2016 will mark the 40th year that Sterling Restorations has been in continuous operation restoring classics, muscle cars, exotics and resto-rods. James Dewey Sr. started the business in 1976 in a small machine shed on the outskirts of Sterling, along Route 2.  The company later moved to a mid-sized facility in the heart of downtown Sterling, before building the new 9,000 sq ft modern shop in its current location in 1993.

Sterling Restorations ShopThe first car restored was a 1929 Ford Model A 4-door sedan.  Over the years the shop has restored vintage brass era, pre-war, 50’s classics, 60’s and 70’s muscle, exotics, and street rods of all types.  A sampling of some of our major projects can be found in the Past Projects area. Upon special request the shop has also restored antique gas pumps, coke coolers, snowmobiles, bicycles, barber chairs, oil lamps and other special interest items.

Houston investor Ray Deyoe purchased the business from Jim Dewey Sr. upon his retirement in 2010.  David Dresen joined the company as General Manager in Summer 2015.  Dave brought a wealth of added experience to the fold, having run ‘West Coast Customs’ Middle East operation in Dubai as well as Living Classics.  Under Dave’s leadership, the shop has made significant upgrades in equipment and improvements in our work processes.  Sterling Restorations now boasts over 75 years of combined employee experience with classic and exotic car restoration and modification.  We have come a long way in 40 years!



Our name says it all. In 2016 we will celebrate our 40th year of performing the highest quality restorations of antique and classic cars. From complete body-off restoration to small repairs and service, Sterling Restorations offers the finest in workmanship and customer service. Whether complete or partial, an auto restoration is an investment and should be handled with the utmost in professionalism. Don’t trust your restoration project to a collision shop or typical mechanic – classic cars are our business!


  • Celebrating 40 years of restoring dreams!
  • Complete body-off, rotisserie or partial restoration
  • 100 point ‘Concours’ award-winners and simple weekend drivers
  • Experience with pre-war era, 50’s classics, 60’s & 70’s muscle and exotics
  • Highly secure facility
  • Custom enclosed trailer for pick-up and delivery


Our painting projects range from elegant finishes to serious racing stripes. The shop uses the finest PPG Envirobase (water based) paints, coatings and processes available. And, we utilize PPG’s state-of-the-art computerized color matching and materials tracking system. We perform simple blow-ins as well as full custom paint jobs and cosmetic restorations. Our ability to match paint color is unsurpassed. If you need a complete cosmetic restoration or just a minor paint touch-up, please contact us for an estimate.


  • Finest PPG Envirobase (water based) paints and application processes
  • State-of-the-art PPG computerized color matching and materials tracking
  • Simple blow-in touch ups or full custom paint projects
  • Unsurpassed ability to match paint colors and provide contoured samples
  • Call or visit for an estimate


Sterling Restorations offers a complete range of mechanical and electrical services from minor tune ups or re-wiring to complete mechanical rebuilding and upgrades, including serious resto-mods. Our expertise covers the entire spectrum of automotive history and over the years we have worked on engines ranging from single cylinder antiques to twelve cylinder power houses in modern exotics.


  • Complete range of mechanical and electrical services
  • Performance upgrades such as engines, brakes, cooling system, A/C, etc
  • Resto-mods (your ideas or ours)
  • Experience with all manner of engines and issues


One of the challenges of restoring and maintaining vintage automobiles is sourcing the right parts. At Sterling Restorations we take pride in our ability to source those hard-to-find parts. And, we are a company dedicated to the preservation and utilization of the fabrication craft. We are capable of significant repair and replacement of sections in existing coachwork or body panels, or modifying an existing body to your specifications.


  • Sourcing of hard-to-find parts
  • Fabrication of parts and body panel sections in-house if needed



Below are projects that are currently underway or have been recently completed.
We look forward to adding your project!

1940 Packard Super 8
Mechanical and Some Cosmetic

1952 MG TD
body-off restoration

Body-off Restoration...

1957 Jaguar XK150
cosmetic & interior

Cosmetic work and Interior...

1960 Chevy Impala
body-off restoration

Body-off Restoration...

1964 Buick Riviera
body-off restoration

Body-off Restoration...

1965 Austin Healy
body-off restoration

Body-off Restoration...

1967 Chevelle
body-off restoration

Body-off Restoration...

1969 Corvette
Engine swap to big block 454 and suspension upgrade

1969 Plymouth GTX
body-off restoration

1970 Challenger Hemi Convertible
body-off restoration

Body-off Restoration...

Past Projects

Sterling Restorations has completed hundreds of complete and cosmetic restorations over our 40 year history. Below are just a few examples of the vintage and classics autos that have been done by the shop over the years


Sterling Restorations is proud to partner with these quality vendors and clubs:


Click below for the latest calendars with upcoming events in the world of classic autos:

Contact Us


Address: 620 E. Rock Falls Road. Rock Falls, Illinois 61071
Phone: 815.625.2260
Fax: 815.625.0799
Email: info@sterling-restorations.com


Monday to Friday: 7am to 4pm
Saturday: By appointment


JOIN OUR TEAM!  Sterling Restorations is looking for high quality Restoration Technicians to help us grow our unique business.  The ideal candidate will share our passion for antique, classic and muscle cars and desire the relaxed, family friendly and low cost life in beautiful Sterling/Rock Falls.  We have highly experienced staff on hand to assist in taking your skills to the next level. Our business is a lost art of craftsmanship, and our reputation is on the line with every project.  If this rings true for you too, please contact General Manager Dave Dresen (dave@sterling-restorations.com) to discuss your future with us.