I'd like to get some feedback on an idea I've been trying to find time to develop for over 11 years now. I apologize if this feels like a marketing pitch; ultimately I'm trying to see if you as a Camaro owner thinks this idea is worth pursuing and spending a large amount of capital to launch into production.
My name is Tyler Beauregard and I’ve been building, designing, and servicing exotic and classic cars since 1998. My first company, American Touring Specialties was a muscle car manufacturing operation that provided components to some of the finest builds in the industry; winning races in the One Lap of America, Run Thru The Hills Events, and The Optima Ultimate Street Car Challenge.
I developed and made some innovative products in that time, from forged aluminum AFX spindles based on a C5 Corvette upright, to the industry's first bolt in T56 installation kit, as well as the first ever LS7 engine swap kit back in 2005; all for the 1st gen Camaro platform.
During those 9 years I was able to work on some exceptional exotic cars; Aston Martin Vanquish, Jaguar XJ220, Ferrari 360 Modena, Porsche GT3 RS, Dodge Viper, Mercedes McLaren, Mallett-prepped C5 Corvette, BMW M5, and countless classics like Camaros, Mustangs, Corvettes, Chevelles, and Novas. I had the idea for the fitted fender cover on my first build- a Rallye Green 1968 Camaro. I learned many tricks, techniques, and refined my engineering and product development, but one thing I didn’t get time to tackle was this one simple idea. After selling the ATS brand to good friends and competitor Speedtech Performance, I had the time and knowledge to pursue the DeFenders brand. I am now in the process of developing fitted fender covers for multiple makes and models; from Camaro to Corvette, Mustang to Miada and everything in between.
So, you are probably asking- What are DeFenders are why should I care?
DeFenders provide vehicle-specific paint protection in the form of a fitted mechanic’s fender cover.
The following is showing many examples of ways to protect your investment, and to me all of them are less than stellar.
I'm going to apologize to any owners here that I'm singling out as an example case, but here is what I've seen in my research and hands on experiences:
Protecting a 69 Camaro during an engine swap:
Protecting a 69 Camaro at a car show:
Using blankets instead of universal covers:
I wouldn’t install a Ferrari fender on a Ford, so why would I use the same universal paint protection device on both vehicles? What fits and works perfectly on one automobile’s unique shape and contour rarely works on another the same way; yet that is how the restoration and repair industry as a whole has treated protecting the finish on these expensive and exotic collectibles.
I grew tired of using a universal fender cover on the wide range of classic and exotic cars I would be working on. Soon a combination of blankets, tape, and pads would be employed as I final assembled high end classics. The problem is that the very textile nature of the blankets would soak up oil spills and pick up debris that could harm the fresh paint; they wouldn’t stay in place without the tape, and offered as little protection as the fender cover they replaced.
When I arrived with the DeFender solution I had a clear understanding of the question.
What does a fender cover need to do?
It needs to protect the vehicles exceptionally painted finish from spills, scratches, and impacts that happen during a technician’s time working on the vehicle. The cover needs to be:
1. Soft and pliable
2. Have oil and brake fluid resistance
3. Not scratch or harm the finish
4. Fit the fender exactly
5. Not leave any areas exposed for possible damage
Universal fender covers modestly perform a few of these requirements, but the last and most important two, are unachievable by a flat piece of rectangle padding. They are not designed to fit any car better than another. How could a flat mat be up to the job of protecting a curved three dimensional surface? Short answer is that it can’t.
So i've spent 2 years and thousands of dollars of my personal money to develop these fitted fender covers specifically for the 67-69 Camaro platform. I've sent them to builders all over the country to test, give design changes, and feedback on them so that we have the best designed product we could make.
This is the prototype number 7, and I feel the last version we need to make. It is a 3 piece system that installs by one person in under one minute.
Here is an overall shot of the product:
Here is Larry Callahan of Pro-Touring.com testing hem out on an turbo manifold swap:
The DeFender Auto Covers are made to fit each make and model exactly, hugging every compound surface, with clearance for hood hinges, fasteners, braces, and other brackets that get in the way of a traditional universal fender cover. No areas are left exposed so the technician can feel confident that the car is protected the entire length of the engine bay and even beyond. DeFenders are right and left specific and can be rolled up and stored in many places, from a tool drawer, to a trunk, and even hung on the shop wall to act as a stunning visual art piece. Hand sewn from custom draped patterns, the covers stay in place while working on the vehicle, and ridges formed into the top surface prevent tools from rolling off.
Think about all the different people you’ve had to trust as you’ve built your car. The paint and body shop, the interior guy, the engine builder- All of them earned your trust and your business by being trustworthy, and by being the best at what they do. By making the highest quality, best fitting mechanics cover ever seen by the industry, I feel we’ve earned the honor of protecting your investment. You can count on DeFenders to protect from scratches, impacts, and spills; The interlocking panels provide total coverage of the most vulnerable areas in the mechanics line of fire. With all the hard work, time, and money spent making your build a reality, it would be a disservice to trust anything less than the DeFenders for your ride. A scratch or dent repair at the most economical is well beyond the cost of a set of DeFenders, and after spending five figures for paint and body, how could you only spend $20 to protect that?
These are the fender covers that protect your investment, and allow you to keep your pride and joy the envy of onlooker’s eyes.
The specifications are as follows:
Made from 110 gauge expanded PVC vinyl, these 3 piece mechanics fender covers are designed to cover the header panel as well as the entire length of the passenger and drivers side fenders, with provisions made to get around the hood hinges and latch, fender braces, and rubber stoppers. Antenna hole cutting template is included for those cars equipped with a passenger front fender location. The engine bay seams ensure a solid grip, hugging along the full length of the sheet metal from the cowl panel to front header, while ridges sewn into both sides of the full length of the covers provide tool retention. Tying the right and left DeFenders together is the header panel nose cover. This lays along the front of the car, clearing the hood latch and protecting the grille, headlights, and lower valance from scratches and impacts. The header panel goes on before the DeFenders and Velcro attaches covers in place on overlaps.
All DeFenders Auto Covers are triple top stitched by hand with contrasting stitch to binding colors. Custom logo printing is available for an extra fee.
So? What do you think? Time to replace those universal fender covers and blankets wit a set of DeFenders, or am I making a product that people don't need?
Thanks for all feedback and criticism. There is no pricing yet, but everything is hand made with materials and labor sourced 100% in the United States of America.