Daily Herald
Hot hobby becomes new business in suburbs
By Kim Mikus | Daily Herald Columnist
Published: 6/17/2010 12:01 AM

When Matt Werksman was 5 years old, he was often at his father's side, screwdriver in hand, taking apart carburetors.

Through the years, he continued to tinker with old cars as a hobby while running his own landscaping company.

Cars have always been Werksman's passion. The entrepreneur dropped the landscaping to turn his hobby into a business. The mechanic mainly works on old cars from the small garage of his Lake Barrington home.

He ran out of space and recently expanded and opened Fox Valley Hot Rods at 117 E. Northwest Hwy. in Barrington.

The main focus of the business is restoration and modification of vintage engines and automobiles. The majority of the work he does is mechanical, mainly focusing on transmissions.

"I work on older cars built before 1958," he said.

He added that he does not do body or paint work nor focus on the interior of cars.

When he worked from his home with space limitations, he was often not able to have the cars on site.

"I didn't have the room. I couldn't leave them outside and let them get scratched or have leaves falling on them," he said.

So instead, clients would often drop off or send him an engine or carburetor.

"Now I can offer more services as I have room for the cars," he said.

The new business allows Werksman to work on several projects at one time. He is now focusing on an engine that's going to Belgium for a vintage race car as well as working on a 1932 Ford Roadster.

"What I do is exclusive. It's a small target base of people that need my services," he said.

The business is going well.

"There's enough guys out there to keep me in business. I'm fortunate," he said, adding that he has six cars lined up waiting for him to service.

He adds that he works hard, often putting in 12-hour days.

"You have to work hard when you're self employed," the Barrington High School graduate said. "It's a passion. I love it."

For more information, call (847) 382-3089 or check out foxvalleyhotrods.com.