Saturday. My father was a mechanic when I was a kid. I worked on more cars before I was 10 than many mechanics did over their careers. Family, friends, neighbors, etc…

I remember every Saturday (give or take), after helping Gramps wash his car, Grandma and Mom would take us kids up to Jason’s Toy Store on Jamaica Ave in Woodhaven, NY and I would get to pick out a Matchbox car. Hot Wheels either didn’t exist yet or Jason’s didn’t carry them yet, not sure which….

I owned just about every Matchbox car in existence. The only ones I couldn’t get were the special bigger models. They were just too expensive and I could get several of the smaller ones for the same price as one of the big ones (always the frugal shopper).

For my birthday, every year for quite a few years, I’d get a Matchbox or Hot Wheels racing set, or a car carrier shaped like a tire (filled with as yet un-owned models), or something related. For Christmas, it was either an Aurora or Tyco electric racing set, a train set or something equally cool.

Yeah, my love for things with wheels started young.

Automotive paint misconceptions….

1. The first and biggest misconception of all. Basing with white will make your color brighter. False. If your choice of primer color is changing your topcoat color, you are not using enough paint. Paint is not transparent, except for candy colors. A fully covered paint job does not rely on the undercoating for its color. If you have any doubt, try a sprayout. Paint half of a part black, paint the other half white, then paint it the color of your choice. I dare you to see a color difference from the white to the black sides. If you see it, you’re kidding yourself. I have proven this numerous times to doubters, under the brightest lights at a car show. the only exception to this is DuPont Chroma Base. That paint is the worst for coverage. The funny thing is, DuPont Lucite used to be the best for overall coverage (but the worst for color match).
2. Primer. People use far too much primer. If your paint is not damaged in any way (cracking, peeling, etc.), there is absolutely no need for primer or primer/sealer. If you strip the car to metal, you of course need primer. If you do any repairs, you need primer. If you are doing a scuff and shoot, leave the primer in the can. Adding primer to an already painted vehicle is just adding more layers of possible future problems.
3. Sanding color off. I once had a conversation at a car show with a guy who swore he did 100 coats of color, but he sanded between every coat. I explained to him that he basically had 2 coats of paint on as he sanded off the other 98 coats. There is absolutely NO reason to sand between every coat of color. Even back when I used to spray lacquer, this seemed like a bad idea. It was and still is. It is a complete waste of time and money. Here’s a tip. Urethane colors need no more than 3 nice wet coats (I use PPG, others may vary). The only reason to sand color is if there are problems. If you did your prep work properly, there should never be a reason to wet sand your color coats, ever. If you spot a problem while spraying your first coat, you have two choices. 1. Stop immediately, fix the issue, then continue, or 2. Complete your 3 coats, then fix the issue and blow in the repair, then add one final coat to make everything nice and even, then add your clearcoats. This is how I do it.
4. Wax. Never, ever wax a freshly painted vehicle. Wax seals the pores, which is good for cured paint, but very, very bad for uncured paint. Paint releases solvents as it cures, requiring pores be left open. Use glaze for the first 30 days or so. After 30 days, you can wax it every day if you like.

I am sure there are more. If I think of them, I will add them.

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot??

In other words, what the fuck?

What will it take for these morons to realize we are at war on our own streets? Terrorist attacks by admitted terrorists, pledging their allegiance to ISIS or what ever other idiotic group, are happening more and more, yet our supposed leaders are saying it has nothing to do with radical islam. Really? Who are you trying to convince?

These people, in some cases, clearly state they are acting on behalf of one of these moronic groups, their friends and even family say they recently either converted to islam or were recently radicalized, yet our idiot president or the more idiotic mayor of Philidelphia says they are not related. This bullshit has to stop. Whose side are our leaders on? It’s not hard to see, it isn’t ours.

It is truly sad to see how far our leaders have turned away from our values and traditions. We need real leaders, people who will change our country back to the place it used to be. This needs to happen soon, before it is too late. We can’t wait for the next election, it may be too late by then. Impeachment is not the answer. removal from office and imprisonment for treason is the only answer at this point.

