Classic Motoring Accessories: Detailers Paradise
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Classic Motoring Accessories: Detailers Paradise

VIENNA, VA – We’re particularly excited to feature Classic Motoring Accessories as this issue’s spotlighted vendor, as they are the premiere sponsor of our brand new detailing forum wherein car enthusiasts like yourself can ask questions and exchange detailing tips and tricks with one another.

Classic Motoring Accessories represents the pinnacle (pun intended) of detailing suppliers. They offer a wide variety of very high end car care products, at prices that are extremely competitive with top notch customer service.

Terry Freidberg is the owner and operator of Classic Motoring Accessories (CMA). With his wife Jan and son Jon, CMA helps hundreds of needy detailers achieve automotive euphoria. We sat down with Terry a few weeks ago and asked him a series of questions in an attempt to learn more about CMA, and more importantly, to learn more about what makes this wonderful vendor tick.

Roadfly (R): Terry, before we get started I’d like to thank you for taking the time to talk with us. It is a pleasure to have you as our very first spotlighted sponsor – let’s get down to the questions.

How many employees does CMA have, where are you located, and approximately how many different products do you stock?

Terry Freidberg (TF): We have 10 employees, we originally started our retail business in 1988 and we’re currently located in a 5,000 square foot warehouse in Tampa, Florida – we’re right between the Gulf and Disney World. We’re looking to lease a larger warehouse sometime next year – because of our continual growth we’ve outgrown our current environment and are hoping to move in to a 10,000 square foot facility next summer.

Our order process is highly automated, which helps account for why we’re able to function in such a small environment, and we have a great staff on hand that are able to make good use of our limited space. We can process a lot of orders – 250 to 300 orders per day are typical for us – and we do stock everything that we sell.

R: You mention you’ve been serving the detailing industry since 1988, what were you involved with previously, and how did you become involved with the detailing supply business?

TF: My background includes 25 years in the retail home entertainment (audio/video) business. I owned and operated 2 retail stores in Michigan, and I’ve always said that I have three great passions in life: music, movies and cars. I have always been a car nut and am one of those people who truly enjoys taking care of his car, including washing, polishing and waxing all of my vehicles – I truly enjoy driving a nice, clean, detailed car.

I got started in the detailing supply business after I sold my two audio/video stores in 1988. We opened up a shop in Tampa and focused on retail sales of high-end detailing products. The business grew quickly, so I started trying to stock everything that I could think of, and as a result, we began to attract car dealerships as clients – our focus shifted from retail to wholesale/distribution.

After about a year, our wholesale business was doing much better than our retail business, so we actually closed the retail portion and concentrated on the wholesale distribution of car care products. After about 3-4 years we started a national catalog, and about another 3-4 years later along came this new media called “the Internet”.

R: How long have you been on the web?

TF: We’ve only been on the web for perhaps two years – but since we started on the web, it was magic – our business increased five-fold; it was unbelievable. As I said earlier, we quickly outgrew our current warehouse and are hoping to find a larger location.

R: Am I correct in the assumption that CMA is the manufacturer for BlackFire, Eimann Fabrik, Pinnacle and Sonus products? What drove you to create your own wax products, and how did you get started with the process?

TF: I have a great job. I get to play with the chemistry and techniques that are involved with manufacturing detailing products – I’m not a chemist, so it’s incredible to see and learn about all of the complexity that is involved with creating products.

We got our start as a manufacturer because so many people were asking us for “something better” – so we hired a research chemist and I naively told him that I wanted to make a better car wash shampoo. I thought it would be something very simple, but it turned out to be incredibly complex and expensive.

Pinnacle products came out around 1993, when people were still asking us for something better – as I stated earlier, I hired a research chemist – actually, I hired a skin care chemist, and told him that I wanted to treat the car as a ‘metal skin’ – not as a painted piece of metal. What I learned was that anytime you work with car care products, you’re constantly balancing the ‘pros’ and ‘cons’; it’s a constant tradeoff between usability and durability.

Thankfully with the advent of synthetic polymer chemistry, we’re now able to offer our BlackFire synthetic protectants, products that I’m very proud of because they offer the optical qualities of a carnauba, with the durability and protection of a synthetic.

R: I know that when I first started detailing, I bought most of my supplies at the local discount chain stores. What would you say to the people who shop at those stores that might convince them to look into trying a supplier/manufacturer like Classic Motoring Accessories?

TF: I’m thrilled when anybody takes care of his or her cars. If someone wants to shop at the local discount store and wax their car with a $3 tin of wax, that’s great – it makes me happy to know that they’re taking care of their vehicles. Conversely, what bothers me, is the person who spends $50,000 on a leased luxury car and then doesn’t take care of it because he’s of the mindset that “this isn’t really my car, and I’m just going to get rid of it in 3 years anyway.”

TF: But, back to the question – people who shop at retail stores are getting very good value for their money. I liken it to my stereo experiences – if you walk in to a retail audio store and you buy a Denon, JVC, Kenwood, Sony or Yamaha receiver, you’re getting very, very good value for your dollar – everybody wins.

