June 14, 2021

Interview With Jay Riggs

Jay Riggs is the owner of Riggs Fabrication, where he and his team restore classic cars and convert cars into hot rods.


welcome to this episode of the wolf and

the shepherd today

we have with us jay riggs from riggs

fabrication and restoration jay glad you

could be with us

thanks for having us yeah i'm i'm


the wolf because the wolf decided as

lazy as he is to

go on holiday as he calls it so it's

it's just jay and i in the studio and

we're going to talk

a little bit about cars so jay once


glad you could uh join us today

tell us a little bit about yourself so

i i own riggs fabrication restoration we

are a

hot rod and custom restoration shop we

work on

old american cars from 1975 and older

so in the shop right now we've got cars

ranging from 1929 to

um i think a 1972 c10 pickup

cool so very good so uh

1929 to 1972 i mean that

that's a big spread uh lots of different

things going on during

all those years but i guess one of the


things that we kind of miss

out on now with you know cars i mean

if you look at like my wife for instance

she thinks well i got to take my car to

the dealer i got to get this done

i remember as a kid growing up my dad

would say

oh you can change the oil yourself you

can do all this and

i said dad how'd you figure this out and

he said well

part of the problem is they don't have

auto shop

in school anymore and i said well dad

what's auto shopping he's like well you

learned how to work on cars

and so we don't have auto shop anymore i


do we need to bring that back so what's

interesting is um

i mean we're in keller right so i mean


school district has a entire facility

called kcal and uh it's okay for keller

and then cal for

oh what whatever that's for yeah and uh

they have an automotive program

really yeah we actually last year had an


um officially through the school hired

him for a little bit

and you know the problem with kids today

is you know they got

they got something else to do right so

right it didn't last very long but we

had it we had a smart young man and and

he did um he did some cool stuff in the

shop and then he just moved on to do his

own thing and

but um there is an automotive program in


and i i think there's one in northwest

isd so i i think you know mike rowe from

dirty jobs is he's doing his

his part i think they are coming back

but maybe they haven't

made a loud enough presence to make make

people know that they're back

yeah but so that's good to hear that we

actually have some

auto shop you know deals going on oh

oh you you broke the rule yeah you were

supposed to turn your phone off before

we got started yeah

uh no i told you the rule you just

forgot oh no

no that's okay we we've forgot to turn

our phones off

when we were doing the podcast in fact i

actually had my phone connected to our

board one time

and the ringer was going through the

board and i'm like how am i

supposed to edit this out right now so

that sucked

but no mike rowe with the dirty jobs and

all that i mean he's he's done a lot to

educate folks that hey you don't always

have to go to

college and get this degree that maybe

you're hoping for

some job i mean trades are fantastic

right so we have a friend that's um

she has a higher level position at um

one of the tech colleges i don't know if

it's okay to tell about her or not but

um we were that's up to her i mean well

if you want to go ahead and tell her

about her so i mean so the school's

lincoln tech and they're they're one of


you know for-profit colleges and several

years ago and i remember the dates but

they had a

they had a um an auto body school for a


okay which is not anywhere near the same

as what we do but they still they taught

young fellows and gals how to do

collision work and

uh they got shut down by the feds due to


and what it was was the number of

students that were trying to get jobs

the companies that were hiring were you

know drug test background tests

or background check drug tests and so

they had more percentage failing

so they had to shut the program down

well then they did all the things the

government wanted to do they brought the

program back because there's a shortage

of skilled

people in that industry it's like once

you get to be about 50

that's hard work you know in those terms

those guys start looking for alternative

careers they blow out their knees backs

elbows etc

so lincoln tech had the closer program

down and then a couple years ago

again i'm no sorry if i missed the dates

two or three years ago they they brought

it back

and um one of the sad parts because so

she's in the recruiting phase of you

know getting students

they're not allowed to tell people what

you can make in that industry

uh-huh and in my industry we've

struggled to hire guys that are

established in collision to do

restoration because again they're two

totally separate

worlds yes we work on cars yes we fix

dents and rust and

paint them but it's totally different

and so

i know a lot of guys are talented in

restoration but they make between 80 and


000 a year doing collision and they're

working at your calibers and service

kings and dealerships

mind-blowing restorations never paid

that but that's where the talent's at

yeah so what is that struggle between

what you say is restoration and

collision repair

like in in finding that talent where is


as a an owner of one of these shops then

you're more

obviously the restoration side not the

collision side right

where is that struggle so most of it

like from a

for my like i'm i have an ad out right

now i'm hiring him for a body man

right and a body man means you know

fixing the metal

and doing the the bondo work you know

the the

bare metal up to primer and getting a


out of collision so it's insurance and

so it's like when you go to the doctor

everything's coded

and that's how they bill you don't have

to understand that you just go to the

doctor well that's how they make their


and in collision it works the same thing

like as an individual if you get a wreck

on 35

you don't really care like how they do

it right you just want it done

well so you go to reputable place they

fix your car you're out your deductible

or not and the rest is no big deal

inside that business it's all structured

through insurance

it's all a um i don't want to say it's a

game because it isn't it's a structured

business model

insurance have a business plan the

collision centers follow it the systems

are all set up to be the same

and in restoration there is no book

there's no computer there's no estimate

you can't tell how long does it take to

fix the rust on a 1952 cadillac

right what side of the tree did it sit

on and what side did it rust and then

how many things lived in it

versus was it in grandma's barn there's

no way to know

sure how long does it take to do it and

so some sometimes the guy that does


can't wrap his head around how to work

because there's not a rule book

like they'll tell them you get an hour

to do this job two hours through that

four hours to this

in our line of work there's none of that

yeah so and

of course you're dealing with a little

bit of a different clientele

right i mean like you say the guy that

