History: The Beginning February 1981
When I was sixteen years old, I was working for an uncle who owned a kitchen remodeling business, called Incaudo's Interiors. I would drive to the work sites with my uncle's son in law (Don). We would always drive in his car...it was a bone stock, 1966 Impala station wagon, with a 427 turbo-jet engine. It was filled with his tools. He would point out all the cool cars, mostly early Impalas and I started to like them myself.
A few months later I was working in a gas station, when a guy came in with a 1963 Chevy Impala. I was instantly all over it; 2 door coupe, super sport model, bucket seats, 4-speed, pop the hood, you bet, a 409 engine. The deal was to trade him, even up for my 69 Buick Skylark, 6 cylinder. He said he could not deal with the bad gas mileage of the big 409. When I told my mother that I was going to trade, she said it was okay with her, but that my older brother, Joe had to check it out. I knew he was going to approve... or else!
The car has now taken over to my mother's garage, and her car is now outside in the driveway, and I am grinding rust, fiber glassing, and just being a sixteen year old kid with his very first hot rod. I was racing other kids after school, and working on the engine till 2 am on school nights, which she did not know about. A year later, I am now a senior at Forest View High School, having taken 4 years of wood shop, 4 years of auto mechanics and 2 years medal welding class. Foreign language classes? Fagetaboutit!
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The school has now offered a new body shop class, I would go to this this huge body shop, If I go to the body shop for 2 hours during school, I get two whole credits, and I say to myself “where do I sign up?” I finished that class as one of the top two students; we both received a small tool box filled with hammers and dollies, and job offers.
The job offer $3.00 dollars an hour was .50 cents more than I was making at the gas station, so I took the full time job as soon as I graduated, the summer of 1977. I am doing well as a painter's helper, the ‘63 is now painted, and my mom wants me out of the garage. There is only one thing that matters to me in this whole big world---my 4-speed, dual quad, posi-traction 409.
Summer of 1980 I rented a 3-car garage, and gave my moms garage back to her. I am now painting all my friend's cars and motorcycles. I am making more money, on one side job, than I am making all week at the body shop I am currently working at. I had been bouncing around from shop to shop, always making a few more dollars per hour at each new shop that I worked at.
The month is February, the year 1981, I quit working for the body shops, and Incaudo's Auto Body is born. For five years I am working in this small 3-car garage, with a helper here and there. Taking on insurance work now, pulling engines out with the help of the big oak tree in the yard. There are cars all over the place. It looks like a body shop in the middle of a residential area; my land lord is having a fit. My rent is $120.00 a month, and I am making lots of money. He wants me out, what will I do? Late summer of 1985, Incaudo's Auto Body is forced out of business.
Desperate, down on my luck, don't even think about leaning on my 409 Impala. I somehow pick myself up and start to look for a new location. Found it! 639 West Colfax is our current Palatine location. I moved in, July 1st, 1986 and have been in business ever since.
I still remember how huge this new building was in 1986; now we can barely move. But a bigger place is not what I want. This place has become a big playroom for our motorcycles and restorations. The collision work helps keep this playroom open. The 1963 Chevrolet has not been driven in ten years, and is next in line for a frame off restoration. I have owned it since 1975.