By Kim Brooks, Express Editor
After being out of the car repair business for a while, Keith Dirks decided to open his own auto body shop on his property, adding on to an already-existing building.
“I felt the urge to come back,” he said during a recent visit by the Monticello Area Chamber of Commerce Ambassadors.
Keith’s son Cody is also a car guy, so it made sense for the father-son duo to work together in running Keith Dirks Auto Body, located on 170th Avenue.
The body shop opened in August.
“We’re satisfied with the start we’ve had so far,” commented Keith.
The two specialize in collision work as well as paint repairs on vehicles, versus mechanical work. Keith said they have the tools, knowledge and experience in collision repair.
“We can do just about any collision work,” Keith said of their capabilities.
Keith was a partner at All Seasons Auto Body with Joe Oswald for many years. Cody has the experience in custom paint jobs. While working in Dyersville, Cody did the paint job on a car for Steve Davis of Hopkinton. The car was later featured in an article in Mustang Enthusiast Magazine in July 2010, with Davis giving Cody props for the work he did on his 1969 Mustang.
A paint booth was built inside the shop. In 2002, the shop building was constructed, now with a recent addition added this past summer. The water-based paint they use is environmentally friendly. They use a computer system to accurately determine and match the paint color of any vehicle.
“It’s the most accurate paint system out there,” said Cody.
“It’s the best quality paint, too,” added Keith.
Keith said the paint system they use is a plus when it comes to the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency).
“It helps us stay on their good side,” he joked.
Having worked in the car repair business for a while, Keith said the paint system is one of the biggest changes he’s seen in the industry.
“This system cuts back on wasted material,” explained Cody of the accuracy in measurements. He said it could measure exact amounts on an entire car or just a door. It also has a faster drying time.
To familiarize themselves with the product, Keith and Cody attended a seminar in Chicago for PPG paint products.
Working in the country, Keith said he is willing to come to you, the customer, for an estimate on a job.
With room to work in the larger shop, Keith said it’s a better set-up to be a “full-blown shop.” They are able to get customers in and out in a timely manner.
“I’ve always enjoyed cars and just wanted to pursue a living doing what I love,” said Keith.
Cody has also had much experience in the car business. He worked at All Seasons for a couple of years after high school, as well as other repair shops in Eastern Iowa.
“I started in the business at home when I was 15,” said Cody of learning the trade from his father.
Keith Dirks Auto Body is located at 17568 170th Ave., south of Monticello.
PHOTOS: Top: Keith Dirks Auto Body includes enough room to handle collision work as well as a paint job on any vehicle. Keith and son Cody work together to run the business. Bottom: Cody Dirks, who went into business with his dad Keith Dirks to open Dirks Auto Body, demonstrates how they mix paint colors for a certain vehicle. The paint is environmentally friendly. Cody uses a computerized system that allows him to find an exact color match for any vehicle. (Photos by Kim Brooks)