Performance & Hotrod Business May '14

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78 n Performance & Hotrod Business n May 2014 wants something he's never done. He takes it in stride and it becomes another chal- lenge. "If it can be done, I'm going to figure it out," he says, "because when it gets to the point where you already know how to do it all, it kind of gets boring. You want to try something new every day. I like trying to figure stuff out." The shop is equipped with enough es- sential tools—a welder, a plasma cutter, a couple of lifts, a new pipe bender—that, in Castillo's hands, help fashion ordinary old cars into automotive works of art. Other than chroming, upholstery and some machine shop work, Castillo says he does about everything else on a car. "I do a lot of chops and I do a lot of Mercs," he says. "People seem to really like the style I do with my chops. I don't do an 'ordinary' chop. I never do any of my chops the same. They'll look pretty close, but if you really know them, you'll see this one is slightly different from that one. If you do them all the same, it's not custom anymore. It's just a copy. The whole thing about being custom is being different." He does a complete paint job on average once a month. Some customers, like artist Mike Lavallee, who's known for his "True Fire" flames and other auto art, does most of his own painting. Others, like the owner of a HOTROD SHOP PROFILE: LORDZ OF KUSTOMZ Above: Smoothed out metal, ready for paint; Right: "Lefty" polishes out a Merc. He's now running his own custom shop, Lefty's Kustoms in Lyn- wood, Calif.; Below: One of Castillo's chopped Mercs, ready for the street. From top: Chassis and motor, ready for the rest of the car; Israel, learning how to weld; Kids show up at the shop to learn: Jerry (foreground), grinds a fender; Chava (background) studies a door panel; Jerry (left) and Andrew (right) work at cus- tom fitting a Merc door. PHBMAYp58-91.indd 78 4/2/14 2:03 PM

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