gets on the wreck on i-35

right they're driving their you know

2015 honda civic

and that's their daily driver whatever

they just want their car fixed and

all that before the rental runs out on

the right

but yeah before the 30 days go up and

then they realized even

on the rental reimbursement it wasn't

enough to cover a decent car and

blah blah blah and that's another rabbit

hole we could chase but yeah

yeah let's not do that but most of your

clients though are coming to you and say

this is my baby

absolutely yeah yeah i mean this is my


and yeah i don't want you to take me to

the cleaners but i want it done right

right i want it done fair

and you know you you got to take care of

me and like you say

there is no book to say what would you

use a 52 cadillac

of how to fix this thing right

cadillac's have their own math

and i always tell people that it's like

there's a 25 cost increase

because it's a cadillac and someone goes

what do you think i have a cadillac and

i'm rich you're charging me more i'm

like no

cadillacs are just built bigger there

they were always bigger cars they were

always luxury so there's more bolts

there's more fasteners

there's more trim there's more parts

there's more pieces so these take longer

right and and of course to be honest

with you i've had

two cadillacs in my life right and i


that for a fact because i had an

escalade which is basically

a tahoe and you know there were parts on

it yeah

well yeah it has the fancy cadillac

emblem but it's still a tahoe

and i would say well why am i paying so

much more for this part

where i look on the internet and the

tahoe part

is so much cheaper and like oh well

because it's cadillac

right and like you say it's that extra


i was always a bmw fan right for a long


and somebody told me you know what bmw

stands for

and i said well bavarian motor working

and they said no it's bring more wallet

because yeah because just because it's


they're going to charge you more right

and and it's kind of ridiculous

so what about the car market

right now i mean everything's kind of

well no the regular cars let's start


regular cars because we're going to get

into the chips here in a minute but

everybody's talking about how you can't

find a car now

and if you wanted to get rid of your

used car

now is the time to get rid of the car

and kind of

for the chips and all that so right what

what's your take on that so

so i don't i don't honestly ever shop

for new cars i don't i don't like people

will name off a new model of a car and i

don't i don't even know what it is

um and that's just because i live in an

old car space i mean i'm sure

we literally live in in a space where

that's what we

do and it's like i drive a 1970 pickup

and i

don't want a new one i want an older one

yeah well

well when i was standing outside you

know looking out the window saying

when's jay going to get here and i saw

the truck pull up i'm like oh there's


i know that's jay in that truck yeah

well and

and so how it affects me you know i'm

not shopping right

sure except i have a business case where

my wife drives a half-ton pickup and

we're starting to get into where we're

doing some

hauling cars to shows further away we've

never done that before everything we've

ever built

it's you give it to the owner they drive

it meet up and go to a show with them

but we're not trailering anything

well now we're starting to make travel

arrangements to go to some shows like a

month ago we went to tulsa

for a big indoor custom car show and

our customer's going to haul the car in

an open trailer it's brand new

like we were finishing it wednesday as

we were loading it onto a trailer to get

to the show

and i was like man i'm gonna i'm gonna

borrow an enclosed trailer and haul this


is fine and a half ton truck but then we

start getting into situations where

we're talking about going to

scottsdale arizona in november

and that starts becoming more of a

burden on a half-ton truck like you know

when you need gas every 200 miles

right so so we're we're in the market in

the next three to six months for a

three-quarter ton diesel and a larger

trailer and all this and start doing

show car stuff

and i'm just aware you know it's good if

you want out of one but you're not

getting in one

kind of the housing market right you can

sell your house and make a bunch

but you better like living in an

apartment yeah no absolutely

yeah let's not go down that road i'm i'm

trying to buy a house right now

and i literally i actually bought one

and it sucked yeah it is you need to buy

25 grand in your pocket just to throw on

the table yeah

exactly and and all the california

people that keep coming out here

they're literally in this is kind of in

your world

right i don't know if you know this or

not but california people are coming out


putting offers on houses and offering


as part of the offer i need to know

about this a little bit more

yeah yeah i mean they're literally

saying you can also have my car

and and there's part of me that thinks

well maybe they want to get rid of the

car that has the california emissions

and then they're going to buy a texas


or maybe the car situation's worse in

california yeah

you know i don't know once again that's

another rabbit i need the realtors that

know about these old cars to talk to me

real quick

yeah i i don't think there's any old

classic cars i mean that the guy that

lives across the street from my dad or


had a uh 57 chevy corvette convertible

right red and white a beautiful car and

he moved back to california which is

kind of odd because most people

are coming from california to texas he's

actually moving back

and i told him i'm like look if you

don't want to move that car

back to california let's talk story for

him yeah

you know let's talk let's take that off

your hands so

classic cars versus new cars

do we think eventually that people are

going to realize that the new cars are

kind of boring

and you're going to see this kind of


in people so much more interested in

getting a classic car

whether or not it's maybe you know hey

this is the car that i always wanted

when i was a kid

you know the guy across the street had

this car right

right my best buddy his older brother

had this car and

blah blah and you always hear those

stories but it kind of seems like that

classic car

market might be kind of overtaking the

new car market

and some guys getting to a certain age

they're saying

hey it's time for me to go ahead and get

that car i always wanted right

so i don't know if there's any

i don't know if there's any statistical

data right um

but in in my view of the world

yes classic cars are dominating the

space but again i live in that space

right so i mean

all of my interactions with people are

about these classic cars

um so yes guys that are getting

usually their careers are pretty solid

by the time they're 55

your kids are out of the house generally

you've paid for college hopefully you've

paid for a wedding

maybe you've got a grandkid maybe don't

you've had the boat you've had the

motorcycle you've had the vacations now


and um a lot of our customers

they range in probably the the general

spot is 55 to 75.

