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Hot Rod Industry Alliance Pays Tribute on Father's Day

This Sunday, fathers will be honored for many things. For the Hot Rod Industry Alliance (HRIA), this is also a time to pay tribute to those men who have passed down the love of the hobby to their own kids. Walk through any typical American neighborhood and you will see garage doors open with classic cars inside and wrenches being turned. For enthusiasts, the time spent in the garage is about much more than finding ways to make more horsepower, get the car running for the next local show or just cruising through your hometown with a sense of pride. It is about life, passion and, most importantly, building memories with your kids. This is the story of hot rodding. This is the story of America. And, this is how the industry will continue and thrive long into the future.

  George Major with his ’57 Chevy stock car.

HRIA reached out to its membership and asked them to pay tribute to dads and share their stories and their pictures. Throughout the month of June, HRIA will do just that. Visit the HRIA Facebook page to read these stories and create your own. Here is a glimpse of what you will find:

I learned a great deal helping my father at his Texaco station, working on street rods, stock cars and the occasional classic truck. He inspired me to do the highest-quality work possible at anything I did, regardless of how small the task, and he instilled in me a passion for hot rods, especially the classic pickup trucks.

When I started Bed Wood and Parts, it was that passion from my childhood that fueled this business.

 Our family, comprised of my wife, myself and four children (ages nine, 13, 14 and 16), are currently building a project together as I write—a ’29 Model A hot-rod pickup, and they attend several shows with me throughout each year. I think it is very important, and my duty as a father, to expose our children to opportunities to be involved in the industry and serve others through various life experiences.

—Jeff Major, Bedwood Parts

  John McLeod (left) and his dad at the top of the famous race course Pike's Peak.

My father has everything to do with why I’m in this industry, and I mean everything!

My grandfather owned a pattern-making shop in Detroit (Lincoln model). He was a pattern/model maker as my father was. My grandfather died before I was born and my father was too young to take over the family business, so he continued to work in the industry during the ’50s and ’60s. My dad was one of those guys who knocked off the hub caps and raced at Detroit Drag Strip or on Woodward Avenue.

My dad tired of the Detroit grind. He said he was starting to see the writing on the wall for the industry, loaded up our family and moved to Boyne City, Michigan, where we owned a local greenhouse and florist shop.

Dad was one of those men who was able to fix or build anything, and this is how my brother and I were brought up—working on cars, trucks, lawn mowers and all the mechanical devices that are in and around a greenhouse (farm)-type world. There was always something that needed fixing, and we never called for help; we had to figure it out.

After high school, I went back to Detroit to Motech (Chrysler Trade School) and graduated and never looked back. Cars have always been a part of my life. It became a hobby for 11 years as I went back to college and then the police academy, after which I worked as a police officer until I started managing Great Lakes Motor Works building and restoring hot rods and restoration projects. I still do 16 years later. Hardly a week goes by where I do not call Dad and have some type of question or head over to his garage to help him with a project that he is tinkering with.

Ten years ago, I became the owner of Classic Instruments and my dad still is close by and continues to help me whenever I need it (which is often). He never ceases to amaze me with what he knows and remembers (and all sorts of cool little tricks). And with building Classic Instruments and working on cars, I really need my dad around. The greatest thing to happen in the past two years is my younger brother (Jason) has come to work at Classic Instruments, too. He is one of the builders in the custom shop.

Yes, without my Father, living my dream would have never happened (of course, the hard work ethic I got from my mom).

—John McLeod, Classic Instruments