Don’t Come Home Without It

These 5 words have gotten us in trouble a time or two.  But the first time “Don’t come home without it,” was used it was about our ’87 GMC Crewcab which we affectionately call The Unicorn.

Paul and I grew up about 4 miles apart.  We attended the same schools until 8th grade and had the same stompin grounds, although we stomped separately at that time.

When we began dating in our twenties, our conversations often developed around cars, trucks, and other fun stuff.  One day we came to an interesting topic, a black GMC squarebody crewcab that had been parked on Goshen Rd road for a few years.  The truck was no longer there, but we both remembered it fondly. It was the ideal squarebody truck, lifted, black, nice cowl induction hood, a sweet BIG truck.

Paul had been talking of building a squarebody truck, but no matter how many prospects he showed me, I turned them down.  It just wasn’t the same. He assured me he could build it to look exactly the same, but I just couldn’t get on board. From time to time we would chat about that truck.

Then one day I got a text from Paul.  The black squarebody GMC crewcab was BACK!!!  At the same house. Parked out front, just like it had been for years.

And so, the infamous words were texted, “Don’t come home without it.”  

Paul immediately left a note on the guy’s door, since no one was home, that we were interested and if he ever wanted to sell it, please give us a call.  About an hour later, the phone rang, the guy said he was tired of the project and would consider selling it to us. However, he warned that he wanted “a pretty penny for it” as he had over 10k just in paint alone.

We had to know if we could make it work.  We figured he probably wanted about 10-12k for it, something we definitely didn’t have, but hey if we had to knock over a liquor store or two (or ten) to get our hands on this truck, it would totally be worth it.  Just kidding, don’t freak out.

Paul went and met with the guy and checked out the truck.  It definitely needed some work, but was a strong runner, and was solid.  And so, so pretty. Holding his breath, while looking very nonchalant of course, Paul asked what he wanted for it.

“I won’t take a penny less than six grand.” He said.

What the heck?  That literally was half of what we were prepared to hear!  Paul pretended to ponder this for a moment before agreeing.  The next day we brought home “The Unicorn” as it was quickly dubbed, being as it was the illusive truck we had dreamed of and chased for years.

The Unicorn is on our "Do Not Sell For Any Amount" list.  It is slated for a future Cummins swap which will make it a mean towing machine.  It has proven to continue to be the truck of our dreams, I was in town last year when a huge black squarebody crew pulled out across the street from where I was and my breath caught- it was the sweetest truck I had seen since our own- wait!  That WAS my truck!! Lol.

About once a year I turn to Paul and say, “I just can’t believe that this is the truck we both loved, before we were even together, that we both wanted, that we thought was gone forever.  I can’t believe that we OWN it! And I can’t believe we got it for SIX GRAND!”

Welcome to HMCS

Hello, and welcome to the Heavy Metal Custom Shop website and blog! We are glad you are here. Heavy Metal Custom Shop (HMCS) is a new shop here in Bellingham, WA. While we have just opened our doors to the public (May 2017), we have been building, customizing, restoring and enjoying many cool projects over the years.

This blog will give us a chance to highlight some of the fun things going on in our shop, community and lives.
To start, here is a bit of history on us:
We are Paul and Jennifer Teigrob, owners of Heavy Metal Custom Shop. We were both raised in Whatcom County and attended the same schools until 8th grade, then we re-met in our mid-twenties and promptly fell madly in love and got married.
We have always had the passion for all things automotive between us. Paul began taking apart his toys at about age 4 to see how they work and by age 10, he was tearing apart his parents riding lawnmowers (and also driving them into ponds- but that’s another story!) He was always fascinated with how things work and is very mechanically minded.
Jennifer used to have her dad stop at every camaro or firebird for sale beside the road as a youngster, and also spent all her bookfair money on the car posters instead of the books! And fun fact, Paul had a crush on Jennifer in 4th grade.
In high school, Paul drove a ’71 Blazer with 12 inches of lift and 44 inch tires. Jennifer drove a 76 Ford Supercab (sexy, right?) and used to race the boys on the way home from school. By the end of highschool Paul was driving a 90 Camaro which he later put a Caddy 500 in (and still has) and Jennifer bought an 89 Trans Am and is amazed to this day she didn’t kill herself driving the snot out of that thing. A match made in heaven!

