Performance & Hotrod Business May '14

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May 2014 n Performance & Hotrod Business n 93 How long did it take to start paying off? SS: It took about two to three years of living in my shop before I was able to get a place to live. What are some of the sacrifices you have made? SS: I lived in my first shop for three years, in an industrial complex. It's cold and hot; you hear every noise. I had to join a gym so I had a place to shower. I'd have my bowl of cereal on my desk while I'm ordering parts in the morning, hung my clothes on a steel bar in the bathroom. It was my home. I did whatever it took to keep the business going. I was lucky as the magazines continued to feature my work. I did everything. I answered the phone, ordered the parts, cleaned dirty old parts, did the fab- rication, cleaned the shop, I did absolutely everything and I was willing to do so. Strope's shop is a must-see for any car freak. It's incredible to walk through here and see the builds in progress. One of this author's favorite features is the "wall art." That Funny Car body hanging there is too cool. Your best advice for struggling shop owners: SS: A big key is doing what it takes to get it up and running, living through the bad times, just trying to make things bet- ter, having a good work ethic, and trying to keep a good attitude about things. And this is how I kept my shop flying once it was off the ground. This industry is a hard place. People follow trends, and you've got to stick with what you like and what you believe in. Always be honest; always give more. If someone is paying for 10, give them 11. With a competition between Source Interlink magazines and its reputation on the line, "Hot Rod" Magazine hired Pure Vision to build another sweepstakes car. This time it was a '57 Chevy for Timber Wolf Speed Shop. It's a Pro Street car with a vintage drag race theme. Pure Vision Steve Strope opened Pure Vision almost 20 years ago. It has become one of the most successful high-end custom shops in the world. From humble beginnings in a parking structure, Strope's road to success has been a combination of clever ideas, common sense, unflinching determination and perfect timing. Creations from his shop have been featured in and on the covers of many magazines over the years, and won countless awards, includ- ing three coveted Hot Rod magazine "Top Ten Cars of the Year." Pure Vision ( has its own episode on TLC's hot series "Rides," its own line of die-cast Mattel's Hot Wheels cars and has had cars appearing in several blockbuster movies. Pure Vision specializes in full design, concept and build projects, but also does maintenance or upgrades. How did you start your shop? SS: Thanks to a combination of clever marketing and great tim- ing, the first car I built was featured as one of Hot Rod magazine's Top Ten and I didn't even have a shop yet. I built the car in the parking structure where I lived. I had to cover my neighbors' cars with plastic sheeting so I wouldn't get paint overspray on them. I had developed an idea to have a car ready for Hot Rod's Power Tour, set a budget, and found parts I needed that were sold by companies sponsoring the Power Tour. I made a little press pack with photocopies of magazine articles I already had. I went to the magazine with a drawing of the car, told them I'm using all these parts from sponsor companies, and I'm unveiling the car at Power Tour; would you put my drawing in your magazine? At the same time, I told the companies about the project and asked if they would sponsor the parts. And both the magazine and the companies said yes. The car went on the Power Tour, was featured in magazines and took a Top Ten. I had the name Pure Vision before I even had an actual shop. Soon after that first Top Ten, I built a giveaway car for Hot Rod and was also approached by a guy who wanted me to custom-build his Challenger. I built these first few cars in my parking space, but realized I needed a building, so in 2002, I finally got a building and opened the doors. PHBMAY.indd 93 4/2/14 1:55 PM

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