As a fan of great garages and one who is always trying to improve my garage's function, I am fascinated by how other Corvette owners design and organize their own garages. To this end, these ongoing articles will feature garages with emphasis on how their owners improved function, solved problems, and so on. Whether you are planning your dream garage or improving your current Corvette's abode, our goal is that what we discuss will inspire you and give you solutions.
When most of us think of that time in life when we can retire and do those many things that were put off due to work and family, we dream of a retirement home at the lake or in warmer climates. So what does a Corvette restorer, NCRS chapter chairman, and Bloomington Gold judge do when he retires? He builds his "dream" garage. And in the process, he gives those of us who are into garages, hints on how to make our garages more functional as well as attractive.
This story begins when John and Linda Hinckley decided to build their retirement home and garage. Linda was in charge of the house design, and the garage was John's responsibility. One of the things that makes John's garage so unique is the fact that it is attached to his house. Most garages this large are separate structures from the main house. With the creative use of outside windows, you would never guess the 2,552 square-foot garage is almost as large as the home.
Having already completed six body-off restorations and construction of a tube-frame Grand Sport replica, John wanted space to actually work on and build cars, plus space to store the required tools and equipment. John's garage houses two daily drivers, as well as his Top Flight '67 Corvette convertible and award-winning, unrestored '69 Z/28 Camaro. He is also aware of the need to store other nonautomotive things, such as lawnmowers. He just didn't want these items cluttering up his new play area. He solved this situation by building a hidden area away from his work area and behind his office for the storage of these items.
As far as the garage is concerned, he has a centrally placed lift with space on all four sides for access to the car with transmission and engine lifts and other necessities. Next, he has provided an abundance of electrical outlets on several circuits so power is easily available. He even added outlets in the ceiling for cord reels and drop lights to make the use of power tools convenient and safe without having cords across the floor. Of course, there are 220-volt outlets for his welder and air compressor, both of which are conveniently located out of the way. There is even a wall-mounted hose reel for his compressor.
John also thought of ordinary car maintenance by installing an industrial spigot with hot and cold water and another wall-mounted hose reel for washing cars and the garage even in the severe Michigan winters.
Speaking of inclement weather, John is acutely aware of the extremes experienced in Michigan. He started his garage planning with concerns for adequate insulation, including an insulating moisture barrier beneath the concrete. The concrete has a light gray epoxy resin coating imbedded with fine silica sand for a nonslip surface. All walls and ceiling are heavily insulated. John did not stop there and installed thick steel/foam/steel sandwich construction doors. The higher door openings allow John to move his lift out into the driveway. The door above the lift hugs the ceiling so John can work under a car comfortably with the doors open. To further control the garage's environment, it is heated and cooled independent of the home.