Honouring true historical significance is what our third judge aspires to do: Meet Mike Grams of Coachwerks

Long before Mike Grams created Coachwerks — his Victoria-based classic car restoration business — he spent every spare minute of his teens around cars. At 15, he took a job at a full service gas station — pumping gas, repairing tires, and bending and welding in exhaust systems — and bought his first car, a 1969 Ford Cortina GT, before he even had his driver’s license.

Soon after, Grams sold it to buy a 1972 340 4-speed Dodge Challenger Rallye, which he says was his first real restoration attempt. “I did anything I could manage myself mechanically: rust repair, body and eventually paint. Fast forward to 2015, and I’m basically still doing the same thing, only with decades more experience, a much more sophisticated approach and an incredible team of very skilled technicians bringing it all together here at Coachwerks.”

Coachwerks specializes in European and British sports cars, and uses the same time-honoured tools and techniques as when these classics were first made, with flawless results. “I’m fascinated by the stories from the owners, but also the stories the cars tell us,” says Grams. “Some of the cars we’ve been privileged to work on have true historical significance.”

Grams is looking forward to being a part of this year’s Vancouver Island Motor Gathering and helping to support the charities involved. He says he’s honoured to be judging this year.

“We’re in the restoration world, so for the most part, we’re hemmed in in terms of our creative expression with these cars,” he says. “It’s fun to see the restoration mods and what can be done with creative license. The insane amount of labour and dedication that goes into the builds of some of these cars leaves me with great respect for anyone willing to take that on.”