um some of them own a couple of cars

like we did a little bit of work for a


that has a running driving car

it's finished several years ago it's

nice he's building a car nice and slow

because it takes a lot of time a lot of


and then recently bought his wife a car

he bought there was a

mutual friend circle and he was selling

a car to upgrade to another car and

his wife it was a red convertible buick

and who doesn't want a red convertible

right and the fact that his buick just

makes it cool looking so he jumps out

and buys that so now he has three cars

that i know of i mean he might have a

fourth i just know that he has three

and i don't i don't think he's over 60 i

mean i don't ask these questions surely


generally speaking you know your 35 year

old is not dropping

you know 100 grand into a car there

maybe the tuner market the drifting

market but not what we do

and then you get guys that we we've got

a customer that i know is

at least 75 and he's had cars his whole

life and

we finished a car for him a couple years

ago and he brings it back in and says i

want to change this or add that or

you know i found this new part can we

put it on my car to replace this worn

out thing

oh yeah sure you know so right and i

think he's 75 or 76 years old

so those guys are out there what's an

interesting topic is what happens when

those old guys you know the 75 year old


when they start to get to be what is it

80 you want to take their driver's

license away and the kids are like

papa don't be driving that right that

you know whatever

the big block chevelle or something

don't be taken out yeah that old car

that's kind of just dangerous dangerous

car that doesn't have airbags all right

so then

what happens and then are the kids

taking them

and and where are they going and right

now the only thing i can see

is you know if papa passes away and his

prized loving joy you know 57 corvette


if the kids don't want it or don't care

they're just selling it because that's

free cash

right someone else is loving it so it

it's not going away it's

in my mind it's growing um it seems like

it is

we're busy so we're not slowing down so

yeah so what about these shows that you

see on tv

right you have these classic car

restoration car shows or whatever where

it's like oh

we found this car here and now we're

gonna restore it in a week and

all of that and of course you know

reality tv people are just enthralled

with so

what's your take is somebody that

actually does this all the time i mean

do you look at those shows and say

oh no th this is nonsense

or is there a little truth to it so so

give us your take as that guy

knowing what actually goes on when

somebody's watching one of these shows

so the behind the scenes part like i'll

use overhauling as an example because i

think that was a

you know a little gimmicky and how they

kind of steal the car

and they make the whole thing but they

really are

doing that work and they really are

doing it fast

one reality is the cars are not done in

the episode

and that has to do with i mean if we

talk about reality the camera crew you

can't afford

that much crew i mean look at your

equipment here

if you followed a shop around for the

time it actually takes to do all of that

and filmed all of it the editing hours

because it's like two to one right for

every hour of film you have two hours of


so the amount of money that would cost

to follow that build in reality from

start to finish would be tremendous

so one of my thought or one of my

knowledge i know a lot of those cars

they're not actually done

they're done for the tv purposes for the

episode for the film time

contract and then they either

really do go get finished somewhere or

they bring him back in and finish him

off camera

um but some of the stuff like

i had a guy do some film uh for us like

some commercials and stuff

we've got a video guy now and one of the

realities is something dramatic and

exciting can actually happen

and then the cameraman show up and

you're telling the cameraman a story

and that's why those interviews sound

scripted is because that did actually


you know right maybe maybe the trash can

really did catch on fire but

we're not going to set it back on fire

because that's dumb but we could tell

the story about how scared johnny was or


right nobody was really scared but now

we have to dramatic

you know conversation yeah dramatize it

so i believe when we

when we watch those shows and you see

those interviews and they sound scripted

it's because of the camera crew needs to

catch the the story right

not the the guy telling the story he's

just not an actor which is why it sounds

dumb is

we're just real people right yeah right

you can hand somebody a piece of paper

and say hey read this

but yeah if you're not an actor i guess

that's when on these reality shows when

you see it you

say well this is so fake well yeah that

poor guy's not an actor

he's a body man and they handed him a

piece of paper and said

hey memorize this and repeat this into

the camera

exactly and then like the other parts

you see where like they just

bolt parts on and the motor fires off of

me immediately and everybody's excited

never happens with an ls engine it does

you just plug them in

yeah they fire right off but okay but

but you're always chasing something

you know there's always a bolt that you

thought you tightened that you didn't

something leaked something's not

connected the distributors in backwards

i mean again

all kinds of dumb things happen and then

you get that oh look it was perfect

no it wasn't yeah um but yeah but it's

good for tv

right and so that and that's my opinion

then right is it is the tv shows

capture the best reality they can based

on when the camera crew was there

and the editing for the time slot of the

tv show the cars generally aren't


even if they make them sound like they

were built in 30 days i'm

our customers are 12 to 18 months right

if they're a fast-paced customer yeah

and and that was one thing i

actually didn't have on my little list

but i mean is that

the kind of average yeah so you know

when somebody wants a car built and and

we'll get into this a little bit later


i mean 30 days that's ridiculous

i don't think anybody truly believes

that a car could be flipped

that quick correct i mean it if you said


bring it in make it run put some wheels

and tires on it wash it so i can sell it

but we're again we're not in that market

we don't we don't do that we make old

cars that have sat too long run

all the time and it takes a couple of

weeks to do that generally because

you're waiting on

parts and you got to find out what you

need and there's some weird thing that

you got to order on the catalog

and yeah you know your way yeah and it's

not like you can run down to autozone

and get it right some stuff but some

stuff yes

they're getting you know again they're

following the trends they're they're


it's harder and harder to get the old

parts out of those stores you know and

it's like

used to you could get a carburetor

rebuild kit for a 54 chevy

carburetor just again now find one

that's hard

because everybody's wanting to sell the

new parts there's more margin and new


sure but no i might keep them on the

road so well

okay so let's talk then about

kind of the new trend electric cars

everybody's talking about electric cars

right now

so what's in my shop well okay

not in not in not in jay's shop

but i mean you're a gear head i mean

you're a carburetor guy you're old


so from your side of the desk what do

you think about electric cars

so the building in front of us

there is a new electric car company and


pass by the front of the building every

single day

and what they're doing i don't know who


competing against or what their plans

are but they're building

i think they call it a skate but it's

basically a chassis

and their goal is to put other cars on

it like you mentioned honda civic but

i think they're taking the um the

mercedes suv

i forget what the name of that thing is

but whatever it is right um

i think they're going to use one of

those as a a model

and you you said you know tahoe escalade

so their plan is to

retrofit this chassis to other cars and

they've talked about taking

an old car the problem is width you know

old cars aren't as wide as new cars

at the wheelbase yeah okay there's an

interesting challenge with that one

you start making a wide body 58 apache

pickup it's going to look

weird well dig into that a little bit


so it there's a lot of people that might

not know that so

