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Frank Cutajar: An Artist’s Work

"When you see that light bulb go off and they get it, that’s where the reward is."


Frank has always had a passion for cars. When he was young, his dad would take him to car shows, and he loved going to drag races. In high school, Frank painted cars and fell in love with the process. Little did he know this passion, which formed at a young age, would spark the rest of his career.

At the age of 18, Frank started working in a custom shop. Initially, he didn’t care about welding or body work—he just wanted to paint. According to Frank, nothing beats the look of a car once you paint it and buff it out. The process of taking something from its current condition and turning it into something gorgeous is what he lives for. “I love when the customer picks up the car and they are in awe of how it looks,” he says.

Frank’s passion led him to work in a variety of different shops throughout his career. His goal was always to do custom work; flames, airbrushing and pin striping were his true love. Eventually, he opted to go the small shop route, doing side work in hopes of one day opening a shop of his own.  

As time went on, Frank got more into body work, collision and welding. He takes pride in being able to do it all. His expertise and passion for the industry eventually led him to become a collision repair instructor at UTI, where he has shared his knowledge with students for 12 years now.

When it comes to teaching, Frank hopes that he can inspire his students to love what they do--just like he does. He encourages all of his students to take pride in their work, paying attention to detail and giving each project their very best. “Every car they do has their name on it,” he says. “If you think of it that way, you should do a phenomenal paint job.”

Frank’s favorite part of teaching is seeing students understand the concepts he’s taught them and get excited to apply their newfound knowledge. “When you see that light bulb go off and they get it, that’s where the reward is,” he says.

Frank has worked on countless cars throughout the years, each project unique in its own way. He shares that he doesn’t necessarily have a ‘favorite’ project he has worked on--it’s all based on mood. For him, it’s all about the customer. “If it looks good and the customer is happy with it, then it’s my favorite car,” he says. Frank takes pride in creating things he knows the end user will love.

When Frank isn’t busy teaching and mentoring his students, you can find him working on cars of his own. He refers to his ’63 Coupe DeVille as his dream car—he bought it for $5500 in Rancho Cucamonga and stripped it down to metal, did all of the body work and turned it into what it is today. All that’s left to do now is to paint the car, and he already has a vision for how it will turn out. He wants it to have a true classic look, but with a modern twist.

For those who love the finer details and have an interest in the auto industry, collision repair might be the perfect fit. According to Frank, “If you have a passion for cars and you have a passion for making things look gorgeous and beautiful, this is perfect for you.” 

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