Dan Short is the same person to everyone – he’s not shy about speaking his mind when the topic is cars.
Short first realized that cars had a special place in his heart when he was just five years old. He saw a brand new 1967 Camaro and thought it was the most beautiful thing on the planet. It took thirteen years before he finally saved enough to buy a used 1967 Camaro as his first car. No surprise that it was as unreliable as it was affordable. Dan couldn’t afford to pay a garage, so he did all the work himself and restored it on a shoestring budget in the early 1980s. To this day, Camaros are Short’s favorite cars with his original first car waiting in storage for him to complete a final full restoration.
Short’s passion for automobiles continued through his military career which started in 1980 when he enlisted with the U.S. Army at the age of 17. Two years later Dan was serving in Special Forces, HALO, Strategic Recon and SCUBA teams on missions that took him around the world. In 1987 he received an Active Duty Scholarship and attended officer training. Three years later in 1990 he hung up his Staff Sergeant Stripes and pinned on a butter bar as a second Lieutenant. Short went to flight school and entered the Army test pilot program. The job required extensive training and it provided plenty of opportunity for Dan to expand his understanding of complex vehicle systems, engines, design and body work. Ultimately, he flew missions around the world and served in Kuwait and Afghanistan.
When Short retired honorably in 2005 as a Major he decided to settle in Norfolk, Va. Investing his retirement and mortgaging everything he owned, he created FantomWorks in a burned out garage. He dreamed of building a car restoration company that could maintain a standard of excellence across all of the classic cars that he loves. Short also wanted a company that could support Wounded Wheels – a non-profit organization that puts disabled veterans into the cars of their dreams. Gradually, he expanded the company and built a reputation as a straight shooter who puts quality first.
Through hard work, perseverance and a lot of cool cars, FantomWorks has become the largest car restoration shop in North America. At any given time, up to 70 cars are being worked on and every single one of them has a story.