Ray Gollahon, 69, founder of Brookville Roadster Inc. passed away in June after a short illness. Ray's name may not have been seen as much as some other hot rod industry leaders, but he wasn't a man who needed the spotlight on him. His working style was to just get down to the business of building great products and letting the results speak for him.
Back in 1972 Ray saw a need in the restoration and street rod markets for high quality repair panels for Ford Model A cars. Under the name Antique Auto Sheetmetal, he and his wife began by stamping small batches of panels and hand finishing them in their own garage. Ray and Donna took their first batch to an antique auto show and sold out the entire supply on the first day! From there it was a steady growth into the largest and most respected source of replacement early Ford body panels and components in America. By reinvesting their sales revenues over the years into a fully functioning automotive plant with many skilled steel workers and fabricators, they were finally able to develop plans for complete replacement bodies for Model A roadsters and roadster pickups. By the mid 1990s, the company, under the name Brookville Roadster, Inc. began construction of an all new, exact reproduction of the legendary 1932 Ford roadster body. Their efforts were rewarded with a Best New Product Award from NSRA in 1997.
As the business prospered, they needed to add the next generation into the company to assure continued growth. After completing an engineering degree program at Ohio State, Ray's son Kenny returned to Brookville Roadster. Ray has said that Kenny's engineering knowledge and management skills were the driving force behind the creation of the next award winning product, the complete 1932 Ford Three Window coupe body. Again, Best New Product Awards were earned by the new coupe in 2005 from SEMA, NSRA and Goodguys, and the 2006 Hot Rod & Restoration Show.
Ray's vision and skills made a major contribution and raised the quality standards of the antique auto and street rod hobby. Now Kenny plans to continue with the original goals of product innovation, honest business practices and the manufacturing only the highest quality products - made by American steel workers in Brookville, Ohio.