Alan reached out to me and asked me to come there and show off some tools and demonstrate building a car. I said ‘yes’ without hesitation, “I’ll pack up some tools and drive out there and see what you guys have put together.” He told me “we’ve got a 12,000 square-foot DIY pavilion” inside a tent and we’re going to have a project car there. It doesn’t matter to me what car I’m working on because regardless I’m going to try to do something cool with it. When I found out it was an 1972 El Camino I suggested a toned-down concept. Something clean, more modern. You know, simplify the car and give it that old school look, a couple of rally stripes and choose a great color, add some rims, and we’ve got a car that brings back that 70s feel and some muscle.
I put a concept together, sent it off to Alan, and he’s got feedback right away. “Dude, can you put this blue color on?”, including a paint photo. We collaborated on a concept and a design. I like working this way because when I get there everybody’s not going to ask me what I’m building (because they’ll already have seen the concept.) I don’t like having to sound like a broken record answering the same question over and over and over.
So for the week out there at Barrett-Jackson we’ve got participation from Craftsman, Chevrolet in the tent with us, we’ve got E-bay Motors with the modJOBS 2012 Mustang we did last month and I’ve got my Solution Finish. So this is a good chance for me to get out there, build a car, show off some new tools, some new products and connect with the public and the garage builders. I didn’t know what to expect for a tool supply for DIY builders so I brought as much as I could cram in my truck and decide to figure it out from there. When we get there and see the El Camino I’m thinking in my head, you know I’ve built cars on TV in 72 hours in front of millions of people, that’s already been done (Car Warriors). This event will be live, which is cool but I tell Alan “I want to shoot from the hip and see if I can connect a little bit more with the end user and the garage builders by having the public work on the car.”
3M gave us some products which is great because here’s a chance to put product in people’s hands who haven’t used it before. Craftsman’s also got their tools and equipment there. I’m thinking “what’s better?: someone watching me use their tools or putting their tools in a potential consumer’s hands?” It just makes it that much more real. A lot of people will never know they can or can’t do it if they don’t try. So I’m going to bring some process out here and guide people through taking the car apart, stripping the car down, modifying it, pulling dents, even welding for beginners. I’ve got 8-year-old girls and boys that came up, got their hands on a welder for the first time. Of course I gave them safety equipment—which is also a great learning opportunity for them—and helped them do the job. So they walked in the tent not knowing they were going to weld or pull a dent and they walk out knowing something about how to weld and pull a dent. The look on their faces was ‘how cool is that’?
It really took me back to when I was young and somebody introduced something new to me. Exposure to new processes is so important in our business. There are all kinds of ways to build a car and hundreds of different processes, but to learn from experienced builders the process of grinding and feathering and stripping the car down manually is invaluable for someone who’s new to everything. Not just newbies but also connecting with the garage builders. The message to them: If you don’t have it, use what you have because you don’t have to have all that expensive equipment to build a car.
Back to the event: The news coverage was over 45 minutes broadcast, with 10 minutes on Channel 3 live, and then they did a 6 minute piece at night and then we did Channel 12, 5, CNN. If you search ‘Barrett-Jackson DIY Rich Evans’ on Youtube, you can watch a 2-minute piece that they put together. If you go to DIYlive.tv, we’ve got many segments on there. If you click through that site you can see all the people that participated. Craftsman, GM, 3M, Solution Finish, we had new types of nail guns available, we had a panel bonding product out there from 3M, different types of sandpaper, Bondo™, the dynamic mixing system, all sorts of products.
We had a group of Wyotech guys out there. WyoTech provides students with repair training in automotive technology, autobody, diesel, HVAC, chassis fabrication and high performance engines, street rod and custom builds. John and his crew—there were about five people from Wyotech there—were all heavily involved with the project.
Equipment was a factor. We only had one air hose and one welder so we could only go so fast, which was actually good. We could control and make sure everybody’s getting taught and stay safe. The whole concept of DIY at the show was a hit. I heard Barrett-Jackson’s head count through the door was 27% more than any other year. So they set records.
The news coverage and the big hype about ‘hey come on out, get your hands dirty, help build this car.’ The car really was being built by the public and everybody there was invited to get involved. Everybody who came by touched or fixed a dent or welded a hole, or pulled a part off or sanded on it. They’re part of this build. It was great to see them all building the car, not just me.
These photos tell the story too but to best appreciate this whole idea that Alan made happen, you have to go visit DIYlive.tv to see video of everyone that was involved with this build. It was so successful we’re going to be doing more of these. I’ll let you guys know more about it, or just follow us on DIYlive.tv.
You can also go to richevansdesigns.com or huntingtonbeachbodyworks.com. Also, go to solutionfinish.com or watch our video on Youtube by searching ‘Solution Finish Rich Evans.’
The types of projects I’m doing this year are really connecting with the end-users and trying to bring my world to their world. It’s just so rewarding to see an 85-year-old woman pulling dents, or an older dentist jumping in and working on the car. Also, they’re able to go home and take the techniques and steps that I taught them and actually be able to work on their own car. So with all that said, another great project, you’re going to hear more about it, we’re going to continue to tour this car to the next two or three Barrett-Jackson shows. I don’t have details on those yet but we’ll definitely be in Orange County and Las Vegas. So if you guys get a chance stop into the DIY Pavilion Craftsman Experience and check us out on the road.
We’re going to be taking this car—stripping it down, cutting the roof off of it, painting it, cutting rust off of it, dropping an LS9 motor in it that Chevy has donated (the LS9 crate motor costs about the same as a base 2010 Ford Mustang) and Steel Rubber donated the rubbers for the car. 3M donated the product for the car. Craftsman provided the tools for the vehicle. We’ve got Woodward Fabrication teaming up with us along with a whole other list of sponsors and equipment so it’s going to allow us to really travel around and let people get involved and connect with more garage builders. So I’m really pumped up about this. I’m working on a new TV show so stay tuned. Go to Rich Evans Designs’ Facebook page, and like it, that way you can keep up with everything I’m doing. I went to the Grand National Roadsters Show, I did the NHRA, and I’m heading up to the Autorama in Sacramento, which I haven’t been to since I was 6 years old. I had some time in Sacramento and last year when I did CarWarriors I connected with a shop called Gearhead Garage. They actually beat us Allstars on the Corvette builds and I’m going to go up and visit them. They’ll have the Corvettes we did on the show there. That’s my old stomping grounds and I’m going to have a blast.
2012 is going to be a great year. I’m going to be traveling, building cars on the road, doing all kinds of cool stuff. I never know what’s around the corner for me. I’ll keep you guys posted on the DIY experience. Go to DIYlive.tv to learn more about it. Also search ‘Barrett-Jackson DIY Rich Evans’ on Youtube and watch that two minute clip. I think you guys will be stoked to see that. You can also see all the news coverage on DIYlive.tv. Keep wrenching. Keep building. I’ll see you guys next month.