Introducing Brian S. – The Official Guest Blogger for REDLINE Dodge

Drive the REDLINE Dodge Blogger Winner!

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.

atona

chargerrr dart

polar-ized ray-charger

 

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?


  • Del Swanson

    Congrats Brian! What sparked my passion for Dodge? They’ve never been afraid to make bold styling choices! -Del Swanson

    • http://www.problemchildkustoms.com/ Brian S.

      Del!! Thanks, my man! You really hit the nail on the head, sir. The bold styling, the history, the performance legacy… Dodge has it all going on. Thanks for stopping by, sir!

  • Guest

    Congratulations! Your work is just stunning and what an awesome writeup! Very cool to see a designer and gear head writing for Redline! What sparked my passion for Dodge? Heh…it’s not glamorous but my parents owned a ’76 Plymouth Valiant! We had the thing for 12 years before they purchased a Dodge Caravan. However, on the muscle car side, our family had always loved the Dodge Charger(thanks to the Dukes of Hazzard…never missed an episode on Friday night). Congrats again Brian! Looking forward to your posts.

    • http://www.problemchildkustoms.com/ Brian S.

      Thanks so much! I truly appreciate the kind words, and hope that we can have a lot of fun with this over the next six months! Nothing wrong with a little Valiant… We drove our van for over 200k miles, and made a ton of memories in that thing. Hope to do the same, and share those we’re making in our Challenger as well! Again, my sincere thanks for the kind words, and looking forward to seeing you around over these next months!

  • Jeem Sahla Beem

    Ewwww, ewww! Write something about ’63 Darts! Hahaha Love ya mang! Why Dodge? Chevy might be Heavy and Ford may be Boss, but DODGE is in CHODGE!

    • http://www.problemchildkustoms.com/ Brian S.

      Ha-ha!! Thanks, man… And I’m betting we’re talking about a certain Dart, aren’t we? Good to see you here, sir.

  • Kamikidd

    My passion was sparked by a 77 Dodge Aspen. My grandparents’ neighbor had one and I would see him washing, polishing and loving his car. One day when he passed away, we found that the car was left to us. I learned to drive on that car. I also learned how to change a tire, change the oil and many other minor repairs on that ol car. In 1999 the car still only had 60k miles on it, and it had to be sold.

    • http://www.problemchildkustoms.com/ Brian S.

      Thanks for sharing that! It’s the little things… those first oil changes, learning to drive and so-on that plant the seeds for the passion. It grows a lot deeper as the years go by, and when you see one similar to that first car in traffic, your heart skips a beat, and the stories all come back in vivid detail. It’s quite a magical thing… Hope to have fun with that over the next few months!

  • Primlar

    I’ve always loved Dodge vehicles. When I was little my parents had a ’74 Dodge Tradesman 100 van that was decked out for camping. The best part was hearing the 318 roar as Dad floored it to get up the hills. Later on I learned to drive in a 1978 Plymouth Volare with a slant 6 in it. These days my wife drives a Journey and I have a Challenger. We just traded up to the 2013 models. Dodge forever!

    • http://www.problemchildkustoms.com/ Brian S.

      Thanks for looking in, and I hope you’ll enjoy this exciting opportunity as much as I’m looking forward to! It’s those little memories and experiences that come together to create that passion, and make your heart skip a beat. Funny how that sound can stay with you… Great to have a fellow Challenger owner along! Thanks so much for sharing!

  • Roadhouse Marketing

    Fine first blog, Brian! Hope to see more Dodges, Chryslers, Plymouths, even AMCs that you’ve done. I think I knew you built model cars, but haven’t seen any of them.

    Why not take your audience through the design process, when you assemble information on a vehicle, and then as you begin your design? If you get to ‘free range’ on the REDLINE Dodge site, maybe you can use a new RAM pickup or your own Challenger as an example?

    Let me know when your next blog goes up on REDLINE!

    • http://www.problemchildkustoms.com/ Brian S.

      Thank you, sir! Stoked to have you along for the ride, and hope you’ll enjoy the next few months around here, as I draw on the great history and passion of the Dodge brand! So many cool stories to get to, and I’m sure a lot of fun coverage from the upcoming events I’ll be attending as part of this great opportunity!

