Joe’s dad spent his early years in the 70’s doing the typical hot rod hooligan stuff, and went on to make his career running Norfolk, Nebraska's maintenance shop. He fixed and fabricated on everything from fire trucks to front-end loaders. Joe grew up on his dad’s stories, and when Joe was old enough to start working on cars, his dad’s lifetime of experience as a mechanic and a fabricator proved more than valuable.
Of course, once Joe got through college, his dad finally built something for himself. He brought his years of fabrication and mechanical experience to bear restomodding a 1955 Chevy 3100 pickup truck, which was featured in Classic Trucks magazine. Joe’s first car was an ’86 Buick Regal handed down from his mother. The 307 engine didn’t win many drag races, but it looked the part. Joe lowered it, painted all the trim, and ran Camaro wheels with big and little tires. It looked way faster than it was, but Joe claims that was good for staying out of trouble. He still has it.
His introduction to more advanced projects was a ’69 C10 truck. Joe and his dad shortened, shaved, and filled until everything matched Joe’s vision. He learned how to weld, paint, and persevere in the face of late nights and difficult problems. Over the last 15 years, his C10 went wherever Joe decided to go. It’s been to Bonneville twice and served off and on as a daily driver. Joe’s C10 sits in his garage as a monument to lessons learned and life well lived.
After Joe finished his truck, he set out to build something more ambitious. Joe recovered what was left of a Model A Tudor sedan abandoned in a field and embarked on the slow, glorious, and often humbling process of building a true, period-correct 1950’s-style hot rod. Joe discovered that his ambition overshot his actual skill.
Through the model A project, Joe figured out he wanted to build cars and didn’t have the skills to make it happen. He enrolled in the McPherson College Automotive Restoration program. McPherson College created opportunity and put him to work next to some of the most talented people in the industry. When Wayne Carini and Chasing Classic Cars came to town, Joe was in the episode. He also had his work featured in a sheet metal shaping manual and received the Jay Leno scholarship.
After graduation, Joe’s journey took him to Tulsa, OK, where he worked at Hot Rod Garage. Joe’s time as professional fabricator and builder was like a Master’s degree in building cars. He worked hard and learned a lot, but he and his family missed Nebraska.
Joe’s history at Speedway Motors started with a short stint in our call center before moving to Kansas for school. After working in Tulsa, Joe returned to Speedway Motors as a fabricator in the Engineering/R&D department. Shortly after Joe’s return, the G-Comp Suspension line began to pick up momentum and we started started building all-out Pro-Touring race cars, including a 1965 Chevy II Nova, a 1967 Camaro and a 1970 Camaro.
Joe is now the technical writer on the Speedway Motors marketing team and manages our projects and car builds. Joe’s builds included our Week to Wicked Chevy II Nova Gasser, the ’32 Roadster we drove to the Street Rod Nationals, our 410 Sprint Car project, and our 1972 Chevelle project. He also loves teaching. If he could, he'd teach everybody in the office how to weld.
We might just take him up on the offer.