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Custom, automotive, surfacer, painter

My name is Steve Kouracos. I am a specialist in automotive paint refinishing and restoration. I have a small, custom automotive surfacing studio providing exceptional quality paint results for the discerning client. My studio is select in the cars we work on. I specialize in American and European antique, classic, sport and exotic automobiles.  I bring no more than three projects in at a time — this way we are able to focus on turning out exceptional quality surface results in a timely fashion.

I am passionate about what I do. I have great zeal for providing quality craftsmanship. I consider myself an artist when it comes to painting automotive surfaces.

“I wanted to learn from some of the best so that one day I could be one of the best.”

I was born in Chicago, Illinois and moved to California in 1974 where I pursued my love for automobiles.  I began my career in automotive surfacing and painting at Sam Foose’s Project Design in Goleta, CA. At the time, Project Design was building prototypes and concept cars as well as doing custom automotive bodywork and show paint projects. While working at Project Design, I restored several vehicles for Concours ‘d Elegance events. I also had the great privilege to work with Alex Trimulas, the legendary automotive designer (responsible for the design of the Tucker automobile).

I fine-tuned my trade as a master automotive surfacer / painter while at Project Design … cutting my teeth on some of the finest cars in the world. In 1976 I joined Clénet  Coachworks as its third employee. I was hired by Alain Clénet  to set up production of the first series of Clénet’s hand-built cars. I was responsible for planning the body and paint department for the company. Alain designed the Clénet  Roadster and was in the process of establishing a production facility in Santa Barbara, CA for the beginning of the Series 1. I changed from lacquer to acrylic enamel to meet production needs. Clénet  was trying to get the same results as a lacquer finish with acrylic enamel.

Interestingly enough, I was written up in the DuPont News as the first automotive painter that color-sanded and rubbed out an acrylic enamel paint job with superior results. I used Japanese ultra-fine 1000 grit sanding paper. Soon after, I worked with 3M R&D to develop their line of ultra-fine wet sanding paper.

In 1979 I left Clénet  Coachworks to join Gaffoglio Family Metalcrafters – a prototype and concept designer and builder in Southern California. I worked with a team of automotive professionals to establish the body surfacing and paint department in order to ramp up for assisting Lee Iacocca and “The New Chrysler Corporation.”

While at Metalcrafters, I was involved with the completion of many Chrysler concept and prototype cars that ultimately went into production. It was at this time in my career when I worked with some of the most influential automotive designers and craftsmen in the world.

After seven years at Metalcrafters, I started my own business under the name Auto Cosmetic Inc. (ACI). The company had two branches — a vehicle film support service provider to the film industry and a custom paint and collision business. I worked with Mother’s Waxes to text product for their R&D department.

For nearly 15 years ACI serviced many different automotive manufacturers, their design facilities, their advertising agencies as well as production companies, photographers and directors. The core of the business was established as a West Coast secured facility for Buick Motor Division — housing and refurbishing hundreds of cars for Buick’s shows, events, product comparison clinics and ride & drives West of the Mississippi. I also created ACI as a vendor business to dozens of auto dealerships and hundreds of satisfied personal car enthusiasts in Newport Beach and throughout Southern California.

In 1998 I sold ACI to a Fortune 500 company from Detroit. I set up the facility and established operation on the West Coast as the company’s Operations and General Manager. I left in the latter part of 1999 to focus on my performance / precision driving career. I’ve driven for more than 60 automotive brands and worked with more than 100 production companies worldwide since becoming a Screen Actors Guild member in 1984. I continue to drive professionally as well as perform as an extra when time permits.

One Comment
  1. Looking forward to following you on here Steve. Nice site!

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