"Danni Bagnall: Pipey, how did you get into modifying cars? Pipey McGraw: I've always been into cars. As a kid, I loved old muscle cars; big, old, brash v8s and the like. On maybe my 12th or 13th birthday "
Danni spoke to Colin at Kustom Kolors about the rise of resto
With resto projects and classic cars spreading through the scene like wildfire, we got to chatting with restoration specialists Kustom Kolors, down in Christchurch on the South Coast. Boss-man Colin gave us the lowdown.
For those that don’t know, what is Kustom Kolors all about?
Well, I started the business 11 years ago with just over £5,000 in my pocket. It was all going nice and steady for the first 7-8 years and then it really blew up. I managed to triple the size of the company and purchase the site we’re at now. True petrol heads always say this, but I have always been into cars. I’ve grown up with it. My dad and his three brothers restored cars as their hobby, so there was no getting away from it really (not that I’d want to).
Before starting the business, I worked for a Ford dealer, and then for a local company doing Ferraris. Following that, I freelanced a little before kicking it all off in 2006. I’ve built loads of low riders over the years – one was even used in a Sony music video, and the boyband 5ive used one too. If any of you can remember them *he says laughing*.
At Kustom Kolors we do anything from a scuffed bumper, to a full build. We also do services, and install full air ride kits. With the air ride kits, we work with Henry from Slam Sanctuary who provides us the kit and we kit it. Randomly, we’ve even done light airplanes, footballer’s kitchens, and even BMX frame for kids. We even offer upholstery trimming, with Joe at Trimdeluxe, as well as 3SDM alloy wheels.
We get some famous people’s cars, too. We colour-coded Arsenal player Jack Wilshere’s Porsche Cayman, as well as painting a number of cars for one of the UK’s best known custom car builder Andy Saunders.
We do a lot of very high-end cars, but that doesn’t always work in our favour. People see it then think that’s all we do and assume we’ll be too pricey.
I have three people who work with me. Lucy works on the mechanical side of thing as she’s a level 3 technician. And mukka has been my right-hand man for over 20 years now – he’s the one who taught me to panel beat when I was 16. We also have pod, who helps around the shop.
What’re your most popular services? What do people tend to come in for most?
We normally have 1-2 re-paints going on at the same time, be it a restoration or a re-build. I’d say these sorts of things are definitely our most popular services, along with the insurance jobbys. We look after a lot of local car dealers, too. Not to mention your run-of-the-mill repairs and insurance work.
How did the Slam Sanctuary / Kustom Kolors event go down?
We are doing more and more with Slam Sanctuary and, as we are both local businesses, we support each other’s moves. We even have a car lined up that we’re doing for Slam Sanctuary, next year – it’s going to be a pretty exciting drop!
The whole idea surrounding the event was to have a chilled time. You know, good music, a bite to eat (huge thanks to The Laughing Street Chef for their help!), a chance to meet old and new friends, and to walk around some awesome examples of automotive porn. It really was a great day. We even had free Jimmy’s Iced Coffee!
What about your own cars, any projects?
My car history is way too big a list. I had my first car at 12 years old. It was a ’68 Volkswagen Beetle that I restored with my dad. When I was 16, I’d managed to save up enough money to buy a Mk1 Volkswagen Golf – all for just £500! Try doing that now! Anyway, me, my dad and my cousin (who was a panel beater, but unfortunately died in a car crash the following year) restored the car fully. To be honest, I was on the verge of throwing in the towel on cars. My cousin was like my brother, we always spoke about having our own company together. But I went on and did it, for the both of us really. From the new shop, I can even see where he did his apprenticeship. Weird how things happen. I’ve built a number of low-riders, but I’ve always had a love for anything VAG or Jap. I’ve had a few Beetles, buses, an R33 GTR, a Pulsar GTR, a 300zx, a Sunny turbo, even a Chevy Camaro, and a bagged C10 pick-up truck. Most notable would be my ‘59 Catalina on air ride, and my ‘37 Ford body-dropped notched, with a Z chassis.
More recently, though. My daily is a Mercedes C63 and I have a Caddy I need to get off my arse and finish. It’s in for a full makeover; smooth engine bay, ABF engine on twin 44s etc.
My other half’s BMW E21 was built together and this is what we use for shows, but I’m thinking next year I’ll get another project going.
My baby is my period correct, one-year only, 1967 cal-look beetle 2276cc, with a Funkenblitz-built lump and Trimdeluxe interior. The body was done by us and defcon3.
Future plans for you and Kustom Kolors?
I like to hold an open day once a year to show what we have done during the last year and I normally do a job for someone for free and in return get food laid on and ask for donation for a cancer charity. I’d love to grow this side of things. I’d also love to get more involved in the air side of things, fitting more kits etc.
CLICK TO ENLARGE