In the back shops of an old-time auto parts store on the main drag in Antigo, Wis., Bob Andres uses his 17-year-old Huth bender to make stock-look exhaust systems he ships all over the country. Bob’s “be-bop” haircut may have a ‘50s look to it, but his pattern cards date back further than that—he figures all the way to 1940. And if a customer’s car isn’t covered, he or she can make a pattern with copper tubing or even hanger wire, mail it to Bob and he’ll copy it.
“As long as they bend it to match the approximate center of the pipe, I can make them an exhaust system,” says Bob. “The only difference is, if we bend up a stock system from my cards and it doesn’t fit, we’ll take it back, but if a customer’s pattern is off, we make it clear that’s not our responsibility.”
Once Bob’s boss went to a trade show in Las Vegas and bought a computerized bender for $40,000. “It was designed for production work and could do 10 systems an hour,” Bob recalls. “But it wasn’t that good for the onesy-twosy jobs we normally do, so we wound up selling it and going back to the Huth.”
Bob says it takes him about an hour and a half to two hours to bend a typical stock-look exhaust system. Bob guesses that his muscle car systems are at least 95 percent factory perfect and 99 percent correct fitting.
The Antigo Bumper to Bumper store has been in business for over 50 years. They also do other shop work and sell a full line of parts, a wide range of tools and some big equipment like air compressors.
For information contact: Antigo Auto Parts, 1025 Fifth Ave,. PO Box 140, Antigo, WI 54409. You can call 800-472-0089 or 715-623-5128.