oh okay so i guess the newer cars are

wider than the older cars right

so how much of what's the problem there

it's the wheelbase and the wheel width

um so cars back in the old days

was just a frame with some sheet metal

set on top of it and today they're

they're structured engineered roll cages

right um

when you you take i mean like a a model

a for example which was a

1928 to 1931 that was a henry ford

product they were

wood structures with sheet metal nailed

to them literally

wood screws and wood nails and so you

imagine an accident in that

versus today's side curtain air bags and

safety glass and all that

crumple zones and you know a modern

modern vehicle is designed to cut the

frame off so they can just

discard the front end of it or the back

end i don't know if you've ever looked

underneath the pickup

see the frame has actual cut here marks

on them they don't say cut here but


no kidding yeah yeah and that's so when

they get a wreck and they're bent they


cut them off and they weld a new one on

so they're they're designed where

there's like a

the all this this the driver safety

cockpit you know you can get like well

what is it the smart car right

what is that the right little smart car

one looks like a golf cart yeah

yeah yeah you can't imagine somebody

driving that but then you go back and go

well i mean they had to make it safe

how'd they do it

so the structure of an old car and the

structure of a new car

completely different the sound dampening

the doors the features all that

so the the tires where they fit on an

old car

are not as wide as the new cars

so so why did they make the new cars

wider then was that a safety thing

uh i would be willing to bet it was


uh technology advancements you know

using the model as an example and i

referenced a 58 apache pickup

they had i-beam axles like semi-trucks

do okay

well everything's independent front and

rear suspension you know a 1991

ford explorer had a solid rear axle but

a new one doesn't

right they're just better gotcha they

get wider for

handling and i guess i mean i don't know


so kind of going forward you know

a little bit more on the electric car i

i've read some articles

right about some companies that are


classic cars right and then converting


into electric cars right so

so you take a you know i don't know

let's stick with the

57 corvette right so so i go to jay

and i say hey jay i got this 57 corvette

and now i want to make it electric how

sick to your stomach are you

when you hear this right so i've

actually had one customer

ask if there was technology

out there to do that feasibly

right now so if you're an electrical

engineer or you're a

electric car engineer right

it's probably not difficult at all if

you're just a dude

like you're a dude and i'm a dude like i

don't know how to do that do you try to

do that i don't know how to make a golf


you know yeah i understand the batteries

and the motors and i get electricity but

i don't know how to make it

right like what what does that take you


need more power i don't exactly i don't

know yeah so

to me that conversation means not my


because it's not what we do and we we

stay in our lane for what we do that way

we're good at what we do

but we're not good at that marketing

is minimal to me about electric car

conversions and restoration

with the exception of the business

that's in front of me and that's just in

front of me they're not marketing to me

they're just

right there yeah but you're driving by

them every day and you're thinking

thinking about the investments yeah

let's read an article about who the new


what's going on with this yeah and by

the way are they going to launch me into


maybe two months later because maybe

they've got a rocket ship

company behind them like elon and jeff

bezos and all those guys

the roof's not tall enough for a rocket

yet but uh we'll see what happens

now you never know i mean they might be

building rocket ship in there

i mean those electric car guys that

apparently it's

electric cars and rocket chips well that

yeah that's that's in austin right

yeah yeah exactly so there there's a


um a crate motor you know and that's

basically my wife asked this question

like why do they call it a crate motor

and i was like well

literally it shows up in a wooden crate

and you uncrate it therefore it is a

crate motor

it's that simple it's right it's in a

wooden box

and so there's a crate motor that is the

electric motor but it

looks like on the outside it looks like

a small block for a ford or a chevy

not dressed out in fancy but where you

could physically put it somewhere

and again i've not looked into this not

researched it i've not had you know

sure our guys want some gasoline you

know so right

carbureted or fuel injected but

generally fuel injected most but

yeah so yeah no that makes total sense

it in

before we get into the next part

actually reminded me about something

manual transmissions versus automatic


and i think for the most part

no one under the age of 25

unless they had a you know

certain right you know father

figure uncle figure something knows what

to do with their left foot

right in a car right like in

the way that you are in the car business

how much does that frustrate you um

that the manual transmission is almost

dead i mean

there's a couple of car companies that

are still hanging on right

and i mean i i love a clutch and i'm

going to give you a story here

in in a minute but i mean most people

don't know how to drive them an annual

transmission yeah so it would be

uh what would it be a security system

right yeah well they call it the

millennial security system

you know this is equipped with the

millennial security system it's a manual

transmission so they can't steal the car

because they can't drive it

right so there's a slogan from a company

um they're they're a large distributor

for manual transmission

retrofit styles and they have a really

cool logo

called save the stick and it's a

skeleton you know holding an exaggerated


shifter and and uh save the stick

is just their marketing about saving it

so in the

old car space you know you got three on

the tree and nobody even understands


right right you gotta but but the cool

part is if you don't know

if you're smart enough to use google

it's like show you the shift pattern

it's like

what you know so that one's not that

hard um but it's weird for people to get

it and

people that drive them love them

economically restoring it and keeping it

three on the tree is

less cost effective with lower


why is that you'll spend more money

restoring it because it's as old as it


and you'll spend more money restoring it

or or

if it wears out right so if it works it

works if it doesn't it doesn't it

clutches the clutch it's no big deal

um but when they're all torn up and worn

out you're you're dealing with the

column you're dealing with shift linkage

and you can't just go

buy those parts so a lot of times a guy

will just

put a new transmission in to have

modernization the other is

three on the tree versus a five speed

would you

all rather have a five speed right so it

used to be a four speed back in the day

now five speeds out six speeds out

right manual and um so a lot of times

that's worth it that goes

um i have a granny four-speed mine which


i can crawl through the the stop-and-go

traffic in first gear and not exceed

five miles an hour that's not exciting

right i'm not trying to pull a stump out

of the ground or anything like that but


so i want to get rid of that but i'm

gonna put a five speed in mine

so yeah i'm not frustrated by it at all

yeah so well

i know my my brother has a 1995 bmw m3

it was actually the first e36 m3 that

ever came over to the united states

he bought the first one he he still has

it to this day bought it brand new

he still takes it to and i don't want to

name them because

they're going to get embarrassed here he

still takes it to the dealership

he bought it from for oil changes

all that good stuff right the last time

he took it to the dealership the

porter that came up to take the car back

got in the car then got back out of the

car and said i can't drive this

right why is there an extra pedal

right literally at a bmw

dealership right they have people that

cannot drive manual transmissions

now it on the flip side of that story a

friend of mine

bought a corvette i don't remember

the year of it it was i think a c6 or or

something like that

and i said well i need to you know take

this out for a spin and he looked at me


well can you drive a manual i said well

