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The Hot Rod Builders Workshop

A new generation of Cool Car Craftsmen

Many of you know of ACME Chop Shop here in Grand Junction. They restore and rebuild classic cars and trucks. But, did you know that they also help build young adults from all over the country and help them start their automotive careers? Jack Weaver, the owner and founder of ACME Chop Shop, needed help with his restoration projects, but finding people who could do the tasks required for classic restoration was very difficult, so three years ago he was able to solve this problem by starting a non-profit, Kustom Built Cars. 

Kustom Built Cars is an educational workshop that totally immerses students in the many tasks, skills, and logistics of finding and restoring an old classic car. The students are fully immersed in the project. The first day of class starts with picking up the project vehicle from wherever it is. The current project, a 1951 Chevrolet pickup, was in a field in Rifle, Colorado. Jack and the 5 enrolled students loaded the truck onto Jack's trailer and brought it back to the shop to get started. 

Right now, they are on the teardown stage. The students have taken the truck completely apart and are now removing the paint, and rust, to get down to the bare metal. After they complete the stripping stage, they will install a new chassis. "Our first year we didn't use a new chassis and it was a lot of work. Getting these cars ready for SEMA is a tight schedule and buying a new chassis makes a lot of sense from a time and safety perspective" Jack said. 

SEMA, for those of you that don't know, is the biggest automotive trade show in the United States. Jack's curriculum revolves around getting these cars ready for this show so the students can experience the public reactions to their work. The vehicle needs to be 100% ready for this show because shortly after the show, the car is off to the Barrett Jackson auto auction. Jack auctions off the previous project to pay for the next year's project. The sale also helps provide scholarship funds to make the program more accessible. 

The Kustom Built Kars program has really taken off and Jack hopes to grow the program to accommodate 10 or more students. He frequently gets requests for his graduates from shops all across the country looking to hire people that have the foundations and skills that his program teaches. “Students get a job pretty quickly,” Jack said with a smile. If you would like to learn more, donate, or if you have a car you’d like to see back in its prime, you can call Jack at 970-644-5171!