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G3 Rods-Family Affair with a Bright Future

By Sherri Candland with coordination by Jim Neuzil

Approximately nine years ago, two sons and a father had the inclination to take their passion for cars and building hot rods further than their own garages. G3 Rods, named after Chuck Gruba, the father, and his two sons, Jay and Ryan Gruba is a thriving rod and restoration shop that has been producing builds that are turning more than just a couple of heads these days. Ryan and Jay with the support and guidance from Dad, Chuck, opened up shop and were under way with their first project, a ‘56 Ford Pickup. After that, a 1937 Packard enthusiast found a ‘37 business coupe sitting in a Colorado scrap yard a few years ago. It was in salvageable shape, so he bought the car and delivered it to Jay at G3 Rods in Rapid City, South Dakota. As soon as the car got to G3, a call was made to Art Morrison Enterprises (AME) to commission a one-off chassis built to fit Jay's vision and the Packard's specs. Shortly after the chassis arrived at G3, and work had just begun on the body, the owner ran into some personal difficulties and had to bail out of the Packard project. By this time, Jay had grown more interested in the car, so he decided to buy it. To finish it, he'd have to pay for it himself, but he could do it exactly the way he wanted. "Once it was mine, I got some help from (hot rod illustrator and designer) Eric Brockmeyer, and decided to build a car that would represent the shop."

Before an ounce of paint hit the sheet metal, Tyler Nelson, Brad Schrempp, and Curt Bartels at G3 treated the coupe to some remarkable custom bodywork. They gave the top a 1-3/4-inch wedge chop and shaved the body panels. A custom firewall and new floor were constructed. Headlights and taillights from a '39 Chevy were frenched and custom running boards were fabricated. When every inch of sheet metal was ready, Nelson shot the custom mix R-M paint from BASF. The result was a stunner that took SEMA show crowds by storm in 2014, winning the build the Eastwood crowd favorite pick and the Casis Cup at the Salt Lake Autorama 2015.

Since then, the shop has grown, changed locations once and now employs five talented body, fabrication and paint guys who get the job done every day at G3 Rods. Tyler Nelson, shop manager along with Curt Bartels, Matt Reed, Shane Lee and Brad Schrempp, are some of the most skilled fabricators and custom painters in the industry today. They have an intense and strong work ethic that allows them to meet their customer deadlines and budget requirements on the quality, high end projects they have been working on. G3 Rods is constantly pushing the envelope with each new build and their customers are reaping the benefits and excited with the results! Their high profile build for 2015 was a 1969 Camaro, appropriately named T-REX. T-REX, owned by Mary and Clayton Graham, was one of the top five finalists for Street Machine of the Year at Goodguys Columbus 2015. This beast is powered by a 750HP 572c.i, Grumpy Jenkins big block paired with a Lenco 5-speed transmission. It sits on Detroit Speed suspension with stopping power provided by 14-inch, 6-piston Baer brakes. The Nitto Invo tires (255/35R18 in the front and 325/30ZR19 in the rear) are wrapped around Forgeline SP3P wheels finished with gloss black centers and custom body matched outers. Custom fabrications include widening the front end and rear of the body by 3 inches, channeling the sub frame into the floor, custom belly pan, lengthened handmade aluminum hood, aluminum engine compartment, and flush-mounted glass. The interior features Dakota Digital gauges, Hydes leather, full Kicker stereo system and R-M paint from BASF.

Putting a couple of great years behind them, they are definitely not slowing down and are focused on 2016! G3 Rods will debut their 1955 Chevrolet Roadster at the Detroit Autorama in Cobo Hall. This will be the first time debuting at this Ridler laden show and the G3 Rods crew is looking forward to being amongst the builders that they have respected and learned from for many years. “At the end of the day, we want to make our customers happy and proud with what we have built for them,” says Ryan Gruba, “we also want to contribute to this industry that we are very passionate about and help it grow.”

G3 Rods is an innovative shop with many future builds on the drawing table that will be coming to a show in North America near you very soon. They are a shop to keep your eye on as they have their finger on the pulse of what is happening in the custom industry and they are continuing to contribute in a way that pleases the eye and makes the heart race!

If you attend the upcoming 17th Annual Counts of the Cobblestone Car Show you’ll get to see the T-REX Camaro in person, along with many other Street Rods, Classics, Rat Rods, Muscle Cars, Sports Cars, Pickups, Street Machines, Motorcycles and more. The show is the end result of countless hours of dreaming, planning, and the building of all these vehicles. All brought together in the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center. This is not just a car show but also a social event. It is the chance to view amazing displays and to visit with old friends and make new. There is something for all ages including the 4th Annual Women’s Expo, Make-N-Take model car building, Kids coloring contest and vendor seminars at selected times through the weekend. On Saturday morning the first 500 kids that are 10 and under receive a free Hot Wheels toy. Come play with us on Feb 20th, 21st and 22nd, we hope to see you there! This year’s added attractions will be a STRIDER BIKE give away and a custom Radio Flyer Wagon class for the kids and adults to enter!

In the last few years the Counts of the Cobblestone Car Club have implemented the very successful "Take a Kid to the Car Show" program that many do not see. Local business’, car enthusiasts, and our club members make donations of not only money, but their time and hard work to make "TAKE A KID TO THE CAR SHOW" happen. This program helps organizations that work with underprivileged children. It gives them the opportunity for the children to attend a show and learn about cars. Donations to "Take a kid to the Car Show" are being accepted at any time, feel free to contact the Counts of the Cobblestone Car Club to make a donation. Please call Jim at 605-390-2238 to help out!!!




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