Tracy Marsh was 21 when he quit his job at Boeing to learn a then-new technique of repairing dents in vehicles.
“Basically I sold everything I had,” he said. “I was young. It wasn’t that much of a gamble.”
Risky or not, the move paid off. Marsh’s business, Dent Busters, was one of the first practitioners of paintless dent repair in the state. Over 22 years Marsh has expanded into several related lines of work and last year moved from a Delano side street into a much more visible location on South Market.
Marsh’s wife, Peggy, and mother, Vicki, work at Dent Busters along with about 10 employees.
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“There were people who didn’t know who we were, and we’d been in business 20-some years,” he said. “We never had any frontage.”
The new location, formerly home to the Dick Price Lincoln-Mercury dealership and then Ray’s Party Rental, features a large glassed-in showroom. That’s where Marsh parks some of the vehicles that his other business, Clutch Rod & Custom, customizes and restores. Dent Busters also offers detailing services.
Marsh started Dent Busters in 1992, after taking a course in paintless dent repair, or PDR as it’s known in the industry, in Kansas City. Marsh said the technique was developed by car manufacturers to repair dents that occurred on assembly lines as a cheaper alternative to conventional repair and repainting.
Working from the inside of the vehicle, PDR technicians use metal rods of varying sizes and leverage to push out dents.
But it won’t work on all damage. So about five years ago, Marsh opened a body shop offering conventional collision repair on St. Francis, after getting tired of turning away customers who couldn’t be helped with PDR. Those repairs are now done in the basement of the new location, as is the work of Clutch Rod & Custom.
Clutch recently finished work on a 1969 Camaro that’s valued at $169,000. A ’33 Ford, ’56 Chevy and ’66 Chevy truck in various stages of repair were parked in the basement this week.
When they’re finished, Marsh moves them to the showroom upstairs.
“People stop in and look at them.”