RTM’s PowerBlock expands with Search and Restore, the company’s fifth automotive series dedicated to finding and restoring vehicles for viewers who can’t finish their projects because of financial, health or family circumstances. The new series will be hosted by noted custom car builder Tim Strange of Franklin, Tenn., formerly of Cambridge.
RTM’s PowerBlock expands with Search and Restore, the company’s fifth automotive series dedicated to finding and restoring vehicles for viewers who can’t finish their projects because of financial, health or family circumstances.
RTM announces the new series will be hosted by noted custom car builder Tim Strange of Franklin, Tenn., formerly of Cambridge.
The show will premier Saturday, May 7, on Spike. Strange was contacted by RTM regarding the position. He volunteered on an episode of TRUCKS last March 2010 and they remembered him from that. They had over 1,200 applicants and choose him.
“Tim got his inspiration working with his dad on cars and bikes on their family farm in Illinois,” said executive producer Joe St. Lawrence. “Eighteen years later he has turned that enthusiasm into a career as one of the country’s top builders. Our audience will relate to Tim, his personality and his work ethic. We’re excited he’s joined the PowerBlock team.”
Strange’s accolades as a builder include receiving the Good Guys Trendsetter Award, plus numerous wins in the International Show Car Association and KKOA custom show circuits. He also head the SEMA Show’s Best New Product selection committee.
“There’s no better feeling than helping someone regain that sense of hope after they feel like they’ve lost everything,” Strange said. “Thanks to our volunteer build teams and the hosts of other PowerBlock shows, we’re able to help someone pick up the pieces, turn a dream into reality and have fun doing it.”
Tim grew up working on stuff around the family farm.
“I loved tearing stuff apart and trying to figure out how it worked,” said Strange. “My dad worked on custom Harley’s while I was little, so I was around that too. He was into bikes in
a big way.”
Strange said he remembers loading up the Harley’s and heading to bike shows in the Econoline van as a child.
“Later dad got a rusted out 1957 hardtop that he fixed up, in the awesome 70’s way,” said Strange. “It had a straight axle, Cragar SS wheels, tilt front end, chain steering wheel, four buckets with diamond tuck, shag carpet on dash, fender well headers and tunnel ram, the whole deal.”
A few years later, he traded it for a 69 Vette convert.
“I learned to drive (kinda) a four speed in that car,” Strange said.
He then went on the build a little more modern 1955 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.
“He even let me spray the firewall bright yellow and he even left the big run I put in it,” he said. “We took this car to our first big car show out of town and even got to stay in a hotel
for the first time.”
Strange said he would always remember that.
“It was 1981 and we loaded up mom’s ‘78 Dodge Magnum as a tow vehicle with about all the tools we owned and the trailer and the 55 in tow,” Strange said. “I think we drove about 45 all the way to Dearborn, Mich. This an eye opener for me, around 1,000 cars all Tri-Fives, all the “cool” guys from the Tri-Five world that I had read and memorized about in the Classic Chevy magazine each month. I even got to meet Roger Gustin and my Tri-Five drag race hero, Bob Dahl.
Strange said his dad’s 55 even got a few pics in some event coverage in the magazines.
“I have been hooked ever since then,” Strange said. “I was 10 years old.”
Through the years dad had a ton of different Tri-Fives.
“I bought my first car, a 55 series 150 from my great-great grandpa for $100 after selling my 4-H pigs,” Strange said. “We drove it around the farm and had fun, but realized when I got a little older, that it was a little too rusty for me to fix up for my first car. I sold it and later a local guy fixed it up and it ended up in Super Chevy.” Around that time Strange and his dad started painting local farmers trucks for money.
“I was learning how to sand, and fix more things,” he said. “I then bought a ‘64 LeMans, tinkered with that some, then sold it by 14 and bought a nice ‘64 Chevelle SS. I seen it for sale an the way to the drag races in Cordova.”
Around that time his 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.
“ I loved the big motors at the Street Machine shows, but the customs with all the mods and chopped tops really got me excited,” he said. “I fixed up the Chevelle at home with Dad and buddies, painted it myself, got it done a little after my 16th birthday. At this time I 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.”
He worked there learning a ton of skills from the boss and Dave that worked there. He then went to a local trade college for body, welding and frame work and still worked at the body shop.
“I got in good with the teachers and stayed late a bunch and they taught me extra stuff, like how to use all the HVAC metal working tools, and taught me how to lead and do stuff not in the normal school class, I guess I am lucky to have good teachers, that cared and could see I was eager to learn,” he continued.
Strange’s class project was to redo the body and floors in his dad’s new project a ‘56 sedan pro-streeter. At home, he was also re-doing his ‘64 Chevelle again after learning better things.
At 19, Strange 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. He also got runner up best modified Chevelle at the Super Chevy event.
“I have always worked on old cars and hot rod stuff on the side, knowing someday I wanted to work on hot rods full time,” Strange continued. “I worked at a couple Chevy dealerships, made good money to help finance my next project, but hated the boring crap boxes I worked on. I got the next one for myself done and started hitting some big shows.”
Strange said his ‘54 Chevy was doing well at shows and starting to hit some magazines when he starting dating Carrie and she helped him do the interior of the car.
“The phone started ringing more as the ‘54 got more press and awards, I left the dealership and started our own shop, for a few years working out of my dad’s machine shed, doing everything in one little room,” he said. “Then we built a small pole barn and finished it off by our house, and I have been working in there ever since. As you can see, I am not some Johnny come lately in the hot rod world and I grew up around it…it’s in the blood.”