Keeping It All in the Family

Allison Griffiths Didn't Intend to Run a Restoration Shop, But Now It's Her Driving Passion

Sports Car Market, Dec 2021
by Nicole Wakelin

Treasured Motorcar Service was founded in 1980 by Geoffrey and Barbara Griffiths. The two met in a garage and had their first date at a rally, so cars were destined to be a part of their life together. The couple passed on their passion for cars to their daughter, Allison Griffiths, who now owns and operates the family business in New Freedom, PA. We spoke with Allison to find out how she went from cleaning spokes of wheels as a toddler to taking charge of the family restoration shop.

How did your interest in cars start?

My dad was always into cars and my mom is a car girl. It’s what we affectionately call “the defective car gene;” my brother and I both have it. So we were always going to races and car shows, and my parents always treasted us like little adults. We were always hanging out with everybody car related. And if it rained that year, you had to get the car ready. I remember my mom and dad’s Aceca and Lotus Elite and having to have them just perfect for the judges. One of my earliest memories is sitting there, in the mud, cleaning the 72 spokes on each wheel at New Hope Auto Show. You know, learning how to properly wash and clean and prep for the judges. I was maybe 4 years old.

What led to your parents opening Treasured Motorcar Services?

Mom and Dad had a parts business that fell to the recession in the late ’70s, so dad was doing repairs at the house on the weekends. It evolved over a couple of years from a fun thing at the house into a shop back in 1980. It’s been the family business ever since.

Did you plan to take over one day?

No, I liked cars but had a lot of other interests. I was into trains and became an executive assistant at the B&O Railroad Museum in Baltimore. I traveled and made my way to Florida, where I got involved with law enforcement. I have a degree in marketing and advertising and started out as something of a public-informant officer. Then I was a patrol officer for about 10 years.

How did you come back to cars?

Mom and Dad called one day and said something’s not right. You need to come home. My dad had been having some memory issues, so I came home and started taking over the business. I bought it from them before he passed from dementia in 2015. I never saw myself coming back. I landed here and did what I needed to do because Mom and Dad had always stood by me, no matter what, and given me everything. They worked so hard for my brother and me to put us through school, to always be there, to love us and develop us. I had to come home.

And what about now?

I am now passionately dedicated to moving the company forward. I just installed a paint booth. A gentleman from a very well-established restoration company who worked for them for 22 years has joined me as my restoration manager. He and I are looking at this, going,”What are we going to do for the next 20 years?” Theres’s growth and expansion, even in the middle of the chaos. And I am now very passionate about it.
How many cars do you typically have on-site?

I think we have 43 on-site right now and most of those are active. And when I say active, they’re maybe waiting for parts or waiting for a client to catch up financially. We try to work with budgets. It could be parts. It could be waiting to go home. It could be waiting for the initial review and diagnostic. There are so many different phases. I’ve been waiting for a stupid seat belt on a Mini for four months!

What would you most like to see roll into the shop?

What I’d love to see are the ’40s French cars. Definitely, that’s a strong passion. The Delage, the Delahaye, the Hispano-Suiza, the Bugatti, the Talbot-Lago. Those are just so beautiful and sensual, and that would be outstanding.

What is your favorite part of the job?

Probably when the car is finished, and the customer is just beaming. They’re so pleased in their vision. We matched their vision and they’re ready to drive. Most of the cars we do are drivers. We don’t do a lot of trailer queens. Our future is going more towards extensive restorations, but even just for repair and maintenance, people are so happy to get their cars back. I think it’s handing the keys back to the client and them being so happy to have their baby back and to be able to go drive. That’s nice. And that’s my favorite part.

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