Mills & Co. is a local business that repairs and restores cars from the 1930s, ’40s and ’50s. The business also specializes in building hot rods.
In 2001, Mills began working at Joe Smith Early Ford in Marietta, where he specialized in selling and repairing antique Ford parts. After working at Joe Smith Early Ford for several years and realizing his passion for fabricating and building custom vintage cars, Mills pioneered his business in 2005.
“I just liked the vintage appeal of the cars, kind of the different era,” Mills said of discovering his passion for old cars. “You drive one of these and it just sets you back in a different frame of mind and a different time period. I like the nostalgia of it.”
Mills said he first began repairing and restoring cars with his step-father when he was a teenager. “I kept doing it and there was interest for me there,” he said.
Although he has been repairing and restoring vintage cars for more than 20 years, Mills said he continues to learn about the cars and how to repair them.
“Every day you have a new challenge or a new issue with each car that comes in that may or may not be something you’ve done before so you have to keep progressing,” Mills said. “Even guys that I know who are in their 80s are still learning on these old cars and seeing something new on a daily basis.”
Mills’ projects have won numerous awards and have been featured in several national and international magazines such as Kustom Magazine in France and Old School Rods in the United States.
“Recently, there was one we repaired this year, a 1932 Cabriolet and it has won several events like ‘Best in Class,’” Mills said. “We’ve had several cars that come out of here and been featured in various magazines and won various shows.”
As a result of their national and international media coverage, Mills &. Co. has customers not only in the Southeast but throughout the country and world.
“We’re doing one for a guy in California, we’re doing one for a guy in Virginia, and I’ve got that Roadster out there going to Sweden,” Mills said, pointing across his shop.
In addition to repairing and restoring antique cars, Mills writes as a technical consultant for several hot rod magazines on a bimonthly basis. Mills’ articles are usually instructional, but he also writes editorial pieces about restoring and driving old cars.
Mills advised those who hope to own a vintage car repair and restoration shop to be prepared to work hard and to follow their passions.
“I think the biggest thing is you’ve got to love it,” Mills said. “It’s definitely something you have to have a passion to do and you’ve got to love doing it because it’s hard work. If that is your passion, I’d say to look into it if it’s something you’re looking to do.”