When the phone rang that afternoon, I hadn’t expected the news that was being delivered: I had been named the Official REDLINE Dodge Blogger. Oddly, it didn’t register at first…Yet, after a few moments, everything became clear. I was going to be writing for Dodge, and traveling to events for Dodge over the next six months! Dream gig NAILED. It was on to the really fun work, and that brings us here.
My name is Brian, and I’ll be working to inform, entertain, hopefully enlighten, and generally provide some content that I sincerely hope you’ll find enjoyable here on the REDLINE Dodge Blog over the next six months. As a bit of an introduction, I’m a professional illustrator and designer who specializes in hot rod and custom car design. I’ve been fortunate to work with some of the most talented hot rod builders, and enjoyed the experience of being published in the very magazines that inspired me as a kid. My professional background has been almost exclusively automotive-related, having worked in dealerships, aftermarket parts supply houses and hot rod shops. That odd combination of art and automotive passion fused, and today, I make a living creating cool cars.
I was born into a car-crazy family, and grew up with two parents who truly enjoyed cars. While I have no conscious memory of it, my first ride in a car was in my father’s 1966 Dodge Charger. I’d be willing to bet that, in some small way, that ride (and that car in general) helped to set the foundation for what became a life fueled by muscle cars, hot rods and custom vehicles of all kinds. While I enjoy almost anything on wheels, it’s been Dodge vehicles that have always gotten the blood pumping just a bit faster through my veins. Being born in the final days of the muscle car era, I may have missed out on the first round of excitement, but the timing couldn’t have been more fortuitous: I was of driving age when the pendulum started to swing back, and interest in American high-performance cars was renewed.
As a child, my favorite toys were almost exclusively die-cast cars. I’d play with them every chance I got, and learned a lot by collecting them. The toys helped me become familiar with makes and models. My favorite is one I still own to this day: a yellow Dodge Challenger with huge rear tires. That toy has been with me throughout my life, and served as a symbol of the car I wanted to own one day. Though I have owned a number of cars over the years, including some fun muscle cars, it was that E-body that eluded me. You can imagine my excitement, then, when in 2006, I caught a glimpse of the Dodge Challenger concept car. The dream was revised a bit, and came true with the purchase of our Blue Streak Pearl 2012 model, which has had a similar effect as that toy mentioned earlier on our three boys: The fire has been lit! Another generation of gearheads is growing in our home, and providing proof of some genetic predisposition to being a Dodge lover.
Having grown up in the seventies, I was witness to some pretty dark times as far as automotive design and performance were concerned. The advent of huge bumpers, underpowered engines and the like made for a grim outlook on the future. Perhaps it was that doom-and-gloom mentality that got me into customizing 1/25-scale model cars, and drawing wild street machines. I would get into trouble at school for drawing cars in class, and always managed to draw virtually everything with a HEMI® in it. That was just a fun engine to draw, with those spark plug wires entering the tops of the valve covers… and don’t even get me started on how well I could work a set of highlighters to mimic the Rapid Transit color palette. Many years after those scoldings, I had received my first publication in a magazine, and behold, it was a rendering of a customized 1968 Dodge Polara I had been dreaming about that graced the page. Over the years, I managed to always work in a Dodge vehicle, as it was rare to see other designers playing with the marque, and those custom pieces quickly became my calling card. From wild, blown street machines to slick and slammed custom cars, I loved applying imagination to the overlooked models.
When I was called on by Tommy over at MuscleCar TV to work up some ideas for their ’74 Dart Sport project, I was stoked. Here was an overlooked car with a ton of potential, and it was getting a blown HEMI® and some full-on pro-street treatment. I was suddenly eighteen again. That project is a great example of what makes a car so much more than the sum of its parts, and one of the themes I’d like to work from over these next months: the passion.
There exists a certain bond between a car nut and their automobile. Not just a simple pride-of-ownership thing, but an actual passion. And with the Dodge brand, there is a great history, and a fantastic story behind the brand that makes owning a Dodge vehicle much more than signing some papers and holding the keys. For me, it’s been a lifetime of dreaming, planning and finally owning that iconic car that inspired me as a child. It’s driving a beautifully designed and engineered car that inspires conversation at every stoplight and each time I park it. It’s a reverence for the cars it pays homage to, and legacies of legendary race and street cars that not only made history, but have inspired so many late-night bench racing sessions. I’m honored to have this opportunity to share that passion with you on the REDLINE Dodge Blog over these next months, and hope that you’ll enjoy the ride.
That said, what was it that sparked your passion for Dodge?