"Jaguars of this type just turned 50 years old last year, and because of that everything involved in restoring them, such as parts, has gone up," he added. "But on the positive side, the E-types will hold their value. You can spend $120,00 restoring one of these and you can probably get that out of it. But if you spend $80,000 restoring an MG-B you won't ever get your money back."
During his 25 years of ocean engineering, technology development, ocean chemistry work and instrumentation development for the federal government, Tokar never stopped tinkering with cars.
As he neared retirement, he was itching to jump back into restoration full-time.
In 1994 he incorporated Vintage Restorations and opened a small, three-bay auto shop in Ijamsville, in Frederick County. In 1998, he retired from NOAH, turned his business into a full-time enterprise and moved to a larger shop in Mount Airy.
About five years ago he bought and completely renovated a former filling station/auto dealership/woodworking shop at 52 N. Main St., Union Bridge, that now serves as his headquarters.
"We spent about a year getting rid of about 40 years of sawdust," he said.
His current facility is 10 times the size of that first shop in Ijamsville.
Vintage Restorations Limited now draws customers from all over the country. Tokar advertises his services via the Internet and in vintage automobile club journals and magazines.
"We also get a lot of repeat customers and customer referrals," he said.
"The beauty of the Baltimore-Washington, D.C.-northern Virginia region is that there's a high concentration of British car owners," he said. "There's a British car club for almost every British car that was ever made, and we draw from that crowd."
As a member of the Chesapeake chapter of the New England MG "T" Register, Tokar has also for years sponsored an annual Original British Car Day, held in the early summer at Lilypons Water Gardens, in Frederick County.
Tokar's tinkering is not just confined to vintage cars. He's also a long-time volunteer in the mechanics shop at Baltimore's B&O Railroad Museum. His office walls display photos of some of the museum's world-famous antique steam locomotives that he has helped restore and repair.
He's also building a pair of miniature steam locomotives. He's working from the original specs for a Prairie-style locomotive built at the Baldwin Locomotive Works, which operated in Philadelphia from the early 1800s to the mid-20th century.
Eventually, he wants to run his little steam trains and offer rides to the public on the 3,200 feet of track at Leakin Park, in Baltimore, where members of the Chesapeake & Allegheny Steam Preservation Society regularly operate similar miniature steam locomotives.
"It's just one of those crazy hobbies you're involved in that nobody knows about," he said.
Which means, one day, it might be his next business.