Pauls ’90 Camaro and Jennifers ’89 Trans Am. Circa 1999. Just FYI at this time, Pauls camaro was only a V6, and had they actually lined up- Jennifer would have spanked him with the Trans Am. 😉

Our early dating and marriage days involved a lot of 4 wheeling. We have wheeled all over the PNW and in 2010 Paul was chosen to participate in Peterson’s 4wheel and Offroad Magazine’s Ultimate Adventure, which just happened to be on the East Coast! Paul and wheeling buddy Chris Nikkel drove 3000 miles to the Ultimate Adventure, wheeled some of the most hardcore trails in New Hampshire, Vermont, New York, etc, and then drove 3000 miles back home. Jennifer was home with an infant and a 2 year old, but hopes to someday get a chance to go!  It might help our chances if we actually build another wheeler someday.

We have spent a lot of hours together building some really fun projects since then and now are actually getting to live our dream of opening our own custom shop. The shop has a great family vibe, our customers become our friends, and we are always excited to help get another car enthusiast moving forward on their project. We would love to help you with your project, whether it is some custom fabrication, and engine or chassis swap, or the whole project- we want to see you out there driving and enjoying your cars. Our motto is: Dream. Build. Drive.
We want to get to know our local car scene, so keep an eye out for cruise ins, pinstriping events, and other excuses to get together with all you awesome car people. We look forward to meeting you and checking out your ride!

Upcoming Open House

We are very excited to host our first Open House! This will be our Grand Opening Event, but not only that we are having a Pinstriping Event and Cruise In here as well. We hope to make this an annual event, minus the Grand Opening part! Please come on out, enjoy a free lunch and check out some really cool cars. We would love a chance to meet you, talk cars, and show you around our new shop.  Bring a buddy or 10!

Q and A With Paul and Jennifer

Q. What was your first car?

P: ‘71 Blazer- I mostly drove it around my parent’s property, but I did drive it a few times with my learner’s permit.
J: When I was 14, I bought a ’75 Datsun pickup truck from my neighbor (non-running) and a crated rebuilt motor. I ended up selling that before I ever did anything with it. The first vehicle I ever actually drove was my parents ’76 Ford Supercab truck “Blue.” The first vehicle I ever purchased myself AND actually drove was an ’89 Firebird Trans Am.

Q. What is your favorite car that you own?

P: Probably my Camaro, even though it’s been neglected. We have history.
J: Definitely my ’95 Dodge Ram 3500 Dually I bought when I was 19. It’s been such a solid truck, I may have asked to be buried in it.

Q. Who is your hero in the car world?

P: Lonnie McCown, our car builder extraordinaire friend in Twisp, WA.
J: My husband of course!

Q. What’s the most extreme thing you’ve ever done in a car?

P: I’ve done a lot of offroad stuff that can get a little dicey at times. There was also jumping my ’75 Coupe De Ville at 95 mph.
J: I had some serious issue with staying within the speed limit when I was younger and had some close calls due to my stupidity, lack of fear, and lead foot. I also jumped my Trans Am all four tires off the ground. That was rad. I should do that again.

Q: How old were you when you learned to drive a manual? And in what car?

P: My first truck I had when I was 15 was a manual, but I drove manual transmission tractors before that, probably starting at around 12.
J: I may or may not have driven a couple boy’s cars when I was 14. (Which is why my kids will never be unsupervised. Ever.) But the unnamed boys helped a lot and it didn’t really stick. Then I didn’t officially learn until my dad tried to teach me in his Explorer- he was a tad uptight and we didn’t ever leave the parking lot. My mom traded cars with my Aunt when my Aunt broke her wrist and needed an automatic to drive. Mom was super chill and just let me drive everywhere for a couple days till I had it nailed. I think I had my learners permit then.

Q. Which of your cars is your favorite car to drive and why?

P: That’s a tough one because I appreciate different things about different vehicles. I like the Unicorn because it is a good old solid truck and it reminds me of my childhood. I like the Corona because it is unique and turbos are fun.
J: I really like driving my Dodge truck, preferably hauling my 4 horse trailer full of horses over the mountain for some riding in the Methow valley. But my ’06 Trailblazer SS is superfast at almost 500 hp and has ruined me for all other cars with its power. Besides that, the SS seats and interior is super nice. And I love cruising in a big 60’s land yacht.

