We’ve chosen Julius Costanza’s story to be the first post of the Long Island Classic Restorations “Classic Customer Tales” because it truly represents who we as a company are. Yes, LICR is a business, but it’s really much more than that. It’s a family. It’s history. It’s a company that understands tradition, family and love. While some (but certainly not all) customers of our radiator and air conditioning repair business are just that – customers – most of the LICR customers are family. In a family, a few members part ways and we don’t ever hear from them again, but the vast majority of the LICR family never truly say “goodbye.”
Provenance is an important word in the classic automotive restoration business and it is important to us. Many of our customers put a ridiculous amount of money into repairing their cars; often far more money than they can hope to ever get if they were to sell. Most of our customers, however, have no intention of selling their cars – ever. That’s because their cars aren’t cars – they’re family heirlooms and they’re destined to be owned by the current owners’ children and grandchildren (and hopefully beyond).
Julius isn’t the first owner of this red 1966 Ford Galaxie convertible. A gentleman named Bob Costanza owned it before him. In case you haven’t figured it out by now, Bob was Julius’ father, so Julius has a lot of memories associated with this car. They include riding in the back seat with his brother & sisters on family vacations with his dad at the wheel and his mom navigating. Bob was an auto repair shop owner and had an affinity for older cars. At one point a second Galaxie was purchased to be either a project car or a parts car for this one.
Unfortunately, Bob passed away in 2005 before either event happened. Both cars sat in the garage for many years. Years later, when it was time to put the family home up for sale, there was one thing that Julius couldn’t let go of – you guessed it, the car that you see here. With the family home moved on to a new family, the red Galaxie would be the only “big” memory left of dad.
Julius wanted to get the red one going because of all his memories associated with his family and the car, but life often seems to find a way to hold us back from doing those things that we truly want. Knowing that he would never find enough time to do it himself, he contacted L.I. Classic Restorations in April of 2019, about getting it back into roadworthy condition. Both cars were towed to LICR and their condition was assessed. It was decided to sell the brown car to have more funds to put into the memory-laden red Galaxie ragtop.
Although it had been kept inside the garage for the last 10 years, the car was in need of a lot of work. Both chassis rails were rotted badly and had become the home to multiple families of rodents.
The power windows were not working, the alternator was shorted, all 4 tires were bad and it needed the brakes replaced on all four corners. It had other issues, as well. The bottom line is that the car would cost more to fix than it was worth. But how do put a price on family; on love?
The obvious answer is: you don’t. Julius and his wife decided that the expense would be worth it; there were too many memories associated with this car to let it go and in January 2020, repairs at Long Island Classic Restorations began in earnest.
Fortunately, the engine and transmission were quite solid, so all of the “other things” that turned up were relatively minor! The repairs took merely four months to get the car safe and running properly! And on April 23rd, Julius took his first cruise in the car – to visit dad. We know dad was proud.