BS Industries
Variety is the spice of life, and Bodie Stroud of BS Industries says it's also the emerging landscape of hot rodding. Previously, Bodie was a pre-'64 kind of guy, then he moved it up to 1970, since customers were asking. Now he's embracing rods rolling well into the '70s. As such, Bodie has been able to work with a wide audience of customers and styles. That's ideal for a young shop in a down economy, and even during the worst months of 2008-2009, Bodie was able to keep his project calendar full and his employees busy. That broad-based approach also resulted in many complete builds over the past three years, two appearances on Hot Rod TV, and enough revenue to move to a larger location.

Even with builds as diverse as the Ford GT-powered '60 Starliner, a nuts-and-bolts Boss 429 restoration, and a traditional hot rod-inspired '31 Plymouth coupe to name a few, Bodie has been able to witness a few trends emerging. Perhaps most pervasive has been customers looking for trend-proof cars. Not because they're depreciation proof-because they're not-but in the sense that they maintain broad appeal. Styles come and go, but well-built cars that retain their original character have much greater staying power than ones that can be easily placed in a certain era. The recently completed Scarliner '60 Starliner is an excellent example; it features a well-sorted Art Morrison chassis with a Ford GT engine and Porsche GT3 carbon metallic brakes, and blends them with stone-stock bodylines and trim, effectively making it trend-proof. Tired of the current 18- and 20-inch billet wheels? The Scarliner would look just as killer with just about any rolling stock. If the owner were to ever be willing to part with those awesome brakes, we could even see steelies and Pro Street meats under the 'liner, or even wide whites and hubcaps. And since it's a body-on-frame car, it could even technically be returned to near stock appearance-all without altering the rest of the car.

Tied to that is a renewed interest in stock and restored cars. Currently Bodie has three stock or mildly modified builds in the shop and has had inquires from other customers. Why is a hot rod shop restoring? "It doesn't matter what's currently 'cool,' a really nice stock car always has appeal," Bodie says. Think of it as a bit of a backlash against all the extremely modified, over-the-top show cars out of the past few years. It's just the natural ebb and flow. Maybe that's why Bodie's also seen a growing interest in stock Ford Model Ts and As among some fellow serious hot rod builders; they're seeking the simple purity of the early Ford. We have to admit we love that idea; we've been jonesing for a T pickup to tool around in ever since our friend Rick Stanton over at Performance Engine Building hauled one of his 700-plus horsepower Ford Clevelands to the dyno in the bed of his beautifully restored '16 T truck.

Perhaps most fascinating of all, however, is an apparent change of perception of certain cars' values. Bodie had to embrace cars all the way into the '70s because those more affordable cars are losing stigma and gaining appeal. There's really no such thing as "the wrong year" or body style anymore, and it's not necessarily about being different. Because the "Grade B" cars cost much less to buy, people can afford to sink more money and better parts into them and go have fun. "Those cars are another decade older now and guys remember riding in them when they were young," Bodie says. "Plus they can drive them without fear-there's less to lose."

BS Industries