Q. Name 3 cars you would like to own someday.

P: 2010 Camaro SS 6 speed manual in aqua blue metallic. 2014 Dodge Mega cab long bed. Squarebody suburban.
J: A New Challenger Hellcat, an old Challenger, a 32 Ford coupe, a Nova with ridiculous huge meats (I can’t count)

Q. Name 3 car activities that are on your bucket list.

P: Hotrod’s Drag Week, Wheeling all the major trails in Northern CA, going 200 mph in something that’s not a European supercar.
J: Hotrod Power Tour, Route 66, LeMons Rally, Drag racing my Trailblazer SS, drive around the country with a huge car trailer, stopping along the way to buy project cars. (I can’t count again)

Q. If you had to evacuate and could only take two cars with you, which of your cars would you take?

P: Unicorn and the Camaro
J: My Dodge pulling my horse trailer and oh man that’s a hard decision. Good thing Paul is taking the Unicorn and the Camaro, I guess I would take the Bonneville, I’m pretty in love with that car right now. Or maybe the 58 Caddy. Good thing we aren’t in area where evacuation is imminent. I’d probably be one of those people they write newspaper stories about, “Woman perished hugging her cars.”

Q. How many vehicles have you owned in your lifetime?

P: 57 and 5 motorcycles
J: 35, but 31 one of those are also included in Paul’s list as vehicles we bought together

Q. What’s the most fun car related activity you’ve ever done?

P: Ultimate Adventure was really fun.
J: We may or may not have rallied a rental car through the Nevada desert once. It may or may not have been awesome. Pulling a semi out of the mud with an ’01 Dodge 2500 was pretty fun. The first couple times Paul spun a 180 e-brake turn in his Camaro was pretty fun. Any time I can get a straight stretch of uninhabited open road where I can open it up makes my day. Multi-state road trips feed my soul. I think I would make a great nomad.

Q. If you could meet one famous car person, who would it be?

P: Jay Leno
J: Mario Andretti, as my nickname among family and friends used to be Jennifer Andretti due to my expedient driving style.

Q. What is the perfect road trip car?

P: Probably a 60’s land yacht
J: What he said

Q: What is the perfect road trip?

P: A good cruiser, my best friend/wife, going places I’ve never gone before.
J: I will say Route 66 because I want to do it, not because I have and know it is.

Q. Have you ever jumped a car?

P: Yeah, like every day.
J: Yes, my ’89 Trans Am. It was rad.

Q. What’s the fastest you’ve ever been in a car?

P: Probably 130
J: I think about 115, maybe 120

Q. Please outline your traffic violation history.

P: Speeding, illegal bumper height, insufficient tire coverage- and repeat several times.
J: A few speeding tickets, but nothing for almost 10 years (that’s what having kids in the car with you all the time will do for you!)

Q: What’s your claim to fame when it comes to cars or driving?

P: I don’t claim to be famous.
J: I can tow a big trailer like nobody’s business. And back it anywhere it needs to go.

Q. What’s the cheapest car you ever bought that you were still able to drive home?

P: One of the cheapest cars I ever bought and drove home was a ’70 Cadillac Coupe deVille, the same one that I jumped at 95 mph, I paid $200 for it.
J: When I was about 6 months pregnant with our daughter T, I bought an 84 Camaro for $100. Fired it up and drove it home in the snow.

Q. Funny car story?

P: When Jennifer and I took our 36 International Hotrod to Billetproof in 2015, it had a pretty good death wobble in the front end and an open driveline, which happened to have a strand of barbedwire wrapped around it. (Our driveline guys wanted to contribute to the “ratrod” look ). It was so hot that day, so on the way back to our rental cabin, we stopped for icecream and a gallon jug of water. Jennifer sat the water jug on top of the frame for the driveline, since her hands were full trying to keep other small items from falling through the mostly open floor pan. As we wove through town, we hit a bump on the corner just right and the death wobble immediately sent the front tires into a frenzy of crazed back and forth movements. As we lurched along, the jug of water got sucked into the driveline tunnel and the barbed wire tore up the jug, creating a massive sprinkler of water shooting in all directions INSIDE the truck. We were laughing so hard we could barely get pulled over to get organized. At least we were cooler after all of that!
J: Paul’s story is probably the funniest. However, when I was 19, I lived on a farm and the property owner was baling some big round bales of hay. I decided I should steal a few bales. These bales weigh about 700 lbs each. I used my Dodge to roll the hay bales across the field and into the barn.

Open for Business!

Phew!  April has been a whirlwind of a month as we've  been working hard to get HMCS ready to open the doors, and we made it!  We are so excited to be open for business and look forward to serving you!