Shop Visit: Barry Schonberger

This 40x40-foot workshop was constructed in 1996 to support Team Tiger’s race efforts in SCCA and karts. All of the electrical wire pulls, lighting, painting and floor treatments were done by my son and me.

The basic look of the shop may seem familiar, as it was featured in one of the early publications of “Ultimate Garages.” The roofline matches the house’s, and we asked a local architect to develop blueprints to meet that need.

The building is three stories: The main floor has two 40-footdeep bays and one 20-foot bay. The 20-foot bay houses a collection of vintage Norton and Honda motorcycles and memorabilia. The remaining 20 feet is a dirty room with workbench, bead blaster, solvent tank, welding equipment, mill, lathe, drill press, belt sander and bandsaw. Two-thirds of the center bay is two stories with a 10,000-pound Rotary Lift, plenty of wall space for banners and signs, and space in the back for kart maintenance. The left bay provides an isolated flat surface for weighing and setting up the race car. The back half features a Handy lift to work on vintage motorcycles.

The stairs lead to a center bay landing with a desk, files, computer, racing trophies and memorabilia. Above the left bay is the furnace and storage shelving. Above the right bay is my wife’s jewelry workshop.

The third level is accessed by pull-down stairs on the landing and is storage for light items, such as fiberglass bodywork. Aluminum air lines with modular couplings are used throughout the building. The building is built into a hill, so the lower-back wall is all concrete block–which helps with cooling and heating.–Barry Schonberger

Shop Tips from Barry

Remember to install outdoor outlets, including 220-volt units for projects that are better left outside.

Invest in the best insulated garage door you can buy. They are a huge help with heating and cooling. Don’t go smaller than an 8-foot-tall door. A 7-foot door will bite you when you try to get large items in the garage.

If you have a backroom, consider installing double doors to allow access for large equipment or projects.

Water in the shop is impor tant, including a hose you can use inside and run out the door for a quick rinse in freez ing weather.

Pit Pal-like accessories work as great in a shop as they do in the trailer.

Keep an eye out for used restaurant equipment auctions. Stainless tables and shelves are great in the shop.

Get a piece of 0.500-inch steel plate–about 30 inches long and 24 inches deep–for the top of your workbench. There are times when you’ll need a sturdy surface like this for clamping or beating on.

Keep an eye on Craigslist for old factory file cabinets. Mine has been a shop staple for 30 years. Have a drawer for old usable nuts, bolts and washers. They come in very handy.

Get yourself a good tape label maker. It helps identify and organize things.

Put some money into a good vise. My Wilton 4500 has the ability to reverse the jaw for very large items.

Keep notepads lying around. If you’re like me, you forget the things you need to buy. I also forget good ideas if I don’t write them down.

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View comments on the CMS forums
Ian F
Ian F MegaDork
3/20/16 10:41 a.m.

While it's nice to see these articles online, it would really be nice if the online version had more/different pictures than what is shown in the magazine. I know tons of pictures are taken for an article like this and only a handful of the best can make it to print. Why not use the online version to post those pictures that didn't make it?


jfslenes None
4/8/16 6:29 p.m.

Always good to see two Gato's in the same garage. Also good to know our similar history continues with a TR3. I haven't race my Gato for several decades. I am jealous of the side pipes and superior front suspension (even W/O more photos, mine is original & inferior). Thanks for sharing!

Tim Suddard
Tim Suddard Publisher
4/13/16 9:16 p.m.


I hear you, but in this case we had very few pictures. Let me run this idea by Ed, who handles our website.

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