The Great 8, great friends, a great time and more…

color by PAINTHOUSE, picture by NotStockPhotography, stitchless dead cows by Compton Interiors & Badassery by GAP Racing

What a fantastic trip we’ve had. It’s been years since my rookie trip to Detroit with my good friend Mac Bernd and his ’32 Ford Roadster “Red Hot Meltdown”. We attempted to earn a spot in the Great 8 and were not successful despite a death-defying 4-month build. This trip, however has had a much different outcome. 

Mac & Shelly Bernd’s “Red Hot Meltdown” – our first Great 8 attempt

The trek north included Tim Palazzolo of GAP Racing, Jimmy Compton of Compton Interiors and Richard Weiss, owner of “Blue Belle“, our ’55 Tbird project.

“Stampede”, the 1969 Mustang built by Tim and upholstered by Compton has hit the mark and earned a spot in the Great 8! We were fortunate enough to mix the colors, “Super Blue” and “Greyt 8”, refine some areas of the car and (my favorite part), wetsand & polish the entire body of this sexy blue horse.

The moment we arrived, Stampede caused quite buzz in the arena. The stitch-less interior created by the guys at Compton Interiors was quite a coup and raised many an eyebrow. 

“Look ma! No stitches!”

The horse proved stubborn as we attempted to get her engine started for the Spot Check required in order to enter the Ridler competition. Each entry must prove that the car actually functions by starting, moving forward, moving backward, steering right, steering left and stopping. A local news station happened to capture the moment Tim finally convinced his pony to wake up and come out of the ‘stall’. 

There are a whole lot of horses in this pony…

Click HERE to see the 572″ Kaase Ford Boss engine do its thing…and more. 

Tim Palozzolo gets his just reward – a Great 8 selection

After all the setting up of displays, cleaning of everything, polishing of paint and chasing of dust was over and the show had begun, we could finally sit back and try to relax. It was then, just as the show opened on Friday morning, that Stampede was awarded a membership in a very exclusive club – The Great 8. 

Out of these 8 amazing vehicles, the winner of the most coveted award in custom car building, The Ridler Award, will be chosen. 

And the 2015 Ridler Award winner is…..the ’65 Impala built by Foose Design. What a spectacular automobile to which my pictures cannot do justice.

Chip was creative enough to include an unmolested original version of the same car to use as a study in comparison, showing all the subtle, yet significant mods that were made to the car. The car is, in my humble opinion, nothing short of amazing 

I cannot express the pride that was felt when the Mustang was chosen in to The Eight. It is a landmark in the careers of PAINTHOUSE, GAP Racing and Compton Interiors.  We at PAINTHOUSE are honored and humbled to have been asked to be a part of this amazing project and cannot wait to see where this little  pony ride takes all of us.  

Now, it’s time to ‘giddy up’ and put all this stuff back in the trailers. Chicago, here we come…

Until next time,




Lines, lines…everywhere is lines.

We made it. Somehow we also skirted some serious rain, ice & snow as we traversed our way North to Detroit. Now the “hurry up” is over and we wait – in line.

A nice diversion was the Fort Street Presbyterian Church, built in 1855.  The photos do not do it justice. Despite our valiant efforts, we could not get inside; I would have loved to see the sanctuary. There’s still time, “have faith”, as someone once said.

A second interesting find was Tommy’s Bar & Grille. We were led there by our empty stomachs and found it directly behind the amazing church. Once inside, in the back room, we found a display chronicalling it as a former speakeasy during the Prohibition Era of the 19-teens and twenties. Fascinating place and I think some of the original customers were still at the bar

That’s all for now. I’m going back to my line so I can wait to “hurry up” and set up the two cars we brought and one car that Tim of GAP Racing has brought up to the home of American Iron. It’s a homecoming of sorts for these hot rods, I guess.

As I write, I’ve finally been allowed to move in to the Promised Land…hurry it up!

Until next time,


A Louisville recap, Detroit, Chicago, Blue Belle, a Ridler Candidate and more…

Hey there Kids! We find ourselves back in a truck headed ‘North to (what feels like) Alaska’. Not in my truck, though. After our last episode in Louisville, I drove our rig (with the Hudson) up to a friend’s shop in the suburbs of Detroit to leave for a week whilst I flew home to be a dad, husband, boss and an employee.

The Hudson and its Louisville "booty"...
The Hudson and its Louisville “booty”…

In case you were wondering, we did well in Louisville and earned our remaining needed points to have a position in the ISCA Finals this year, located in a city we’ve never shown in, Chicago. Other than the distinct possibility of getting shot, I am looking forward to seeing what I understand is one of our Great Skating Rinks (also a lake?) and seeing how the Hudson places in the Superbowl of our industry.

Our tickets to the E-ride in D-town...
Our tickets to the E-ride in D-town…
Blue Belle's awards-Shreveport 2012
There aren’t many things prettier than Blue Belle, however Penny, her owner, sure gives her a run for her money…

Now we are back on the road, this time hauling our old friend “Blue Belle” and convoying with a new friend, Tim Palazzolo of GAP Racing and his as yet unseen “Stampede” project (a Ridler Award hopeful) to Detroit, then Chicago the following week. Blue Belle is a veteran to traveling to and competing in these shows, however Tim Palazzolo and his “Stampede” are rookies and taking a swing at not only a hit, but a Grand Slam, their first time at bat.  Also, wait until you see the dead Italian cows that were “unstitched” inside this little horsey by the crew at Compton Custom Interiors, another rookie coming to The Big Show.

JF Launier and his 2014 Ridler Award-winning Riviera
JF Launier and his 2014 Ridler Award-winning Riviera – there are no boundaries when it comes to automotive creativity at this level of competition.  
"Gold Digger" - the 2010 Ridler Award winner.
“Gold Digger” – the 2010 Ridler Award winner.
Yes, girls can play, too. Tammy Ray won the Ridler Award in 2010.
Yes, girls can play, too. Tammy Ray won the Ridler Award in 2010 with the “Gold Digger”. Ya gotta love the creativity in names as well…

In case you don’t know what the Riddler Award is, look it up. In a nutshell, it is the custom automobile world’s Olympic Gold Medal, and there is only one awarded – with no Silver or Bronze. All or nothing. Bold aspirations for a Houston-born, bad-ass “I can’t tell you yet”. Although we did not bodywork or paint this one, we were honored to have created the custom colors for it, wetsand and polish the entire clearcoat and tighten up a few loose ends. I’d love to show you images of the car and what we did, however the Ridler Award requires that the first showing be in Detroit and it be a true debut – not seen in public before, anywhere. So, think of a very fast horse and a color that is usually identified as sad -which this horsey is definitely not! Good luck to Tim and his crew at GAP Racing, although we doubt he’ll need it. Well, kids, its time to hit the Cracker Barrel, load up on eggs, bacon and coffee and head “norther”. I’ll do my best to keep the blog updated as we take this journey to some unexplored territory.

Until next time,