Tag Archives: Randy


I am back from several weeks of traveling and glad to be home. The first few days of being here almost seemed like another hotel, but I’m settling back in. I had been on the road or away from here in the hospital with Dad, except for the week after Dad’s passing, since the third week of January. I returned here on March 27. That much time away from the home and business was a first. Plus, showing 3 cars at once was truly too much. I think two is plenty and will be my max from now on. Thank God for my crew of PAINTHOUSE guys (Bruce, Mike, Tim, Ramon and Craig) and, most importantly, my amazing wife…

We went first to Salt Lake City, then on to Boise, Idaho for their respective ISCA Autorama events (with a detour into Park City, UT, home of the 2002 Winter Olympics, beautiful little town). In case your mind is wandering, NO, the bald guy in some of the pics is NOT my gay lover that I found at a truck stop along the way, just Steve, one of our employees that drove one of the rigs for us; the beautiful lady with the silver hair is Penny, the owner of Blue Belle, the ’55 Tbird. We then followed that with a week in Sun Valley, Idaho at our customer’s home (’55 Tbird owners, the Weiss’s) for the kid’s Spring Break (Jenn and the kids flew up for that week).

Amid that week, one of the cars had previously become damaged in Salt Lake, so I had to beg/borrow/steal a shop in Sun Valley and repair it before I moved on to Omaha, NE for the ISCA Finals after our ‘vacation’. I would go in to the shop and work from about 4 in the morning until 8 or so, then get back to the house we were at before the kids awakened, so they would not know I was mixing our pleasure with some business. They wanted ONE vacation that did not revolve around cars. Somehow  I pulled it off (I think…) and was able to get the front right fender repaired/refinished/polished and ready to go to Omaha by the following Saturday without them being any the wiser. I hope they don’t read this…wait, they’re teenagers, they don’t read. No worries! We had a great time and the Weiss’ home and hospitality was amazing. I am sure you have seen some very nice places, but this house was the most amazing place I’ve ever seen, let alone stayed in. The Big Wood River is running literally 50 yards behind the home and teaming with Rainbow Trout. I plan to fish it on my next trip. We did snow board (after lessons!) and I actually made it down the mountain without falling, once, so I quit while I was ahead! The whole Sun Valley area has become my new favorite place. I will come back, and, just possibly, on a one-way ride…

After the family left for H-town, I then went on to Omaha, NE for the 2012 ISCA finals. We had qualified in Boise with two of the three cars for that exclusive event and decided to go, since I was already on the road. It added about 8 days to the trip for me, but was time well spent. We have had other cars qualify, but had never taken them to the event. This time we took two: the blue ’55 Thunderbird and the blue ’67 GTO. Here is another album from the Omaha show. We ended up with both cars taking 5th out of 9 cars. They give 1st – 4th, then every other car that is in the category (Custom) takes “5th”. No other category (Restored, Rod, Truck or Motorcycle) had 9 entries, some only had one. It was truly an honor to be there, and with two cars that really weren’t show cars, at least from the undercarriage standpoint. Ours are very nice underneath, but not to the quality of a TRUE show car. Our cars are ultimately going to be driven, as they should, so underneath is not usually totally smooth, polished and chrome. It is very nice and sanitary, but still useable. Someday we’ll get the first place award, but the fun is in the build for me, and the response from the fans.

My favorite award to win is People’s Choice, and not many shows have that one for some reason. When they do, we love getting it. It means more to me than any plaque or trophy does. To me, it says that if someone could take any of the cars home with them, they’d take one we built. That is the ultimate compliment to me. Even the judges have told us that out of all the mega-dollar cars at the show, they’d want one of ours in their driveway. I’ll take that any day…

While I was in Sun Valley, Dana Irvin, the ’65 Mustang (Night Mare) owner, her husband Noel (the ’67 GTO Blue Bayou’s owner) and Steve (not my lover), took  the car to Portland, OR (another unexpected twist of events) to attempt to get one more point and qualify for the finals as well. We really wanted to take 3 cars to the finals, but, alas, the Mustang was destined not to go. It was a valiant effort, and the fact that the car got off to a late start this season (two shows behind) was the only reason it didn’t make it to the “big show”. Dana is itching to drive it so getting it home was not a bad thing after all.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch…we are continuing our existing projects (’72 leMans Convertible, ’63 Corvette Roadster, ’47 Hudson Truck, ’72 Ferrari, ’32 Ford Sedan, ’32 Ford Roadster, a ’65 Porsche Speedster and two custom Harleys) as we approach some local shows that will be a welcome relief from all the travel. They shows are: Concourse d’Elegance of Texas, The Houston Construction Show and Classy Chassis. We are off again in July to the big Goodguys Nationals in Columbus, OH and possibly some more TV exposure in Nashville (not sure on that one, we shall see).

