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NARRAGANSETT REPRODUCTIONS

107 Woodville Rd.
Wood River Junction
Rhode Island
401-364-3839

 

Gansett Restoration And Coach Company
The Sunday Journal Auto February 20, 1972 by Ken Parker
 

Even the setting is appropriate to the enterprise.

You cross a "moat", actually a 10-foot-wide, granite walled stream, on a heavy plank bridge (alas, it doesn't swing up on chains!) in a complex of historic buildings, itself in the process of restoration.

The enterprise is Narragansett Restoration and Coach Company, one of the most respected specialty automobile restoration operations in the nation.

Its home is an ancient three-story mill building in the venerable Hazard Mill complex in Wakefield.

In existence just under five years, NRCC is owned by brothers Edward and John Pease, natives of the area who organized the business from a hobby. They bought the mill because it is well adapted to their business and because it was not too expensive, since it needed a little restoration itself.

They've restored the plant to the extent necessary for their operation, creating an office and adapting several areas to mechanical body, painting and other facets of car restoration.

All their work on whole vehicles is on customer order and because you don't always know what problems you're going to run into when you restore any old object, particularly a mechanical one, they can make only the most general of estimates of cost or time.

The quality of the work turned out by this small firm of less than a dozen craftsmen has become so well known that they've been working on as many as 25 vehicles at one time, which Ed Pease feels is far too many.

Now, there are 10 in various departments, including a Raymond Loewy Continental, a 1934 Mercedes 500K, a Pagaso, a 1940 Ford town car with glass partition between, chauffeur's and passengers' compartments, and a little doll of a Model A truck.

All the restoring operations are on the first floor and the other two stories are used for storage. At present, Mr. Pease said, there are about 30 cars on the upper floors awaiting work.

A big convenience of the old mill is that it is on a steeply slopping site and cars can be driven or towed right into each story.

As they gained experience the Pease brothers learned that some components, while slightly different in detail often presented very similar problems.

Consequently, while real mass production will never be possible for a business like theirs, Ed and jack Pease have been able to set up several types of operations that can be used to restore or actually build authentic replicas of original components.

A good example is the working harnesses. While they all have to do essentially the same tasks, every harness is approached from a different viewpoint and is made in its own way. It would be much easier to replace original wiring with stamped or printed circuits, simpler and more efficient wiring and modern synthetic materials.

But then the car wouldn't be authentic. When an old harness is brought in, it is first dissected an analyzed to see what does what. Every time particular car's harness is in the Peas shop for the first time, it is then blue printed and after the new harness is built, the print is filled so that if the same kind comes in again, they can follow the blueprint rather than unravel the original.

New harnesses are made from the ground up. NRCC makes its own wire, braiding, color-coding and lacquering the insulation so that it exactly duplicates the original, except that it works better.

Early Lincoln Continentals are so popular that Pease keeps a stock of wiring harnesses for them. Advertising in antique and classic car publications, the firm receives orders for many parts from all over the world.

They make, on custom order, all the wiring harnesses for the cars owned by Bill Harrah, a Nevada casino operator who probably has the largest collection of rare vehicles in this country.

Mr. Harrah buys cars, through his personal full-time representatives at the most renowned auctions all over the world, and is known for his selectivity. When he buys parts for them from such a young firm, it's proof enough of its nature.


 
 
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Narragansett Reproductions - Wood River Junction - Rhode Island