Restoration Specialties was founded by Dave Mihalko, who had a lifelong passion for cars. At 13, he bought is first car, a 1929 Model A sport coupe – a car he never sold. He continued to work on cars as a teenager and young adult, and married his high school sweetheart, MaryAlice, in 1961. In the summer of 1979 Dave seized an opportunity to buy an established antique auto supply business – and the Mihalko family, which by this time included teenage boys Jeff and Dave Jr., began going to 26 to 30 car shows a year, learning the business from the ground up.

In the beginning, clips, fasteners, window channels, belt strips, and door weatherstrips were the majority of the business, but Dave began to expand into manufacturing. In 1986, the business moved into a 12,000 square foot warehouse that provided room to grow. Restoration Specialties acquired several small businesses and manufacturers as it continued to diversify its offerings and capabilities.

Mail orders and internet orders became an increasingly large part of the business, even as Dave expanded his personal collection. He was always ready to help others with their car projects or to find that special part, and loved to talk about his business, hobbies, and grandchildren.

Dave Mihalko never retired from his passion. Many of his family members worked for Restoration Specialties somewhere along the line. Dave Sr. passed away in his sleep on April 10, 2016, after a full weekend at the Charlotte Auto Fair, where he and MaryAlice had driven his meticulously restored 1973 Eagle motor coach.

Today, Jeff Mihalko carries on his dad's legacy at Restoration Specialties, making sure to have something for everyone and to treat everyone fairly. As Dave's granddaughter, Sarah, said at his memorial service, the Mihalkos will always have a guardian angel watching – he'll be the one with grease on his wings.