In the Shop: Hot Rods & Custom Stuff

Randy Clark Gives Us an Inside Look at One of SoCal’s Top Street Rod Shops

By Tommy Lee Byrd – Photography by Jena Crawford

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Southern California has long been considered the epicenter of hot rods and customs, and Randy Clark has been involved with the hobby for decades. Clark built numerous street rods and custom motorcycles before he ever dreamed of opening his own shop. His brainchild, Hot Rods & Custom Stuff, is the culmination of his passion for hot rods and his wonderful talents. Clark opened the Escondido, California ­based shop in 1989 and has been in the same location ever since. Hot Rods & Custom Stuff has grown tremendously since those early days and now consists of 40 employees and six buildings on the property.

The range of projects is pretty broad, from Pro-Touring builds to bone-stock restorations. On our tour of Hot Rods & Custom Stuff we spotted projects in various stages of completion, and a few that were polished and ready for the show circuit. We specifically loved the 1961 Chevrolet Impala convertible, a beautifully finished build with lots of custom tricks throughout. We also saw a couple of first-generation Corvettes and an incredible 1969 Camaro Pro-Touring car powered by a new LT4 engine. But Hot Rods & Custom Stuff doesn’t solely concentrate on classic Chevys; there is a 1961 Ford Galaxie, a ’60s Ford Ranchero, and a giant ’70s Lincoln to balance out the collection of projects. We also spotted an aftermarket 1932 Ford roadster body sitting on a wooden dolly ready for a new chassis to roll beneath it. The crew can handle any make or model and just about any level of customization.

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Hot Rods & Custom Stuff handles small jobs like routine maintenance all the way up to full custom builds starting from scratch. The extremely spacious shop features several lifts (drive-on and two-post), allowing for multiple vehicles to be serviced at once. There is also a great paint- and bodywork area, with a giant wall of lighting to help with sanding, buffing, and polishing. That space was occupied by an immaculate ’Cuda Pro-Touring car.

Hot Rods & Custom Stuff handles many aspects of car restoration and customizing, including media blasting, mechanical restoration and assembly, metal fabrication, bodywork, paintwork, and final assembly. There is even a full upholstery shop within the business, which stays busy year-round. Clark and his group of employees crank out a tremendous amount of high-end work, and have been doing so for more than 30 years. For Clark, his hobby turned into quite the business, but the passion is still there and he’s keeping the hot rodding dream alive in Southern California. MR

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Hot Rods & Custom Stuff
(800) 468-7635

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