Where to start?
McCune and I had a bit of a spat many years ago here on Pinside. I think we were both surprised by it because we had a lot of respect for each other. He sent me a PM and said "Call me!" with his cell number. I called him, we yelled at each other for a few minutes, worked it out, then proceeded to have a great conversation about pinball that lasted about an hour.
Since then, we have become great friends. I continue to stay in touch with Jim on a regular basis. I may or may not stay in the hobby of Pinball, but regardless of whether I do (or Jim does for that matter) I have every intention of staying in touch with him as I consider him a great friend who I would never want to lose contact with, despite the fact that he lives in another state.
We have met up in Vegas a few times. He (and his family) has been to my house a few times, and my family spent time at his house in Utah. My girls felt right at home and had a blast playing his games and talking to Jim and his wife. I got to see his super cool shop in person, as well as a super sweet Scared Stiff that he was restoring (this video is of the same SS that I saw after it was mostly done):
I can tell you that of all the memories that I have from this crazy hobby, the best memories, the most fun, the most anticipation, and the most that I have ever learned have been as the result of him doing his amazing restorations of my AFM and MB. The quality is simply top notch in every way. The transformations, especially of AFM which was a total piece of crap, were truly amazing. And being able to see pictures and talk to Jim whenever I wanted to during the whole process was just invaluable, and made it easily worth every single cent that I paid. To this day I think he earned less than minimum wage on these restorations given the amount of work and attention to detail that he put into these things!
Many people didn't/don't realize that this was just a hobby for Jim. I would even receive PM's from people asking me why McCune didn't respond to them about a restoration that they wanted him to do and how could he possibly stay in business when he turns customers away or pisses them off like that?! lol
So as a hobby, it was always about the fun and satisfaction that Jim would get from doing these amazing restorations. Well, it has become less fun for him, so it makes sense that he would be taking a break from it. I certainly understand how he feels. As mentioned, he is now in the process of doing a car restoration, and I fully expect that to be as amazing as his pin restorations were.
His restorations still amaze me as much today as when he did my first restoration more than 3 years ago. Thanks Jim!