Boyd Coddington Links Hot Rodding Past With the Future

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Innovator, fabricator and TV star teams with former partner.

Boyd Coddington may be most commonly known today as the under-the-gun, deadline-stomping star of "American Hot Rod". Coddington's on-screen persona may give the impression that he storms through and demands others to make the impossible happen. In fact, Coddington is a hot rod industry icon, that is more automotive stylist than drill sergeant.

The legend of Boyd Coddington and his now familiar and very copied look began in his backyard garage in 1976. The Disneyland machinist had an ability to execute his innovative ideas. It is his eye for color, textures and a smooth high-tech look that are his trademark. The first to machine aluminum parts and wheels for a personalized and functional approach, Coddington built a team to develop his dreams.

Coddington's innovations have become not just hot rodding touchstones, but influences that have helped the entire aftermarket industry flourish. In the late 1990s, as Coddington's unique billet aluminum wheel line began to grow, he met a young car enthusiast, Brad Fanshaw. Fanshaw had just completed several years of growing a popular skate, surf and snowboard brand to huge success and sales exceeding $100 million. Coddington recognized the value of a true car enthusiast with ideas born from a cutting-edge industry and the business acumen to help his fledgling hot rod shop and wheel company.

The team of Coddington and Fanshaw is famous to some in the aftermarket industry and yet an enigma to many enthusiasts. Together, the two stormed the hot rod industry creating products, promotions, celebrity of some employees and most notably the industries first publicly held wheel company on NASDAQ.

Making the company an industry leader was due to the efforts of many talented people; however, Coddington and Fanshaw developed and executed the strategy. It was Coddington's skill in the factory and the hot rod shop that kept things rolling. Fanshaw, the ever behind-the-scenes man promoted, marketed and created the mystic of the legendary brands while positioning the company for an IPO.

"We had most likely, the finest group of fabricators ever assembled under one roof. There was magic when we built a hot rod and I enjoyed every car that our shop constructed. Beyond the cars and products, it was the branding and innovative ideas that allowed us to grow," says Boyd Coddington. The creative hot rod think tank kept turning out innovative cars, wheels, apparel and accessories.

"I believe Boyd does not get the credit he deserves, he is what I call a conceptual designer. He may not be able to draw or sketch his cars or ideas, but he is no less a designer. Boyd looks at a car or develops an idea in his head, sure someone else must draw it, but only so it can be executed. He is never credited with the open attitude in which he has tutored others like Chip Foose and Jesse James they were allowed the opportunities that provided them with a foundation for accomplishment," states Fanshaw.

The business relationship between Coddington and Fanshaw split in 1996. The IPO took its toll on the working relationship and each went their separate ways; with Coddington continuing his wheel and hot rod business and most recently his fame on TV. Fanshaw applied his ideas and marketing skills in creating a Swiss watch manufacturing company before returning to the aftermarket industry with wheels, apparel and gauges.

At a time when Coddington's star is as shiny as the billet parts on his custom creations, the hot rod legend is certainly not standing still. With television, corporate endorsements, licensing deals and a customer waiting list he is ready to create even more magic. So after no more than casual meetings at car shows or trade events in the last 11 years, the two have announced that they are again working on some special projects, ideas and developing new business strategies.

"There are times when everything just runs perfect, no misfires or stalls and it is due to the team with who you surround yourself. I am certainly not taking a step back, but rather a leap forward while remaining true to the past. You know the best hot rods always blend the old and new. The combined knowledge, new ideas and positive influences of people like my wife Jo will allow me to embark on projects that before now were only dreams," explains Coddington.

The Coddington Companies and the "Boyd Look" supplied a baseline for the aftermarket industry. Now after eleven years Boyd Coddington will team with Brad Fanshaw to bring a new generation of enthusiasts as well as loyal die-hard fans more Boyd magic.

About Boyd Coddington and The Boyd Coddington Company
Boyd Coddington is an internationally recognized automotive designer, builder, fabricator and television star. He is recognized as one of the winningest hot rod builders of all-time and has been included in many automotive Hall of Fames. The Boyd Coddington company is well-known for designing and constructing numerous show quality custom automobiles for celebrities such as ZZ Top and Michael Anthony of Van Halen. The corporations that have sought Boyd Coddington include Budweiser, White Cap, Sobe, Old Milwaukee Beer, O'Reilly Auto Parts and Hershey. With his name representing companies and products world wide it is not uncommon for the Boyd Coddington name to be found in most automotive stores. His trademark billet aluminum wheels the product that launched an industry are today manufactured under a license to American Racing.

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Charlotte Mielke

Charlotte Mielke
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