As a kid growing up in a Rod & Custom household during the 1970s, it was only natural that these influences would become a part of my adult life. I can remember sneaking a copy of the '73 R&C "Chop Top" issue into my elementary school classes. I read that magazine 'til the ink wore off the pages, but I still have it.
My dad (the late Ron Karls) was very active in the hobby and helped me build my first car, a magazine-featured '39 Chevy coupe known as Lunch Money, while I was still in high school. In 1986, when I was 18, my dad passed away while he was still in the process of building a '34 Chevy town. I sold my '39 to finish the '34 and I still have it today. My dad had also introduced me to drag racing and I eventually converted my college transportation (a Chevy Nova) into a drag car. After 10 years of full-time racing, I decided I would be happier with a hot rod with both looks and power.
The car forever stuck in my mind was Gary Kessler's yellow '32 Ford highboy roadster. Something about the bright yellow paint, five-spoke mags, rumbling small-block, and big racing slicks just did it for me. I needed to build a highboy of my own, so I set out looking for a project. Soon I came across an ad in the paper for a '32 roadster body and frame. When I called, I realized I was talking to Gary Mussmann, owner and operator of Cornhusker Rod & Custom. He had picked up the Wescott body through some horse-trading and had put it on one of his well-constructed frames. A deal was eventually made and I was soon on my way home with my new project.