The Look

By Bob Steele

We all know it when we see it, that boat/car/motorcycle that has “it”, whether in the water or
in parking lot of a favorite watering hole. It draws you in, makes you stop what you’re doing
and subtly yells at you to come closer. As you close the distance, you begin to disassemble the
work, peeling back the layers to reveal the small details that in combination give the hotrod it’s
“look”.

It is that collaboration of all the minor details working together that make you sit back for a
moment and truly appreciate the man’s work. Now imagine for a moment, as you walk up on
his work of art for a closer look, you discover rusted dull headers with paint peeling off the
massive engine and the rigging is crusty and dingy. Your heart sinks as the anticipated polished
jewel is not sitting there staring back at you.

I blame this huge let down on the show circuit cars and boats when they set the bar high for
how “things” are supposed to look. The problem is that most show boats/rods see little or no
action on the water or in the street. In addition, they might have a team of caregivers, wiping
and buffing every exposed part to a mirror like finish. Large trophies and cover shots on leading
magazines are their reward, not that there is anything wrong with that, if that’s your deal? But
consider for a moment, you are a regular guy who dreams of piloting a ride that you built or
rebuilt from nuthin. You worked your ass off to get the “look” and now it has to be finished off
right. Not with just some shining pieces that turn colors after the first pass but the detailed
look inside that you worked so hard for on the outside. The shining stuff that can enhance the
performance of your ride as well as stand up to a season of running the crap out of it.
Something that can be wiped down with Windex and a soft cloth without hours and hours of
buffing by hand in small tight hard to reach areas.

If you were searching for such a “look” you might start with a shop that has built it’s reputation
on award winning builds and customer satisfaction. A shop that knows where the show quality
bar is and won’t release product unless it meets that standard. Such a shop exists and just
recently opened a satellite operation in LHC.
I met Allen Fredricksen, owner of The Polishing Shop/Xtreme Preformance Heat Coatings, while
rebuilding my 1974 Campbell Day Cruiser. I had worked my ass off to get the exterior “look” I

wanted with new gel coat and a rebuilt trailer. I had built all new interior and was in the
process of putting the engine and rigging back together when a mutual friend (Pete Giroux)
referred me to Allen’s shop. My Campbell is by no means a show boat but there is a bit of a
pride factor going on here and we all know how picky Campbell owners can be. I knew sooner
or later, there would be a Campbell inspection party sitting on my swim step, cold beer in hand,
peering down into the engine bay, looking to find some small misstep.

I consulted Allen, who suggested I coat the pieces I had handed over with ceramic clear coat
after his crew had buffed and polished them to life. The coating would withstand the heat
generated by the exhaust temps and at the end of the day could be wiped clean of water spots
with a soft cloth. If extra help were needed, a quick wipe down with Windex is all that is
required to return the part to a like new condition. Headers/logs, bell housing, intake manifold,
timing chain cover, rudder, swim step braces along with hard to deal with interior trim were all
polished and coated. I can tell you after two seasons in the water; Allen’s work looks as good as
the day I picked it up.

Allen gave me some background on his shop and his new operation Xtreme Polishing in LHC.
Allen got his start building engines for others working his way up through the business and
eventually becoming partners in a full tilt engine shop in Moorpark. While running the engine
shop, Allen made several contacts with local metal polishing shops and kept tabs on their
operations. Allen saw the potential in making parts shiny and eventually bought The Polishing
Shop in 1997. Using the same work ethic he had running the engine shop, Allen quickly
established ties to high end performance products like Maguson, Turbornetics B&M, Edlebrock,
Holley, Whipple and Paxton. Before the economy crash, Allen’s shop was working on as much
of a 3-4 month backlog of work from Holley alone.

Chip Foose worked with Allen to help get the “look” on the Magnuson Magnatude that was
built for fellow local Jerry Magnuson. Magnatude went on to win several big awards and
completed the HOTROD Power Tour in 2010.

Just like everyone else in the industry, Allen had to reinvent his business and make changes to
try and stay ahead of the slump. Edlebrock and Holley who were main staples before the crash
decided to go in a different direction. With the help of his close knit family and always looking

for new and better ways to get things done, Allen survived and now has a 15,000 square foot
operation with a solid crew of guys who know how to help you get the “look”. While Edlebrock
and Holley might be gone, other top names have taken their place. One day I had stopped by
to see how things were going and there was a huge pallet of Carrillo Top Fuel connecting rods
that had just received the polishing touch.

Boostpower
Chip Foose
Valley Head Service
Kenny Dutteiler
Nelson Racing Engines
Mondello Racing Engines
H&H Flatheads

Are just a few of the top shelf shops who trust Allen and his crew to help them achieve the
“look”.

Allen has partnered with Dave Connolly at Connolly Marine to provide drop off and pickup of
polished and coated parts in LHC. If you have a bitcin new project or just want to up date your
ride for the new boating season, give Allen or Dave a call.