I grew up in an automobile-centric family, in a suburb outside the Buick city. I picked up the "bug" from my dad who built his own street rods, and is a life-long model car builder. I built voraciously(NEVER box-stock, or stock at all for that matter) from about age 12 to 17. I quit building when I started messing with real cars. Of course the real reason I quit building happened when I entered a pro street 69 roadrunner in a contest at a world of wheels car show in 1989. I was really into pro-street, and the car had all of the coolest stuff going on in the1:1 world at the time. Drag stars? check. Monochrome turquoise paint? check. Tube chassis? check. Simulated tweed interior? check. It was all detailed up(I still have it, and it's pretty nice considering it's-and my-age at the time of building. The paint was nicer than what a lot of adult modelers are capable of-and that's not bragging, real car painters were amazed that a 14 year old kid polished out a rattle can paint job that smooth and deep. But I digress...
When the judging sheet came through, my car didn't place. I saw the comments by the "experts", It was unrealistic because it was "too low". The engine was too "clean". A lenco trans couldn't be used on the street. We were at a custom car show where you could see real cars like this for cryin' out loud!! These comments weren't what sent me over the edge however...
The last comment on the card was to the effect that "my dad built it for me". I was disgusted, and even my dad was a little furious, after all I had gleaned a lot of these skills from him. I didn't enter another model car contest for over 20 years, but I would still go and check the models out. It's an art form I've always loved.
I sort of channeled that anger though, and used it to good effect. I ended up sticking with1:1 custom auto painting and building, and it's what I have done for the last 18 years as a profession. My work has been featured in Hot Rod, Truckin (on the cover twice), Easyrider, and the now defunct Sport Truck magazine. A 1998 Ford Ranger I helped design, as well as fabricate and paint was one of Truckin' magazines all time best custom trucks. I have helped design, as well as handled body fab and paintwork on vehicles that have garnered Ford's coveted "design excellence award" at the SEMA show in Las Vegas. I have also built and restored countless hot rods and street machines(as well as several motorcycles) over the years. Some might say it's a dream job, but at the end of the day it is a job.
I got back into building model cars when my son was old enough to start getting into them. While I am not averse to technology, I do want him to have hands-on skills. Of course, model building also teaches a number of other concepts, both practical(following instructions, work throughput) and abstract(the instructions say to put it together this way, but I think it may look better this way) and this is what I want my son to take from it. It's also cool to actually hold something in your hand, or have others see what your work-that came from your mind/hands actually bares. And he just plain loves cars, and this is how I got started. Modeling teaches self reliance.
I don't build a lot, but I do like to sketch out an idea and then make it 3-d;real 3-d, not just on a computer screen. These days I am earning a batchelor's in business marketing(I am going to start an automotive centered marketing company) and still restoring and building hot rods and customs. Current works in progress in 1:1 include a 1969 Mach 1 rottisserie resto, that is what we call an idealized restoration(Fomoco never built them this nice), a 1936 Chevy 2 door sedan that has been converted into a phaeton type roadster, and a 1955 Chevy Bel-Air convertible, that is again an idealized restoration. I also have a 1969 Triumph Tiger motorbike, that is getting a modernized take on the classic "cafe racer" iteration.
Sorry to get so long winded, but I like to relay where I'm coming from. I build to release tension, mainly from an idea I've got clogging up the old melon. I also like to get my son, and a few other kids involved. When they see one of my 1:1 builds, gleaming in the sun, blowing peoples' minds, cruising down the road snapping the necks of on-lookers, their minds start pumping. "How can I have this?"
Ya gotta start by turning off the X-Box and opening the cardboard box....
39 years old
July 20, 1975
al rogers jr
Are You Human?
Scale I Build