Hot Rods & Custom Stuff is a part of the Southern California car culture
Escondido, Calif.—It’s well known that since Randy Clark founded Hot Rods & Custom Stuff (HRCS) in 1989, the automotive restoration shop has become a big part of Southern California car culture, style, and general way of life, said Chick Koszis, who joined the HRCS staff last May.
Koszis said Clark brought him on to sharpen HRCS’ business development focus, enhance its web presence with magazine-quality content, and develop customer and supplier business relationships.
A lifelong hot rodder who has built numerous cars, Koszis said he is also a mechanical engineer and brings a good understanding of what customers are looking for in the hot rod, custom, and muscle car field.
“I feel that we can merge their needs with appropriate supplier products. Hot Rods & Custom Stuff has a unique ability to bring them together,” Koszis said.
Clark’s history is as colorful as the car culture to which he caters, said Sean Dell, HRCS general manager. “Randy’s grandfather was a machinist and tool inventor, and his father was a blacksmith and welder,” he said.
Dell said when the Clarks moved with their two-year-old son, Randy, to Southern California in 1949, they arrived just in time for the beginning of the hot rodding explosion.
“Randy learned to weld and work metal by working with his father at a young age, doing such tasks as welding large tanks from the inside because he could fit inside the best,” Dell said.
Living in the epicenter of the custom-car movement and attending the local drags, Dell said Clark soon caught the “hot rod bug,” and at age 12, bought his first car. “It was a $12 Model T that didn’t run, which he eventually traded for a 1930 Model A that did.”
Over the next 30 or so years, Randy lived the Southern California motorcycle and hot rod culture to the fullest, Dell said, working on and building vehicles as jobs came his way.
“When Randy opened Hot Rods & Custom Stuff it was in a small building with four service bays,” Dell said. “Today, we have more than 100,000 square feet of retail, office, and shop space in five buildings, and 30 employees.”
Dell said HRCS’ business motto is, “We do it all and we do it right,” which he says sums up the full spectrum of services offered for the hot rod, custom, or restoration enthusiast.
“Everything from parts and service to full frame-off restorations and custom builds can be had at HRCS,” Koszis said. “We provide one-stop shopping for those who love and drive hot rods and classic cars. We will also service your daily driver, even if all you need is an oil change.”
Hot Rods & Custom Stuff creations have been featured in numerous magazines and garnered several trophy cases full of awards, Koszis said. “The most famous would have to be the ‘M-80,’ a 1949 Chevrolet Business Coupe that was the first car in history to win both the Yosemite Sam Radoff Sculptural Excellence and Riddler awards in 2001.”
Many of those projects are profiled on the HRCS website, which Dell said is the most effective form of advertising they’ve ever done. “We have 800 pages of project photos, technical information, event coverage, and much more,” he said, “all created in-house.”
Koszis said the website logged more than 43 million hits last year and averages 2,000-3,000 unique visitors each day.
“In addition to shots of finished vehicles, the website gives visitors a peek behind the scenes,” Dell said. “If you ever wanted to know what it takes to build a hot rod and how they work their magic, the website shows it all. It is also a great information resource with an extensive links directory targeted to the old car enthusiast.”