The "Secret Lab" north of PendletonPosted: Updated:
Pendleton, OR - For over a decade an Oregon couple has been running a secret lab in a remote area north of Pendleton. Except they aren't conducting science experiments, they are restoring cars.
There isn't much in South Juniper Canyon, but out in the middle of nowhere you'll find Holton Secret Lab.
"We have a neighbor about every mile or two," explains Bill Holton.
Bill and his wife Marcy own the car restoration shop and their mission is simple.
"Dreaming up things and making them work," says Bill.
The Holton's have been restoring cars for over 30 years, but opened the lab 12 years ago.
The staff has taken old frames from 1930's pickups and turned them into nice shiny rigs equipped with cruise control and satellite radio.
They specialize in the unique method of rotisserie restorations. Just like a rotisserie chicken the car goes up on a giant metal contraption and the staff can spin the frame to the side they want to work on.
"We can do a better job because we don't do it on creepers underneath the cars," explains Bill.
They also have what they call a media blasting room, one of the few in the Northwest. This is where they take the paint off of older cars by blasting tiny pieces of recycled plastic on to the frame.
A wide range of tools can also be found in the lab. Some dating back to Bill's dad's shop he opened after World War Two.
"They're all vintage tools. They're made to work on these 30's and 40's cars," says Bill.
Over 500 hours of labor can go into these cars. Cars that mean so much to the drivers.
"I'm the only owner. [I've] had it for a long time. My wife and I dated in this car. It's just like part of the family. I can't imagine not having the car," explains Jim Bluhm, owner of a 1970 fully Chevelle Malibu, which was restored at the lab.
Whatever the year, make or model, cars from all over the Northwest continue to breath new life in the secret lab.