Q&A: Tim Strange of Strange Motion Rod & Custom - Builder Spotlight
im Strange stepped into the automotive spotlight years ago and is still revered as one of the most talented and creative builders in the game. We recently checked in with Tim to get some insight into his world and gain a bit of perspective on how he gets the job done- the Strange Motion way.
I think coming from the small rural background, it gave me my work ethic, and not being scared to do anything. Growing up on the farm we did it all ourselves, welding, mechanical, paint, body, wiring. I started small in the middle of nowhere, and I am still a one-man shop.
I have been lucky to have had a TV show for a couple years. On that we did some tech, so people could learn to do things at home. But, we also helped people out by building a project that had meaning to them, bringing a little joy to their lives. One family we built a car for, it totally changed their lives. The husband, through some exposure and contacts gained through the show, is now working in the hot rod industry. One family, a company started a college fund for his kids- very life changing. On the other side, some of the volunteers that came and helped on the show, they gained exposure, got busier, some had to hire more employees and even move to a bigger location, again changing lives.
The print world, which I still believe in, has been very good to me. Our past work has been featured in over 350 magazines around the world. This includes build features, ad campaigns, and tech articles. When I was younger, I never really dreamed about winning any awards, I just wanted to get a car in a magazine.
Building custom vehicles for clients is still what I like to do. I like being able to create a dream car, to build something exciting and different, to make the client happy. I first received press when I was younger by building a weird or different body style. I still like doing different things. I have quite a few ideas, but finding the right client is always the challenge. By staying as a small, one-man shop, I don’t take everything that comes my way. The people must be cool. Someone I feel we can create with and bounce ideas off each other.
Advice to Future Builders
Do not give up. Remember why you started doing this in the first place. If I would have quit every time someone told me I couldn’t do it, or a door closed in my face or ran into a wall, I wouldn’t have lasted even through my first build.
Work as hard as you can each day, find something you are not the best at, and work hard to improve each time you do it, making each project better than the last. This industry is not for the 9 to 5’er and not for the ones that give up easy. Try to understand each part of the build. If you want to concentrate on metal, and you understand the bodywork that comes next, it will make you a better metal person. If you want to concentrate on bodywork, and you know and understand some metal work, it will make you a better body person. Too many of the (TV) shows don’t show the dirty stuff, you will scrape under coating, you will burn yourself, you will lay on your back, wet sanding above your head. Growing up on the farm, I learned it’s not all pretty, but it has to be done.
Figure out how to manage your time. A lot of this jumps out to me a lot. Being a one-man shop, you don’t want to waste movements and time. I got to be a good time manager, as we had to build the projects in 4 weeks with a bunch of awesome builders. Break the builds down in your head in segments, and check points, and hit them. Keep the time wasters out of the shop. I work with the door locked by appointment only because I do work by myself. I can’t stop all the time.
Outside of the Shop
Along with the building of projects, I announce live race events around the country- from autocross to drag racing. Gets me out of the shop a little and still get to some cool events. I have been a part of some cool things, even MCing a couple week long charity events with car people on a cruise ship for charity.
For stress relief, my wife and I run a BMX race team with around 30 riders on it. I feel BMX and hot rods share a lot of the same things- speed, style, color.
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