Gimme All Your Louvers: Dave Lane Stops By


Dave Lane. We could probably leave it at that, and images of perfect top chops and stance and wheel and tire combos would dance in your head all night long. You’re about to embark on a journey that brings oh-so-much more. What does a world-class builder build for himself? What part of a build makes or breaks a man? Has he ever been confused with a guy who fishes for Carp? Some things are better left unknown, but we go there for you because we care.

In episode forty-three, leading into the Grand National Roadster Show, we sit with Dave Lane and talk humble beginnings, the process of building a great car, and where stye comes from. We dig deep into the psychology of running a one-man shop, attracting and maintaining a steady flow of work from dedicated clients, and then glance long and hard at what saved the industry back in 2008.

If you’re just starting out, or even working to restructure your shop or studio or brand, this one is a treasure trove of insight and a case study in the right way to go about it.


  • Days and days of sanding louvers maketh (or breaketh) a man
  • Attracting the right clients for your shop and build style
  • Retaining a core group of clients
  • How to schedule the next project
  • The value of having your clients communicate with one another
    – Putting the client at ease
    – Establishing trustworthiness
    – Seeking clients who share a similar vision
  • Balancing the car’s budget VS what it needs
    – Why Dave’s builds don’t have radios
  • Brian throws down the George Poteet/Sparkomatic/Pyramid amp challenge
  • The guys wax nostalgic over a Pioneer Super Tuner and N-50’s
  • A history of building model cars
  • Dave’s first car
  • A chance meeting with Harry Hibler
  • Dave’s affair with the ZZ Top Eliminator coupe
    – The ZZ Top video litmus test
    – Brad finds a local tie-in to the “Legs” video
    – Brian picks on Brad
    – Every red car was “the ZZ Top car”
    – The ubiquitous ZZ Top key chain
  • Building a car while working full-time and going to school
    – Starting out with a Pontiac
    – Putting every dime into a car project
  • Network design in Germany
  • The wagon
    – Thirteen thousand miles in three and-a-half months
    – On building a car with zero expectations
    – Making memories
    – The roller skate incident
  • Discussing the importance of staying positive through a project
    – That feeling of accomplishment overcomes the pain every time
  • Using the overall car as the focal point, versus one or two stand-out parts
  • The thunderous impact of subtlety
  • Moving a ’33 ford grille shell
  • Dave’s first time on a drag strip
  • “Bland when bland wasn’t cool”
  • Building a ’32 roadster in ninety days


  • On training your clients
  • An exploration of “high-dollar” builds
    – The pricing game
    – Determining “high-end” VS “entry level” at at what level
    – Perception of price VS recognition of value
    – Relativistic pricing
    – When stainless steel brake line meant that you’d made it
  • How hot rod patrons keep the “car thing” going
  • Survival and growth following 2008
    – Keeping twenty-three cars moving forward in a stagnant economy
    – A love for the hobby and keeping it alive
  • The legitimization of the hobby by Boyd
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Tang-y Design and Robot Cars: Jeff Allison

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Brian Stupski

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