of course you know i'm a child of the

90s i mean i

i grew up knowing how to drive a manual


used to you didn't even think about that


you know if you told your buddy you know

hey take my car

you didn't have to say hey can you drive

a manual transmission

now you actually have to right and

that's scary

right i mean it really is or we always

just call it you know

where the cool kids are you know the

cool cool kids know yeah

okay yeah and and i truly wish i i still

had one of my old beamers

that i could have taught my kids how to

drive because all my old beamers had

manual transmissions and it was like you

know there's a reason why your left foot

is on an automatic transmission

sits over to the left and doesn't do

anything because your left foot

is supposed to control that clutch right

and when you don't have a clutch

then your left foot just gets to rest


entire time and and so i daily drive

this 70 pickup and it and it's old and

it it's

it's got wear and we have some new parts

we're waiting on some more new ones

um i like the interactivity

you know like i do not touch my phone

when i'm driving because

i mean again i drive an old vehicle but

i have to have a hand on the shifter and

a hand on the steering wheel

and being that it's old i mean i don't

have lane sensing i don't have

cameras i don't have i don't have


and it's lowered so you know yeah and

you don't have a backup camera

and you don't have all these other

technologies there's no uh

traction control and all this stuff


even though we talk about self-driving

vehicles which we're going to get into

here in a minute

a lot of the newer vehicles take care of

so much of that

for you that way back in the day you

didn't have any lock breaks

you didn't have all this extra stuff

you were driving a machine right now you

drive a computer

so today one of our uh customers we're

building a

bronco for him but he drove he drives to

our shop

in his other bronco that we built and he

has a 68 bronco you know tops off

you know so the wind noise the whole

deal and he loves it and

he's he's a businessman right so he he

needs to be on his phone all the time

he's at his computer all the time he's

got appointments he's this and that and

so he drives the bronco and he's

you know a little sweaty on a day like

today and he's uh hair's messed up

obviously and and or he's wearing a hat

whichever one

but he was telling me today you know

it's because it's manual transmission

and he

we replaced the clutch in it recently

and he's enjoying the fact that when

he's not

in a regular car he's driving a machine

like you said and he's

he has to be more aware one people are

looking at it and trying to run him over

he's not as fast as everybody

but oh it's a beautiful beautiful blue

uh bronco

if you like broncos and a lot of people

do yeah well i don't know well

well i was thinking is it a white bronco

when does he have a picture of o.j and


i i always wanted a 90s bronco

with like an oj cutout that i could just


like a little chain in the front just

for somebody behind me to have o.j

just pop up a little bit love hanging

yeah so this is the early broncos so the

body style before that

and uh so it's you know older and even

cooler but

so but he was he was describing you know

the wind noise

the fact that the steering is not the

same as a new car and the fact that he

has to shift the gears and he's not as


and and he doesn't have gps and nav and

all that so he but he was enjoying the


right so he's he can drive down the road

in his regular truck

and he can be on the phone all day long

go from appointment appointment when

he's in the bronco

sorry man can't talk right now it's the

disconnect i mean i

i have a harley davidson right and i

think about these guys that buy these


you know dresser bikes that have the

deal that hooks up

in a helmet if you want to wear a helmet

and you have the screen

and you can get phone calls i'm like i

don't want to get a phone call

on my bike no you know i want to ride my


leave me alone i'm on my bike

just leave me alone and i think it's the

same deal with the bronco guy

yeah it's that same thing so

self-driving i mean here we go we i mean


so with the cusp with tesla's right now

right i mean they're so close i

i've been on uh

what was it i think uh 183 and i

remember a guy in a tesla

that shot past me at 80 miles an hour


eating a bowl of cereal while his car is

driving him

i mean are we losing that skill of

actually driving because we are

putting too much into the car

to take care of us well i mean so that's

an interesting question right because on

one hand

it's is society really dumbed down

and do we need to like protect ourselves


society so that the car does the work

you know

um like the vehicles that have the

lane changing technology right right now

it's okay to go to the bar and drink too

much because the car can get you home

right is that a good is that a good way

to use that technology or is it better


you know you drift off to sleep at two

in the morning on a long road trip

you know in the middle of nowhere and

catch a road sign

or you know flip your car and die you

know so in those cases

cool um we were in las vegas

our big industry trade show is called

sema which is all the aftermarket parts

for cars

and uh we were off of fremont street and

if you if you leave fremont street and

you go to

i don't know if it's called old fremont

there's this really cool

old you know and it's crunchy down there

um but it's cooler than the

the marketed side and um they have these

little taxi cabs that you just

get in them and they drive you and then

you just get out there was no person in

them at all

wow and so in that case like in it how

long ago was that

two years ago oh okay yeah so

actually longer longer ago than i


and then there weren't like a million of

them sure and it wasn't in the high

volume areas well

we weren't in high volume errors to know

but i could totally see

that technology being fine in those

applications for now

you know the foreseeable three to five

year you know technology advance

where you take downtown dallas and they

already have the rented scooters and all

those things i

think i think that's going to happen um

the weird one is

you take drone technology i was at a

back before covid we actually went to

chamber of commerce meetings there at

the texas motor speedway

and the guy talking was talking about

how amazon is out at

you know alliance corridor and out at

the um

they're at the airport but they're also

in that area and they've

rented um i don't know you call it an

airplane hangar or business space at the

airport because

they've got that whole drone technology

for packages

and he was talking about where that's

going where they do this now in big

cities where

you get an uber uber or lift off the

roof of a building

and a helicopter flies you to the

airport they're going to take

drone technology to packages to people

and have that and i'm over there going

man that's

yeah that's but if you're in new york i

mean that makes sense right now

yeah to get to the airport yeah very

dense cities all that

yeah that makes total sense so

the customer that comes to you right


i want a car right you know right so

how does somebody come to you and say

i want you to go ahead and create me a


like it what do they normally do what


things did they need to bring to you to

say hey

i want jay i want a car

yeah so there's two kinds of people that

engage in that conversation

um and i don't know if it's 50 50

it might be again there's no scientific


but there's the kind of person that

remembers you know

you said the 90s in the 90s to build a

car was

i don't know 10 15 000

and today it's not um 10 or 15 000

doesn't get you

out the door with a running driving

vehicle so one

one customer has no real idea you know

grandpa passed away and they got the

truck off the farm and they want to

build it

and we'll look them over and kind of

throw a number at them that's in the

you know 50 to 80 000 range and and

they're they're shocked

right so then they usually try to figure

out okay

what can i do and when you tell them

it's like

no 10 or 15 000 doesn't get you all the

things that you asked for

and here's why um those people

are either frustrated sell the vehicle

don't do anything with it

and then other people understand like um

if you were to go down and buy a brand

new escalade today or a brand new bmw

what's the sticker price on one of those

yeah i mean over a hundred

yeah i mean like a what just just a

pickup these days is between 60 and 90.