Unfortunately, no one in DC has the balls to do it.

New Year, same old same old……

Just posting to update that there is nothing to update. I took a break from things for the holidays. Now that they are over, it’s back to getting nowhere in as productive a manner as I can. I am trying to be more positive, which is why this post is so damn positive. See? Well, let me get back to my fruitless searching….. Have a great day.


I have had many people take advantage of me over the years. I honestly put too much faith in people and it has bitten me in the ass too many times. From friends who would “pay me next week” for work they needed right away, only to never be heard from again, to employees who stole from me, to so-called partners who did worse. Each and every one of these people knows who they are. If they don’t, they are lying to themselves.

I do forgive them, because it is me who let them in to my life and/or my business, in some cases knowing fully that they shouldn’t be trusted, only to have them screw me. Each time, I swore it would never happen again.

I guess I am just a glutton for punishment, or at least, I used to be. I recently had an opportunity to merge with a shop all the way up in Glen Cove. In the old days, I would have jumped at the offer. Big shop, lots of space…. After doing some research (I still have at least some contacts in the autobody industry), I found out the owner was in deep shit and was looking for a quick score to settle up some of his debts. I would have, once again, been left holding the bag after he took my money to “buy in” and ran. This has happened to me in the past and it is just one reason I shy away from getting involved in the day to day of any body shop.

I also got an email about purchasing a body shop for $1.9 million. If I had that kind of money, I wouldn’t be looking to get into a shop, I’d be looking to retire.

Bottom line, I am still looking for space to work. I don’t want to buy your building, your business or your new house on the bay. I just want to rent some space in your body shop. I want nothing to do with your day to day operations. I just want a small part of the building where I can do my thing.

My take on the war on Christmas

First of all, those that know me, know I am not religious in the least. This really has nothing to do with religion, it has to do with traditions. This country was indeed founded by Christians and it was founded with Christian traditions, such as Christmas.

When I was growing up, Christmas was a big deal (still is). I had some Jewish friends and distant cousins. Their holiday of the time, Hanukkah (spelled several different ways that I know of) was not a big deal. They received eight small gifts, one for each day of their holiday. They joked that one day, they’d get one sock and the next, they’d get the other sock. there were no decorations like our Christmas tree.

Then, suddenly, some Jewish retail business owners decided that they were being left out. Suddenly, Hanukkah was as big as Christmas, they had a Hanukkah bush (a Christmas tree with blue lights) and they went from 8 little gifts to increasingly large gifts from day one to day eight. Jewish stores started advertising X-Mas sales (so they didn’t have to mention Christmas) and the first battle to the dismantling of Christmas was begun.

Christmas survived this attempt, and even thrived regardless of it. Later battles were more subversive. There was one year that the US Post Office even got involved in the war. There were Ramadan stamps, Hanukkah stamps and “Holiday” stamps, yet no mention of Christmas, even though the stamps were of Mary holding Jesus.

There was a Disney cartoon one year, all about Christmas, yet the entire hour plus went by without Christmas EVER being said. It was “the Holiday”, yet it starred Santa Claus, there was a Christmas tree, decorations all red and green, elves, candy canes, etc… (no nativity scene or mention of Jesus, however).

Then, we elected a muslim to the white house. Now, malls are replacing Christmas decorations with melting glaciers, coffee houses who used to have special Christmas themed displays and cups are now bland and their cups are just red, Target has a commercial where it’s time to light “THE TREE”, not the Christmas Tree, although the entire commercial has a Christmas theme, and they play Christmas music, it’s “the Holiday” yet again.

Why is it, we can call every other holiday by its name, yet we cannot mention Christmas without offending people?

It’s a calculated effort. When you strip a society of its traditions, it makes it easier to conquer said society. We have half of our own people blindly giving up their traditions, claiming them to be trivial. This is the beginning of the end. I for one, am saddened that our own citizens are so blind to what is happening.