We sat down with our founder & master watchmaker, Cameron Weiss, to learn more about his love of classic cars and car restoration.
Q: What was your first car?
A: I had a Ford Ranger.
Q: How did you learn about car restoration?
A: I learned by doing.
Q: What was the first car you restored?
A: I never did a full ground up restoration, but I have brought a bunch of cars back to life. The first one was a 1974 Chevrolet Blazer.
Q: What is your dream car?
A: Anything old really. I am a big fan of car design and styling from the 1950's and also the 1960's. Brass-era cars also intrigue me a lot. A car from that age is kind of like a mechanical watch, it even needs to be hand cranked to get it started! At one point that brass era car was high-tech state-of-the-art machinery. I still think they are amazing machines, but with the age of the technology I see them more as art and machinery combined, which is how I see mechanical timepieces too.
Q: Can you tell me more about acquiring your International Harvester?
A: I wanted to find a classic American truck and had a very low budget set for the purchase. After much research, I found a family in Idaho that was looking to sell a 1962 International Harvester pickup that had been in the family since new. It was a lot cheaper than anything else I had found and being a low mileage, one-owner truck that was all original except for the front shock mounts and one wheel made it a deal I could not pass up. The truck had no working brakes, which I discovered when I almost crashed it into the studio while offloading it from the trailer, but I've fixed that and a lot more since. Instead of replacing components, I decided I wanted to try to rebuild the systems and keep everything as original as possible. It takes a lot longer, but in the end I will feel good knowing that the truck is still the same truck that was manufactured by International Harvester in 1962, and it will still drive like it would have in the 60's. It's important to me that I continue to fix it rather than replace items inside of it - it's kind of like a giant timepiece!
Q: How did you find your classic Beetle?
A: My wife always dreamed of having a Beetle, so I wanted to find her one (that I would get to drive). I located a family selling an entire Beetle collection, and there was a 1959 in a shade of her favorite color. I drove it from the valley back to the studio and parked it on the side of the building so that she would find it later on in the day when she walks our dog. She was totally surprised! She is still learning to drive it as I restore the carburetor and fix up some wiring, but it's great to cruise around in.
Q: What is your daily driver?
A: Depends on the day!
Q: What are our favorite resources for learning more about cars?
A: YouTube, How to keep your Volkswagen alive, Chasing Classic Cars with Wayne Carini, car meet-ups, and swap meets.
Q: What is your favorite part about restoration?
A: I love being able to keep the story alive in a car. Instead of throwing a piece into a landfill, I prefer to restore it and fix it so that it can run for generations.
If you have any questions you would like to ask Cameron for the next Q&A series about watchmaking 101, please email them to email@example.com.