which is ridiculous right but then you

start talking about

let's look at the the hellcat or you

look at the

the you know the rs camaros or you look

at the gt500 mustangs

and those things hit 100 grand so we're

talking about taking a vehicle that

is old everything about it is worn out

is beat to death hopefully not beat to

death but nothing on it

but probably close to be today yeah well

you we'd like to start on them when they

haven't been wrecked out or something


but none of the rubber is good so no

door seals no bushings no shocks

nothing nothing's good and then you

throw the variable that today's roadways

i mean

70 80 miles an hour is how you need to

drive well back

then you didn't you know well that's a

good point

i mean i mean what way back in the day i

mean speed limit

55 right i mean yes people exceeded the

speed limit right but

everybody was driving around at 55 yeah

hang on jay it let me get you an alien l

uh let me grab this here there you go

crack that open have you an alien ale


this one's made in texas right yeah i

think i've had this before yeah

it's from the nacona brewery uh it's one

of our sponsors

uh alienal beer what do you think of

that that is

very smooth that is some tasty beer

the mighty tasty beverage yes yes so

uh if somebody comes to you

and and is kind of thinking about hey i

want you to go ahead and rebuild this


what should they look for because i i

mean i know you're not it

you don't have this lot right of all

these cars to build for

from or whatever so they've got to kind

of bring you the shell so to speak

so what should they look for before they

bring you a project

rust rust okay so a long time ago

i'm i mean 20 years ago

i got i got bit by the bug to have one

of these old cars and i had a friend who

had one and that's how that bike got

fully set

and i mean i always liked cars but he

gave me some advice that is still true

to this day and i give to everyone

you buy a running driving car

and always buy the nicest one you can


but also always know that you're going

to spend money on it

so we had

we had a customer bought his first

classic car he's in his early to mid

or mid mid 30s ish and he bought a

really cool mercury

um a 50 merc so a chopped mercury right

i mean alan jackson saying about you got

to have a mercury right

beautiful car iconic everybody knows

that a mercury is just i mean it's a

beautiful beautiful

car especially 50s mercs so he buys one

and it needs all kinds of things it's a

nice car it's just old and so

everything's just

old there's nothing wrong it's just it's


yeah so i mean he needs tires break

shots hey hey let's admit

i mean we're not spring chickens yeah

elbow yeah there's nothing wrong with us

but we're kind of

old too so yeah so and

only if we're lucky right so when i talk

to people about the cars is if

you're going to buy one always buy one

that runs and drives

and that way you're assuming

by being able to drive it one the

steering wheel works the engine works

the brakes work

you can sit and drive it then you start

to make it yours no different than

buying a used motorcycle

buy one with all the accessories that

that you want already on it and then

you're not starting from zero at the


sure so if you buy one that runs and

drives the

most thing that you want to look at is

are the floors in it

you know um we had a guy several years

ago that

he had a convertible mustang and they

made millions of mustangs

millions so it's not like a rare one it


special it's just he had owned it for 15

years and we pulled the seats out pulled

the carpet out and then i went whoa man

like before we start like you may want

to think about buying a different car

and i have his money already right yeah

and so

i'm like this this the minute i cut this

floor up and we pulled the seats off the

floor they we didn't unbolt them we just

pulled them out

that's how bad the floors were they're

bolted down okay so we pull them out

without taking bolts out it's a bad deal

well they sell all the parts right so

the logic is well they sell the floor


can't you just put one in well yeah

fifteen thousand dollars later we have

all the metal repaired in the bottom of

that car

but i told him up front look this is

going to get expensive you should look

at a different car again yeah

i want this one like oh okay

well okay so that guy ran out and

bought that car right so that might be

different than that

hey here's the car that i had when i was

a kid

so the same car i want you to

go ahead and take care of this car


some guy saying hey i always wanted a

you know

let's use a mustang i always wanted a 65


i don't have one now i got this one it's


maybe you ought to go find a different

65 mustang because you don't have that

emotional attachment

right this specific card on that subject

we have that conversation up front like

like anybody that has a sales job you're

you qualify your customer

first right you find out if they're a

valid customer you find out if they have


for their project i'm not we're not

taking anybody's money but right you

need to fund your project they are


so we have those conversations up front

a lot of people are really disappointed

because there is an emotional attachment

this was

free you know grandpa passed away it's


what do we do and it's like well i mean

you're looking at a 15 000

rush repair bill and an engine's 10

grand and you know paint jobs

20 30 grand oh geez you know i'm out

right well then that's sad right because

nobody wants especially on our side of

the world

we don't want to see these cars go away

they just need to go to someone that

understands what they're

going to get into we we're very careful

as careful as possible to make sure our

customers educated not to get in over

their head

one of the things that happens is you

know barrett jackson you mentioned tv

show barrett-jackson probably one of the


advertised car auctions everybody knows

what that is and if you don't it's

entertaining to watch for 20 minutes on

a saturday

i've seen it happen in our town where

guys go out to barrett-jackson they buy

a car

and it's beautiful i mean beautiful

they buff the paint on the underneath

side of the hood the dash

yeah but it but is it that camera


where you know cameras lie the car i'm

talking about i saw in person

beautiful okay they did not restore the


brakes steering motor so the guy paid a

high price for a gorgeous car

and not all of it was restored um

a friend of mine we were we're at the

good guys car show this past weekend

and a friend of mine has this really

cool two-door wagon and this other local


i'm new friends with but he owns a

couple of really cool cars

and car guys trade right sure your car's

worth x so is mine

let's swap well the difference is one


is beautiful on the exterior and not

necessarily fully restored underneath

and the other car is well so if you make

that trade

one guy is buying or trading a car that

needs mechanic work

and that would be where when i when i

get people to look at cars is you don't

want to pay money for a high dollar

painted car to find out there's a

terrible paint job

so you you know know going in what

you're getting into

right so it's almost better to buy a car

that hasn't been painted so that you can


