Chips Away Makes An Unusual House Call
Story Documented by Charles Rollins,
Late afternoon on Thursday August 12th 2004, TJ Wallace of Chips Away, an Orange County California based specialist in automotive paint touchup, was contacted with a unique request. A 1912 Rolls Royce Silver Ghost Limousine owned by Daniel Sielecki of Argentina had been damaged while being transported from Argentina to Pebble Beach, California. The special Coachwork Rolls was entered in the 54th Annual Pebble Beach Concours de’Elegance, arguably the most prestigious Concours in the North America if not the world, which was a little over 48 hours away. Could TJ come to Monterey and repair the Damage? Digital pictures of the damage were sent by E-mail to Chips Away and it was determined that repairs could be made in time for the Concours on Sunday morning.
Transporting chemicals on commercial airlines is an impossibility these days so arrangements were hastily made to charter an airplane from Orange County to Monterey delivering TJ, an assistant, and the needed tools and supplies for working on the damaged paint surfaces. As if time wasn’t already at a premium, there was a small delay on Saturday morning because of a mechanical problem on the first plane. Nothing adds excitement like a little smoke in the cabin! A second plane was then readied and they finally departed for the 1-1/2 hour flight to Monterey. TJ admitted running through a mental and written list of needed materials multiple times still sure he had forgotten something. Of course upon arrival, the damage was greater then expected. What was supposed to be four fender bolts with cracked paint, ended up being the fender and the bolts, a heavily damaged running board mounted battery box, and an interior dash piece. TJ and his assistant Jerry Spaulding worked for six hours straight filling the cracks in the paint on the fender, repairing and repainting the exterior of the battery box, and repainting the dash piece. There was also a side request to bring some metal polish and sealer for the brass and copper trim and engine components. In addition, they performed a general touch up on the whole car fixing a dozen small chips and other problem areas that they found during their inspection. With the moist air from the nearby ocean, approaching darkness, and the clock running on the chartered aircraft and pilot, the pressure was on the experienced team from Chips Away. Even given all of these hurdles, the repairs were completed and happily approved by the Rolls’s relieved owner. As TJ and Jerry returned home to Orange County Saturday evening, they could finally relax and absorb the odyssey they had just been through. Being flown to Pebble Beach for an “Emergency Service Call”, who would ever believe this story?
On Sunday morning at 6 am, the 1912 Rolls Royce Silver Ghost was driven onto the 18th fairway of the Pebble Beach Golf Course to be displayed with over one hundred of the world’s most beautiful classic cars. A special area behind velvet ropes was reserved for significant Rolls Royce Silver Ghosts as part of the 100th Anniversary Celebration of the Marque. With the calm waters of the Pacific Ocean as the backdrop, the Rolls waited to receive the strictest judging any classic car is ever subjected. When the judging was completed and the awards were finally handed out, Sielecki’s Rolls was honored with the “Co-Chairmen’s Special Award” presented to “the most deserving car present as selected by the Co-Chairmen”, Glenn Mounger and Sandra Kasky.
It was late Sunday evening when the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance web site posted the Individual Class and Special Award Winners. The news of the Co-Chairmen’s Award received by Daniel Sielecki’s 1912 Silver Ghost reached the crew back in Orange County. TJ Wallace and his company Chips Away and the extraordinary efforts and commitment of a classic car owner had met with great success. The international crowd of event attendees had not a clue of the incredible events that had transpired “behind the scenes” but that was the idea.
To find out more about Chips Away and their services, please visit the “About Us” section. The aircraft is ready and the pilot is on standby! Check out the photos of the 1912 Rolls on the lawn at Pebble Beach by following the link below.