Now, let’s look at the specialty manufacturer or retailer – we’re trying to make an existing product “the best”. We work hard to find the very best ingredients for our products regardless of cost and we limit the amount of compromise that has to take place based on budget. Much like the Mark Levinsons or the Conrad Johnsons of the audio world – they take that base technology and scrutinize it, tweak and improve upon it regardless of the cost.

People ask me, “Can’t 3M or Meguiar’s make these products?” And I reply without hesitation, “Absolutely,” there’s no doubt that their engineers could make these products, but the problem is that these products don’t fit their business model. The high-end, niche market is just too small for them to include in their business.

Long answer short; if someone is an enthusiast and they want to experience the next level in car care, then they should consider a higher-end product – and that’s where we come in. We have a large variety of very high end product to choose from, all of which are in stock (save for docking strikes and special order items). We offer prompt delivery and reasonable prices, and most importantly, if you ever have any questions, we do our very best to help answer them quickly and accurately.

R: What’s the largest order CMA has ever processed?

TF: We do supply some large companies, so we’ve had orders in the six figures; but as far as the single largest retail order – we probably get two or three $500+ orders per day.

R: Any celebrities on the customer list (other than us, btw)?

TF: (laughing) Yes, but I can’t divulge who they are due to endorsement issues.

R: What’s your detailing schedule like, and what’s your favorite product at the moment?

TF: Every Saturday morning I (at the very least) wash my cars, and treat them with a quick detailer spray. It’s something that I really look forward to each and every Saturday. My car is also a little unique because it’s constantly being used as a guinea big on a regular basis for all of the products that we carry.

Classic Motoring Accessories: Detailers Paradise, continued.

Long answer short; if someone is an enthusiast and they want to experience the next level in car care, then they should consider a higher-end product – and that’s where we come in. We have a large variety of very high end product to choose from, all of which are in stock (save for docking strikes and special order items). We offer prompt delivery and reasonable prices, and most importantly, if you ever have any questions, we do our very best to help answer them quickly and accurately.

R: What’s the largest order CMA has ever processed?

TF: We do supply some large companies, so we’ve had orders in the six figures; but as far as the single largest retail order – we probably get two or three $500+ orders per day.

R: Any celebrities on the customer list (other than us, btw)?

TF: (laughing) Yes, but I can’t divulge who they are due to endorsement issues.

R: What’s your detailing schedule like, and what’s your favorite product at the moment?

TF: Every Saturday morning I (at the very least) wash my cars, and treat them with a quick detailer spray. It’s something that I really look forward to each and every Saturday. My car is also a little unique because it’s constantly being used as a guinea big on a regular basis for all of the products that we carry.

If I had to pick a favorite product right now, I’d say it’s the Souveran Paste Wax with the Microfiber Magic Towel. These are two unbelievable products that no detailer should be without.

R: What’s your favorite beverage for refreshment while detailing?

TF: Merlot. I just love Merlot – I tune to my favorite jazz station, pour a glass of Merlot and have a good time detailing my car. I’m literally in heaven when I’m out in the garage detailing my vehicle.

R: If you could detail a ‘dream car’, what would that be?

TF: I am a big fan of Enzo Ferrari and the Ferrari automobiles. I don’t think that I would ever own one because I’ve had experience through my previous business that has indicated that they are truly a wealthy person’s toy. I have a tremendous amount of respect for the late Enzo Ferrari and his passion to make his product the absolute best.

R: Any tips or tricks you’d care to share with us?

TF: The first thing that comes to mind isn’t really a detailing tip, it’s more of a safety tip – please check your tire pressures. The last figure that I had heard indicated that more than 50% of the vehicles on the road today have under inflated tires, which can lead to serious tire failure. I always make it a habit to check my tires regularly and would hope that everyone else would do the same.

As far as detailing goes, the one thing that I run into quite often is that people are deathly afraid of high speed rotary buffers/polishers. These buffers are actually very user friendly, just make sure that you keep them at a low speed – it’s the buffers that are a single speed, or the ones that people run up to 3,000 rpm that cause problems. If you’re using a quality pad, with a quality product and you respect the machine, keeping the speed around 1,000 – 1,200 rpm, you’ll be able to do things that you can’t do with a random orbital.

Finally, I’d really suggest that people not focus on the “magic bullet” of wax – the secret to a great finish isn’t necessarily the wax, it’s the preparation that you put into the vehicle – the claying, the polishing and finally the waxing. The wax will only enhance the work that you’ve put into the finish.

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It was an absolute pleasure chatting with Terry Friedberg, owner of Classic Motoring Accessories. He is a very knowledgable person who has a passion for detailing like very few people do.

Roadfly would like to thank Terry for taking the time to chat with us and for sharing so much interesting and useful information. We hope that you enjoyed this episode of our Vendor Spotlight, and we welcome your feedback.

About Steve Litscher

Steve Lutscher Avatar
Food connoisseur, car guy, tech geek and dog lover.
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