what what is under that old paint my dad

would call that an

earl shy paint job yes yes

which is about five grand today used to

be 500 bucks so yeah yeah

no exactly right exactly so so

now i'm going to hit you with kind of a

lightning round

okay i'm i'm gonna hit you with some

stuff we didn't talk about before

we sat down unfortunately

you're probably going to prove a couple

of points

to people that i disagree with

okay uh with some of these no no

no you'll be good yeah you'll be good

there so

the delorean okay

greatest car in the world no i mean i

don't know if it was the greatest car

they're cool right i mean especially at

88 miles an hour

yeah well i mean well yeah yeah you got

the back to the future thing so

so that's the car that i want right

i i will eventually have one one of

these days my wife

thinks it's the ugliest car ever today

they're not ugly at all they're like

again you know

you said child of the 90s i don't know

how old you are i was graduating high

school in the 90s but

i mean the deloreans are cool yeah

they're underpowered

yes that's the prv motor sucked it it's

a six cylinder

it was not fast but i bet you could put

an ls in one

and and hit a four or 500 horsepower

pretty quick okay so that's a good segue


so so what about people that

turn around and they change

all this stuff in cars right so like

the delorean or or let's pick any other

car and you say

you know a mustang or a chevelle or

something like that

and then you say well i'm gonna yank the

motor out and put an

ls1 in it right to me

that ruins the car i like originality

right but it seems like now everything's

kind of

trending towards you know the right

the modern technology or whatever so

where's the classic car thing going with

you know it cars that have been changed


so um i i mean again i live and breathe

in a space where we change cars

flat out i don't do original

restorations in my shop and i tell

every single person that asks about an


like nut and bolt original restoration

we don't do it

and the reason is because i i lose

interest in finding out where the bolts

go and what bolt was there and the

concourse all that stuff

it doesn't interest me whereas there's a

brain out there that is fascinated by


the exact hose clamp that they used in

1952 and whatever

right right so

again you're talking to a guy that rips

those motors out and puts new ones in

hot rodding from the very beginning

right the the very beginning of hot


probably when it took off was the guys

coming back from world war ii

well in war they had to do what they had

to do with what they had so the guys

that came back and they knew how to fix

things they knew how to make things work

they knew how to

rob parts off of x and put it in y and

they figured out how to adapt

this to that to make it work those guys

came back from the war

and hot rodding took off it's where drag

racing started um because

forever it has been you get this the

lightest weight body

that's out there and you put the biggest

motor with the highest technology in it

that's available

right that's quintessential hot rod 101.

so today

you have a group of people that are

purist hot rod where you can put a motor

in it that's newer

you know using 1929 as an example nobody

wants that or keep up with your


i mean not not a not right not a zero

turn because those are fast and model a


25 miles an hour maybe 30 on a good day

so you put a bigger motor in them but

where do you stop

um when do you put a newer motor so the


i'll use model as an example we just

finished one

it has a 1965 motor in it

right so it's 1929 with a 1965.

but he has a new ish 2010 transmission

oh you can't see the transmission but

you get the benefits of its computer

controlled we can program it

right it's still carbureted but he has a

modern and he has

he has oh so so now you got kind of a

little hybrid

in there because we talked about

computers controlling cars so

now you've got these classic cars that

have a little bit of computer but not

full computer right so to finish the

previous question about what do you


we view like when we're customizing a


our job is to make it nicer than the

factory did

we we have a 69 firebird in our shop now

and the headlights bolted on they called

him a bumper which was

i didn't know that we were looking for

the bumper and it turns out it's the


and we're all going where's the bumper

because on a camaro it's a bumper and

we're going

well i wouldn't have called that a

bumper to call that a grill because it

looks like a grill but it's the bumper

gotcha when you put it together you

understand it's all structural and all

this but

there was this ugly one-inch rubber

strip that went between the headlight

bezel and the fender

and it's dumb looking and the lines

don't line up

and the customer was like this is always

ugly it never looks good it looks


a year later if you wash the car 10

times what can we do

so we completely modified the way this

looks and we're not the only ones that

ever did it we just figured out a way to

do it in our shop and

and we cleaned it up we eliminated the

rubber trim

and we were but we were doing neat

things like

why did gm do that was it because they

used the camaro fender and they didn't

want to make a new one

and they kind of ran out of time and the

engineers just went well here's a piece

of rubber

but it was ugly and you go on the

internet and you look at the headlight

bezels on the 69 firebird and it's


and we made it smooth nice so we broke

the rules

but it is appealing and so we do that

right you can move trim

you can change i can chop the top on a

car and drop it three inches and we

change suspension all the time and lower

them and

put a wider tire on them and make a

fender wider and with a 65 mustang in

the shop

we didn't build it but we're finishing

it and it has 67 quarter panels on it

because they're wider

allows the guy to run a wider tire it's

cool looking

gotcha so so we live in that world i'm

all for it

yeah so no i get that so

now i'm gonna alien ale is good by the

way yeah it's fantastic

so i'm gonna put you on the spot

i'm gonna go with the number five but we

don't necessarily have to do five


what would you say people should go out


and search out to bring to your shop

and let you create cars you know with

maybe three cars maybe four cars i mean

i'd like to hear

five cars but i mean that those top cars

where you say

hey these are the ones that you actually

should go out there

seek out try to find like you say

running driving

maybe they're a little ugly but they

start up and the steering works and all


but that you would love to just show up

to your shop

and you would say we're gonna do a

fantastic job on this right this was a

excellent choice for you to buy this car

and you're gonna be super happy with it


here's my question is this what i want

to build

or what i think is a practical build for

the average consumer

yes oh all right so

so i dream about a 1935

ford five-window coupe and i dream about

it only because it's in a barn in

weatherford and i know it's there

and the guy's not doing anything with it

and i really want to do something to

that car

okay so that's kind of funny you bring

up 1935.

