If someone with absolutely no exposure to the automotive industry was to sit down and study all types of automotive genres, not just the cars themselves but the people who build them, their history and culture, it would quickly become apparent that the American Hot Rod boasts arguably the richest, most wholesome compilation of those assets in the industry. It follows that the select few who have risen above the formidable crowd to become cornerstones in this culture are fascinating individuals. They are gifted with talent, skill, and a keen eye for design, style, and class that are extraordinary even in a room full of talent. Barry Lobeck embodies this explanation. For over four decades, he produced some of the most tasteful, timeless Hot Rods the industry has seen. He was always relevant while never wavering from his convictions rooted in tradition. He was immune to the trends, making his work as popular today as it was the day it rolled out of his shop. His work commands respect, his cars precipitate a cultlike following, and with the help and support of his wife Ginny, the couple humbly built a dynasty. This was his last car, the last chapter in an unbelievable story and we could not be more honored to tell you about it.
After Mr. Lobeck's passing in 2011, the car changed hands several times before Bruce Harrison of Austin, Texas purchased it. In pieces. Bruce has been a longtime automotive enthusiast and customer of Richard’s, but this would be the most unique project yet. Bruce called up the shop and asked if we would be interested in completing the project. The timing couldn’t be worse.
After 32 years in business, Richard had decided to sell Custom Car Crafters, the culmination of a lifetime of hard work. Starting with only a 1982 WyoTech education, Richard built Custom Car Crafters into what was now one of the largest independent automotive refinishing shops in the southwestern United States while also having a reputation for being able to handle any custom car an owner could dream up.
But that was all gone now, Richard was looking down the barrel of an astronomical move, while giving up everything he knew in his professional life, and while all this was going on, he had also committed to completing the USMEA SEMA build on an outrageous deadline. Without hesitation he said "Yes" to Bruce’s request, and the Last Lobeck became the first project for the new Richard Wood Kustoms.
The car was delivered in mostly boxes and parts wrapped in moving blankets. It had been painted but was completely blown apart. Most people in the industry will find themselves in this situation at one point or another, and it is really an unsettling feeling. The unknown becomes very taxing, you don’t know what you have or what you’re missing. You’re left to interpret the previous thoughts, ideas, direction and vision by your own investigation and curiosity, then must apply your experience, talent and ingenuity to take the given foundation and see it through to completion. Compounding this challenge was the Lobeck name, which really took this project to the next level of complexity. Richard was adamant from the get go that this car must be a rolling tribute to one of the greatest the industry has ever seen. Nailing the Lobeck look while honoring the Lobeck name was critical.
But Richard wasn’t quite done with his vision for this car. Throughout his career, he has an extensive track record of supporting education, namely his alma mater, WyoTech. He employs a work force made up of mostly WyoTech grads, not due to any prejudice but rather the education they receive reciprocates a superior foundation for success. He wanted to showcase what a WyoTech education can help someone achieve, so this car was to be finished by an all WyoTech alumni roster. It is our hope this sends a strong message to prospective students that with the right education, hard work and perseverance, there is a bright, rewarding future in the Hot Rod industry and the opportunity to experience the materialization of one's ultimate aspirations is very much a possibility.
- All steel Brookville body
- 383 CI stroker engine
- Dual Edelbrock carburetors
- Vintage Air
- Magnaflow exhaust
- 700R4 automatic transmission
- Pete and Jake's chassis
- 9-inch rear end
- Limited slip differential
- Transverse leaf springs
- 4-inch drop axle
- Wilwood front disc brakes
- Rear drum brakes
- Custom one-off interior by Seams Ridiculous Upholstery
- Wiseguys seat frame
- Coast to Coast King Ranch Natural Brown leather
- Brown German square-weave carpeting
- Alpine stereo deck with Bluetooth connectivity
- Pioneer 6.5-inch speaker, tweeter and crossover
- JL Audio 13.5-inch subwoofer
- 900-watt amplifier
- 15-inch front and 16-inch rear Wheelsmith wheels with Diamondback tires
Coming off the success of the USMEA Mustang SEMA build for WyoTech, Tommy Perkins, a WyoTech alum and owner of Seams Ridiculous Upholstery flew down yet again to Austin to stitch up the interior in Coast-to-Coast’s King Ranch Natural Brown leather. Brown German square-weave carpeting with brown trim completes the floor. A hidden Vintage Air system complements a behind the scenes modern sound system all allowing the occupants today's luxury while not detracting from traditional roots.
With a project theme as solidified as this one was when it arrived, the wheel and tire combination became a rare area left up to our discretion. We spent a lot of time talking with different manufacturers to find the right setup. In the end, the The Wheel Smith won out, and their company was so enthusiastic about the project, they gave us a very generous discount. The tires were sourced from Diamondback, and in the end everything fit like a glove into the demanding confines of the car while staying true to the Lobeck look. To finish it off, Richard blasted Mr. Lobeck’s logo into The Wheel Smith’s baby moons to complete the package.
With the history and showcasing the value of a WyoTech education, the consensus on the premiere venue was SEMA. Mecum Auto Auctions graciously offered to host the 32 outside of their massive Mecum Mobile Experience luxury semi-truck. The car was shined to perfection using 303 polish and wax products in preparation for the big day. The car was debuted on the 1st day of the show and we are very proud of its performance.
Like the Car? It could be yours! After not reaching the reserve in Pomona, Mecum will be offering it at upcoming auctions.
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