Tim Strange grew up around anything mechanical…being a broke farm kid, they worked on everything their selves, but they had tools, so it was natural for him to tear stuff apart and try to figure out how it worked…from a little grommet he spent his little allowance of 50-cents on Hot Wheels, not Matchbox, Hot Wheels…they were cooler.
As a real little guy Tim’s Dad worked on custom Harley’s, so he was around that, loading up and going to bike shows in the Econoline van. Tim’s dad was into bikes in a big way, till he kinda got a bad back from riding rigid’s too many years… and the family was growing so they needing something easier to all go….that’s when the car transition came in. He got a rusted out 57 hardtop that he fixed up, in the awesome 70’s way, straight axle, Cragar SS wheels, tilt front end, chain steering wheel, four buckets with diamond tuck, shag carpet on dash, fender well headers, tunnel ram, the whole deal… had that for a few years, then Tim’s dad traded it for a 69 Vette convert. Tim learned to drive (kinda) a four speed in that car. He then went on the build a little more modern 55 Chevy hardtop, tilt front end, wicked motor, tunnel ram, and some cool stuff like hand built and chromed radiator support and Nomad rear fender lips.
Tim’s Dad even let him spray the firewall bright yellow…and he even left the big run Tim put in it…. With this car they family attended their first big car show out of town, even stayed in a hotel for the first time….even his Dad. This was ‘81 they all loaded up Moms 78 Dodge Magnum as a tow vehicle with about all the tools they owned and the trailer and the 55 in tow… we drove about 45 all the way to Dearborn Michigan…note to all, Dodge Magnums, not good tow vehicles… they got there and WOW, was this an eye opener for Tim….around 1,000 cars all Tri Fives…all the “cool” guys from the tri-five world that Tim had read and memorized about in the Classic Chevy magazine each month…Tim even got to meet Roger Gustin and his tri five drag race hero, Bob Dahl.
This was when it really hit Tim…he wanted to do this for ever. His dads 55 even got a few pictures in some event coverage in the magazines…wow was that cool! Tim was ten….and has been hooked hard ever since.
Tim bought his first car…a ‘55 series 150 from his great, great grandpa for $100 from selling his 4-H pigs!
They drove it around the farm and had fun, but realized when he got a little older, that it was a little too rusty for him to fix up for his first car. He sold it…and later a local guy fixed it up and it ended up in Super Chevy. Around this time Tim and his dad started painting local farmers trucks for money, and good father son time, Tim was learning how to sand, and fix more things. He then bought a ‘64 LeMans, tinkered with that some, then sold it by 14 and bought a nice ‘64 Chevelle SS. Around this time Tim’s uncle started taking him to some big shows close, like Street Machine Nats when it was in St. Louis, and a few KKOA custom shows, Tim loved the big motors at the Street Machine shows, but the customs with all the mods and chopped tops really got him excited. He fixed up the Chevelle at home with Dad and buddies, painted it himself, got it done a little after his 16 birthday. At this time, he also started after school at the
local body shop doing sanding and paint prep, the owner was also big into custom ‘Vettes, so we worked on a ton of them. Tim worked there learning a ton of skill from the boss and Dave that also worked there. He then went to a local trade college for body, welding and frame work and still worked at the body shop. Tim got along good with the teachers and stayed late often and they taught him extra stuff, like how to use all the HVAC metal working tools, and taught him how to lead and do stuff not in the normal school class, He was lucky to have good teachers, that cared and could see he was eager to learn.
His class project was to redo the body and floors in his Dads new project a ‘56 sedan pro- streeter. At home he was also re-doing his ‘64 Chevelle. At 19, he took the Chevelle to the Street Machine Nats where it got runner up best GM, at a time where most all the winners were tubbed, also got at Super Chevy a runner up best modified Chevelle.
At this point Tim knew someday he wanted to work on hot rods full time. He worked at a couple Chevy dealerships, made good money to help finance his next project, but hated the boring crap boxes he worked on. Tim built a wild 1954 Custom and started hitting some big shows. The ‘54 Chevy was doing decent at shows and starting to hit some magazines….Tim also was dating Carrie and she helped me do the interior in the ‘54. The phone started ringing more as the ‘54 got more press and awards, Tim left the dealership and started his own shop, for a few years working out of his Dads machine shed, doing everything in one little room.
As things got busy, it was time to move out of his dad’s barn; Tim purchased 4 acres just down the road. There was a small barn on the property that Tim quickly transformed into a nice 3200 Square foot hot rod shop.
For 18 years, Tim and Carrie worked out of this same 3200 square foot shop in rural Illinois. Building car after car and winning many awards. In 2011, Tim did a guest appearance on TRUCKS on SpikeTV, well, you could say that changed things…. The production company had been working on a new show called Search and Restore, a feel good – give back kinda show and they felt Tim fit the part of lead builder/host. Carrie always had a dream to get out of the Illinois winters, so with a two week notice, they loaded up the car and drove to Nashville.
Now the Strange Motion shop is based just south of Nashville, in a cool old Pontiac dealership, which was built in the 20’s, that is almost three times the size as the shop in Illinois.
As you can see…Tim is not some Johnny come lately in the hot rod world…We grew up around it…
It’s in the blood.
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