what about a 1935 chevy

so yeah the 35 chevy's cool too so that

was my father's

first car yeah and he would love to have

one but he would

probably not want to deal with you

because he wants it 100

original you know doesn't want anything


you know he wants that old school


the mess of that car was so the reality

for your dad

would be you can buy one that runs and

drives that is original

and then you're just maintaining a car

which we will do

yeah i would never recommend

start with a barn find of something

that's just barely there and rusty and

say i want to build it all that's

right and that's where that line for me

is on that subject is

if and that a friend of mine they bought

a car at

uh the paid swap meet which is the you

know the big swap meet in the area

and it was a it might have been a 58 but

i think it was a 59 cadillac

and these two guys were doing plumbing

work in oklahoma

and the lady you know the bill was big

and she took him down to the barn and

said hey would you guys take this

car this old blue car in trade for some

of the work

well if grandpa's 59 cadillac right

so they say yes they haul the car over


um paint swap me they're not mechanics

they're plumbers

and they sell the car to a friend of

mine who is a mechanic and he gets this

car running

right it has the tiniest amount of rust

on it is

100 original in which case you would

spend a couple of grand

cleaning it doing spark plugs and

carburetor and you know

right drive that car i would never touch

that car drive that until it fell apart

buy one out of farmer brown's field that

got parked 25 years ago

and and the mice and the rats and the

the snakes and the

you know squirrels have all lived in it

who cares if that one's original or not

right right and that would be where i

draw the line is if you're missing parts

and you're buying parts buy cooler parts

make it and that's where that car

makes sense then you're in your dad's

case just buy one because you can you

can find them that run and drive they're


i want a high rod one so i i don't want

that one that runs and drives that's


i want the one that the motor is seized

you got to pull it anyway

yeah and so you're going to make it cool

correct yeah yeah you got to be able to

drive them

and now you got to be able to drive them

75 miles an hour so

the 35 ford not because i'm a ford guy

just because i know where that one's at

right um if i'm giving advice to someone

about buying a car in the state of texas

you can't go wrong with pickups

and right if you're talking about the

practicality which you said yes to both

if you're talking about the practicality

of what to restore

and you're talking about buying a

running and driving vehicle

if you buy an oddball parts are scarce

harder to find someone to work on you're

going to spend a lot more money

restoring that vehicle than you are

something common makes sense

we learned something in the spring good

guys we we built this

good looking 1954 pickup

the goal of the build was drivable clean

nice reliable drivable so we didn't do

anything amazing to the truck

it turns out we didn't win we didn't win

a trophy for the truck either

we the truck will win something at like

a smaller car show venue or a ford venue

just beautiful truck right all the

people that liked it were

drooling over all the details but again

it was simple it was basically stock


modern motor modern chassis what we

learned was

the 51 ford is more popular and the 55

ford is even more popular so if you were

given advice to a consumer and you said


i'd like to invest in something you

steer away from the oddball items

like 1948 ford harder to work on

55 ford drop 150 000 in that and you're

blowing people's minds

right the same thing like i drive a 70

c10 and that year range is 68 to 72.

if someone were to buy something that

runs and drives buy one of those

and the reason is because they're never

going to be

less popular ever a 70

dodge i personally think are super cool

they're called swept line and they're

just different

but they're not popular the ford guy

will never buy the dodge

the chevy guy will never buy the dodge

the dodge guy will but there's less of

them it's just a less popular vehicle

can you make a cool car out of it of

course you can

super super cool examples in magazines

and such but you're going to work harder

so the advice would be stick with

something that's available

um so what did i hit i hit so you got

two now i got two all right so

um recently was mark at an opportunity

at a

uh a 50 mercury um i've got a cousin in

nebraska who

sent me pictures of a for 49 to 51 was a

body style

and um my cousin was like hey check out

this car it's in this garage this old


and i was like always buy a mercury

right so just always do that because

they're always popular and even if it's


like the the customer slash he's become

a friend we really enjoy him as a


because he's really enjoying his car he

bought a 50 mercury 49 mercury

um you can't go wrong

you you buy them you make them better

and you move forward so

is that three that's three i got three

all right and then yeah you gotta

you gotta give me two more so so once so

you've got

it old school from 30s you got to pick

up from the 70s you

you're in the 50s with mercury's yeah

let's hit the 60s

you want to hit the 60s yeah get give me

something from the 60s

so mid 60s chevy pickups

again can't go wrong you know 60 61

60 60 162 they had a called a knee

knocker cab

not as popular you get into 64 through


um they are forever popular they're

iconic they're beautiful you can't can't

go wrong with one of those

and then um the 50s is the same but you

said good 60s

one of the other rules is if you find a

model a you buy it

so model a's are 28 to 31 if you can

find a complete

full fendered model a you always want to

buy one of those

but you have to want to hot rod those

because you don't want to restore one

there right they're worth about 15 grand


cost you 80 to restore one wow and for

80 you can have a

350 400 horsepower hot rod so exactly

google practicalities um okay okay so

last one number five

number five the the unicorn the magikarp

what what is the magic car that you


you would love when you showed up to

your shop

tomorrow somebody brings this on a

trailer and says

all right jay i need you to fix this up


what what is that car that you were

sitting there saying

god this is the one i've been looking to

fix up

so there's a trend in uh car sales

i i don't know if you see this in your

your side of life

um instead of selling a car for 20 or 30


they're doing auctions um you may see it

in motorcycles but i don't know if you


so uh there's different websites

different people they'll auction a car

the raffle tickets 100 bucks 200 bucks

whatever it is and when they sell out of

tickets they hold the auction

tickets are for sale until they sell the

30 or 50 or 100 or however many

um i've never bid on one

until a guy posted a 40 mercury

so 1940 mercury um we actually have one

in our shop

the problem with the one we have in our

shop is somebody restored it in the 80s

and they kind of hacked it up a bit

i'm fixing it i mean it that car

actually has a special place in my heart


um back in the original customizer days

of the early 50s

george and sam barris are famous um

iconically forever famous in the

customizing space and

they chopped a particular style it was

california customizer so they had a


and one of the famous cars is the

matranga merc

so this guy named nick matranga and he

commissioned them to build a car

and it became the style

it's like that everybody copies it and

so if i could get my hands on an

uncut mercury and stylize it

not copying it but in my own way

that would be something i'd be super

excited about nice

no i like it so jay tell everybody

how they can get a hold of you get a

hold of your shop

you know you probably got some people

sitting here saying

you know i i want to run out i want to

get a car and i'm i

want to do that because i'm i'm sick and

tired of the new cars and

all that so how can we get a hold of you

so we have a traditional website

it's not sexy just because i'm not sure

if that's where you need to spend your

money but uh

it's riggsfabrication.com um

we're on instagram uh that's actually me

posting it not anybody else it's uh at

riggsfab just fab um i try to keep that

relatively active

we have a youtube channel riggs

fabrication and restoration

um google works google maps

even when we were at texas motor

speedway this we kept telling people

just put rigs into google

while you're here and we're gonna pop up

five miles down the road so

um so we're riggs fabrication and


with website facebook page is the same

our emails phone numbers all that are

listed in every one of those places easy

easy to find

cool well hey jay thanks for stopping by

spending some time with us we enjoyed it

and uh we will catch you

on the next one sounds good thank you

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the wolf and the shepherd podcast

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