That’s about all for now. Until next time…



A girl and her car…

55 Tbird_Penny shots-4.JPG

The smile says it all.

The 2010 Houston Autorama has come and gone. We made a mad dash for the finish line on several fronts, and were successful on all accounts. The debut of Penny Weiss’ 1955 Thunderbird “Blue Belle” was our primary focus, but the first ever PAINTHOUSE booth was a close second on our priority list. I will follow up with a post about our “experimental extravaganza” soon.

It was a mad dash to the finish for Blue Belle, but we made it, and without having to work all-nighters (it was close a couple times, though!). The stretched hood scoop, custom wire wheels, Ron Mangus leather interior and last minute assembly all came together to create a car that stunned a lot of people.

You just don’t see many Thunderbirds that are customized tastefully (I hope that is the impression everyone took away from the car). Usually, Thunderbirds need to stay purely original; otherwise, more often than not, when customized they get taken too far and end up ruining what is “right” about the car. Our intent was to hang on to everything good about the original classic design, but add small, elegant upgrades that subtly improved the car. Ultimately, you will have to let us know if we succeeded.

We were humbled to be positioned at the front entrance door directly opposite the current Riddler award winning car, Gold Digger. I also heard rumors that the show promoters did their news interviews in front of Penny’s Thunderbird as well. By the way, what a great show put on by the new promotors. Kudos to Steve Green, Jason Henderson and the rest of their crew. As rookies, I’d say you knocked it out of the park. What are y’all gonna do to top it next year? No pressure, just sayin’.

As far as awards go, Blue Belle exceeded all of our expectations. We did not make the elusive Magnificent Seven, which is the preliminary selection for the time-honored Millwinder award, but she did win First in her class (mild sports), Outstanding Paint award, Outstanding Display award, Outstanding Detail award and Outstanding Sports car. Quite a first outing, way to go Penny!

2011 Grand National Roadster Show, here we come….

Until next time,


You just don’t see many Thunderbirds that are customized tastefully (I hope that is the impression everyone took away from the car). Usually, Thunderbirds need to stay purely original; otherwise, more often than not, when customized they get taken too far and end up ruining what is “right” about the car. Our intent was to hang on to everything good about the original classic design, but add small, elegant upgrades that subtly improved the car. Ultimately, you will have to let us know if we succeeded.


My son threw me a curve ball this year. He requested to take boxing lessons.

I have no problem with that, it’s just that I never really considered it as an option. In Texas, you certainly think football, baseball, basketball, even soccer or martial arts; but boxing was not a sport I thought he would like to try.

He has taken lessons two times now, and seems to be enjoying it. I am glad to see him work hard at this. He is our youngest of 3, and the least “athletic”, at least until now. I love watching my kids play their sports, so I was worried that I wouldn’t get to continue that self-serving past time with kid #3.

I asked around and found an ex-heavyweight professional fighter that is coaching at local gym, and we so far really dig him. He is very “northeastern” and is from Philly, the same city “you know who” is from (at least in the movie). I would not want to be on the wrong side of this gentleman.

Maybe boxing will stick. Rocky is one of my all-time favorite movies, so at the risk of sounding cheesey, I love the fact that my son has taken up such a fascinating sport. Of late, boxing has taken a back seat to its own controversy in addition to the MMA phenomenon. At least for now, we have gotten him away from a TV or computer and into something not only physically, but mentally challenging.

Time will tell….until next time,


Extra, Extra…read all about it!

This is just a quick update on the results of $umday’s showing at the Dallas Autorama, 2010. Ultimately, the Keffelers went home with seven awards. Being that this may be $umday’s farewell indoor show, what a fitting tribute to such a classy, versatile and universally appealing hot rod. We may have one more showing to do, though, as the car qualified to participate in the ISCA Championship, to be held later this year at an as-of-yet undisclosed location (top secret, I guess), possibly Detroit.






KID’S PICK OF THE SHOW (my favorite!)

CASI CUP –a unique award given out by the promoter(s) of the show to represent the most enjoyed car of the show. Sort of an unofficial ‘Best of Show’. That is how I understand it anyway.

Way to go, Keffelers! Job well done.