YARMOUTH — When Scott Macha started Total Eclipse Auto Detailing & Design six years ago, he never imagined it taking him across the country to work on some of the nation’s most historic aircraft.
But on Sunday, Macha flew to Seattle, Washington, with 60 of the nation’s most elite detailers. Their mission: Restore the first presidential jet, Air Force One, and 16 other multimillion-dollar aircraft at Seattle’s Museum of Flight.
Known as Special Air Missions 970, the first presidential Air Force One served President John F. Kennedy; its color scheme was designed entirely by first lady Jacqueline Kennedy. For more than a decade, SAM 970 was stored on an open tarmac, subject to Seattle’s climate. It has taken more than 12 years to restore the plane to nearly its original glory.
Among the 16 other aircraft this year’s team is working on are a Boeing B-52G Stratofortress, Supersonic Concorde Alpha Golf, and a Boeing 747 jumbo jet.
Each hand-picked member of the Air Force One detailing team is also a member of a larger network of individually owned detailing businesses “dedicated to the art of true, professional detailing,” known as The Detail Mafia.
At the forefront of the group is Renny Doyle, or “The Godfather,” as Macha called him in a July 21 interview.
“This project began nearly 15 years ago with a Bush administration official asking me to save an icon of aviation history that was falling into ruin on the tarmac … (at that point) I had only five detailers who had trained under me and whom I trusted on such a project,” Doyle said in a July 18 press release. He is now working with 60.
According to the press release, this year’s team has “entered into a preservation stage rather than restoration stage,” as the plane requires an annual cleaning and polishing. This responsibility has been assigned exclusively to Doyle’s Air Force One Detailing Team until 2020.
The event is managed by the newly formed board of directors for Doyle’s Detail Mafia.
The crew only has six days to clean, polish, and apply protective coatings to all 17 aircraft, but Macha said he is up for the challenge.
“There are plenty of great detailers out there,” he said. “So to get selected to be part of Air Force One’s (detailing team) has been crazy for me.”
To Macha, these planes are more than just aircraft, they are artifacts.
“I’m really interested in history,” he said. “That’s another reason I’m pretty shook up about working on (these planes) … They’re history for the United States.”
Macha’s own history is a humble one. He is the oldest of 11 children, born and raised in Hartford, Connecticut.
“Back when I grew up, there was a lot of struggle,” he said. At 10 years old, Macha would delivery newspapers in the morning, spend his days in school, and his afternoons helping out his father, a mechanic. His grandfather and uncle were mechanics, too.
“Cars have been in my family forever,” he said. It’s no wonder Macha pursued a career in the auto industry. However, it wasn’t until his wife’s grandmother paid him his first $200 to clean her Lincoln Navigator that he found his niche in detailing.
“For me, (detailing) isn’t work, it’s fun,” Macha said. “It’s a lifestyle.”
Macha began his business working remotely and servicing cars at his customer’s homes. Now, he can be found any given afternoon blasting music while detailing in his garage at 720 Route 1, alongside his “right-hand man” Tim Beaulieu, his nephew, Nathaniel Dobson, and his two dogs, Tom and Angel.
Macha and his team detail three to four cars a day, spending upwards of eight hours on each one. Eventually, he said, he would like to be the “McDonald’s of detailing,” with a shop in every state.
He also said he would not be where he is in the industry today without the help and support of his community.
“Yarmouth has been one of the greatest communities to do business in, as far as the people go,” Macha said. “The community here is very tight.”
His trip to Seattle is sponsored in part by GlassParency, Pat’s Pizza, and the owner of the Ace Hardware in Yarmouth.
“(My sponsors) believe in me … they believe in what I do,” Macha said. “This has been a great year for Total Eclipse.”
Scott Macha listens to Malt Shop music in his shop at 720 Route 1 as he works on detailing a client’s car. On July 18, the owner of Total Eclipse Auto Detailing and Design was selected from hundreds of elite detailers nationwide for a coveted position on the Air Force One Detailing Team at Seattle’s Museum of Flight.
Sixty of the nation’s elite detailers have been selected by Renny Doyle of Detailing Success to clean, polish, and restore the original presidential jet Air Force One and 16 additional multimillion-dollar aircraft at Seattle’s Museum of Flight. The six-day project began on July 24 and will end the 30th.