Text by Joseph Gustafson : Photos by Guy Haynie : Issue 43
“I wish someone would just f*cking think.”
…Ok I like Kirk already, because this quote of his came bursting out towards the beginning of our initial conversation – with regards to the Hot Rod Scene. Needless to say, I got juiced with his vibe immediately. Think McFly… think.
Because like Kirk, I just don’t get the boomer vibe around hot rods anymore.
Sure, all these top builds are statistically amazing.
But dude – just look at what it costs to buy/build one these days. The Hawaiian Shirt brigade is throwing down six-figures on these cars. They’re all the basic cables can talk about, and they’re always held out as the height of rebel cool. But it’s majorly self-contradicting.
Because NEWSFLASH seniors… no rebel in the 50s ever built a hot rod with that much cash. In fact, the greasers you’re trying to pay homage to – would probably blow cigarette smoke in your face.
Kirk gets that. He’s tremendously protective toward the essence of hot rodding culture. Not just the gift wrap… but the grit of it. And true to form, he ‘hands-on’ built this car in his garage over a few years for around 15k. Yeah 15k.
Maybe a lil more, maybe a lil less… he doesn’t really know. But in lieu of sizable bank withdrawals, Kirk’s ‘32 Ford has untold hours of labor, massage, vision, & tweaks behind it.
Full garage custom. Not ‘come pick it up in 6 months’ custom.
Kirk James runs a custom casting biz called Crafty-B. He’s crazy for casting (had to do it)… sand-casting in particular. And this car was the spark to the Crafty-B endeavor. Go online and check out his gas caps for example. The intricacy of his products are insane. It is truly an art form.
This old Ford began as a rusted-out shop prop with an Olds Motor & gasser stance.
Watching some of the chop/resto/custom shows on TV, Kirk got irked by the hollow & scripted Hollywood portrayals of the culture. Yelling at the tube, he got motivated to bring his Ford out of dormancy.
‘The windshield’ of the car actually set the tone for the build. The nucleus, if you will. It was made from 8 casted parts and took a month to complete. He’ll never build another one lol.
In the front end alone, there are 37 casted parts. More obvious is the grille, the wheels, and the hood. The vision was to pull form styling cues from the past… honing in on streamlined trains & vintage aircraft.
Kirk’s taste for custom parts don’t just stop skin-deep. This car was rebuilt & rethought from the inside-out, down to the smallest details. The frame, front axle, and body remain original. The rest is custom through & through. And the Ford – is now powered by a Chevrolet 350.
Kirk finds his jollies hitting various car shows, and posting the Ford front & center amongst all the six-figure money-dump builds. It’s not that his car is ‘better’ than the others… but it’s the one he’d rather drive home. Because some things just can’t be bought, and some things just can’t be taught. Hot-rodder mentality.
Buy his gas caps and support his business. Dude’s legit. And that’s getting harder & harder to find that in today’s world.