I grew up around anything mechanical…being a broke farm kid we worked on everything ourselves. We had tools, so it was natural for us to tear stuff apart and try to figure out how it worked. As a real little guy, my Dad worked on custom Harleys. I used to help him load up the Econoline van to attend bike shows. Dad was into bikes in a big way, but he got a bad back from riding rigids too many years. Also our family was growing so we needing something easier to all get around….that is when the car transition came in.
Dad got a rusted out ’57 hardtop that he fixed up, in the awesome 70’s way. Straight axle, Cragar SS wheels, tilt front end, chain steering wheel, four buckets with diamond tuck, shag carpet on dash, fender well headers, tunnel ram, the whole deal. He had that for a few years, and then he traded it for a ’69 Corvette convertible. I learned to drive a four speed in that car. He then went on to build a little more modern ’55 Chevy hardtop, tilt front end, wicked motor, tunnel ram, and some cool stuff like hand built and chromed radiator support and Nomad rear fender lips.
He even let me spray the firewall bright yellow. With this car we attended our first big car show out of town and even stayed in a hotel for the first time. This was in 1981 and we all loaded up my Mom’s ’78 Dodge Magnum as a tow vehicle with all the tools we owned, the trailer, and the ’55 in tow. We drove about 45 mph all the way to Dearborn, Mich. This show was a real eye opener for me. There were about 1,000 cars, all tri fives. All the “cool” guys from the tri five world that I had read about in Classic Chevy magazine each month were there. I even got to meet Roger Gustin and my tri five drag race hero Bob Dahl. This is when it really hit me…I want to do this forever! Dad’s ’55 even got a few pictures in some of the magazines that were giving event coverage, which was cool. I was 10 years old at that show, and I have been hooked hard ever since.
Thru the years, my Dad had many different tri fives. I bought my first car, a ’55 series 150 from my great, great Grandpa for $100. I had to sell my 4H pigs to buy it. I drove it around the farm and had fun, but realized when I got a little older that it was a little too rusty for me to fix up for my first car. I sold it and later a local guy fixed it up and it ended up in Super Chevy. Around this time my Dad and I started painting local farmers trucks for money and good father/son time. My Dad showed me how to sand and also how to fix more things. I then bought a ’64 LeMans and tinkered with that for awhile. I sold that when I was 14 and used the money to buy a nice ’64 Chevelle SS that I saw for sale on the way to the drag races in Cordova. Around this time my uncle started taking me to some big car shows that were close by such as the Street Machine Nationals in St. Louis and a few KKOA custom shows. I loved the big motors at the street machine shows, but the customs with all the mods and chopped tops really got me excited. I fixed up the Chevelle at home with my Dad, painted it myself, and got it done by my 16th birthday. When I was 16 I also started working after school at the local body shop doing sanding and paint prep. The owner of the body shop was into custom Corvettes so we worked on a lot of them. I learned a lot of skills from that job. After high school while continuing to work at the body shop, I went to a local trade college for body, welding, and frame work. My teachers loved me so they used to stay late to teach me “extra” stuff like how to use all the HVAC metal working tools. I’m glad I had teachers that cared and could see that I was eager to learn. My class project was to redo the body and floors in my Dad’s ’56 sedan pro-streeter. At home I was also redoing my ’64 Chevelle again after learning so many new things. At age 19, I took the Chevelle to the Street Machine Nationals where it won runner up Best GM. Also at Super Chevy I received runner up for best modified Chevelle.
I worked at a couple of Chevy dealerships to make money to finance my next projects but always worked on old cars and hot rod stuff on the side. I knew someday I wanted to work on hot rods full time. At this point I met my wife Carrie who helped me to complete the interior on one of the builds I was working on. I started getting more press and awards on my builds so I left the dealership and we started our own shop. I worked out of my Dad’s machine shed for awhile then built a small pole barn and finished it off by our house. I have been working there ever since. As you can see..I am not some Johnny-come-lately in the hot rod world. I grew up around it…it’s in the blood!
Tim Strange has been married to his wife Carrie for 17 years. Together they own and operate Strange Motion Rod and Custom. Tim is a BMXer and owner of Strange Motion/Kicker BMX Team. He is also the former Host of a TV Show on Spike – Search and Restore. Tim is a nonstop, always-on-the-go guy — raised on a farm in the Midwest, he learned at an early age that you have to work hard — nothing comes for free…