  • james

    Can you have a picture made of a 72 duster. Thank you

    • http://www.problemchildkustoms.com/ Brian S.

      We’ll see what we can do! Thanks for stopping by!

  • Joe Bortz

    Congratulations to you Brian for being the winner of the Dodge Redline Blogger contest. It’s not hard to tell you are really into the car world by your writing and your fantastic art work. The “passion” you speak of is inherent in your writing and I, as well as the entire culture of car fanatics await your next blog. Hope Dodge lets us know what events you will be covering. I’m sure a lot of people would like to meet you and talk cars.

    • http://www.problemchildkustoms.com/ Brian S.

      Joe, thanks so much! Hope to make the next six months a fun journey, and who knows, perhaps we’ll cross paths one day! I’ll announce the events in an upcoming blog, as well, thanks for asking!

  • Sam Castronova

    Awesome!!!!

    • http://www.problemchildkustoms.com/ Brian S.

      Thanks, man!

  • remingtonbox

    Brian!! Congrats man! Can’t wait to see what you have in store for this!

    • http://www.problemchildkustoms.com/ Brian S.

      Thanks, man! Glad you saw it! Hopefully we can have some fun, go some odd places, and make it a fun six months here.

      • http://www.n312rb.com/v2 Remington Box

        I’m rootin’ for ya

        • http://www.problemchildkustoms.com/ Brian S.

          Thanks, sir! Truly appreciate that!

  • http://www.n312rb.com/v2 Remington Box

    Brian! Congrats man! Can’t wait to see what you have in store!

    • http://www.problemchildkustoms.com/ Brian S.

      Thank you! …and me too! It will hopefully be a fun, wild ride.

  • DW

    I’m so excited for you Brian. Should be a fun trip!

    • http://www.problemchildkustoms.com/ Brian S.

      DW, thank you, sir! I certainly hope to make it a fun ride! Thanks for the support, my friend!

  • Cameron Day

    Nice job, Brian. What started it for me was a 67 Plymouth Barracuda 383 Formula S I owned in my early twenties. Looking forward to reading your blogs on Redline. They’re lucky to have such a passionate cat writing for them.

    • http://www.problemchildkustoms.com/ Brian S.

      Glad to see you here! My sincere thanks for the support, sir… I’m fortunate to be surrounded by friends like you who share that passion. Can’t wait to see where this all heads. It’s funny how many of us can trace our love for the whole ‘car thing’ back to a Mopar. Just seems right, doesn’t it?

  • Ken S

    Great job. I will be looking forward to future blogs

    • http://www.problemchildkustoms.com/ Brian S.

      Thanks, Ken! Glad you enjoyed this first blog… I truly hope you’ll continue to stop by!

  • EdSki

    Great blog and looking forward to more. My first two cars (not new) were a 55 Plymouth, followed by a 56 DeSoto. But my first NEW car was a 66 Dodge Charger with a 383. Miss that car. Saw some of your art work in several magazines and hope to meet you at one or more of the upcoming car shows.

    • http://www.problemchildkustoms.com/ Brian S.

      Thanks for looking in, and glad you enjoyed it! Hope we cross paths as well! Thanks for sharing the memories of your first Dodge (and VERY cool, BTW on the ones leading to it!). I’m enjoying my first new Dodge, and have to say, it will be with me in some way for life!

  • Jilly

    Just wondering if this is a full time gig for you. I hope it is and lasts much longer than the contest rules stated. Your life experiences along with the writing style you have shown in the past can make for a great blog series. Looking forward to each and every future blog!

    • http://www.problemchildkustoms.com/ Brian S.

      Wow… thank you so much! While it’s not currently a full-time gig, I certainly hope that it carries on after the six months I’ve been awarded via the contest. I cannot say ‘thanks’ enough for the kind words and encouragement, and truly hope that you’ll enjoy all of the future blogs I post here!

  • Jean

    Hi Brian, I have a good story for you. My father in law is a Dodge enthusiast that built a dual engine (both of them dodge) mud drag racing car way before the Hurricane was announced. Right now he’s looking for sponsorship. If you are interested in more information you can send me an e-mail to the one I have registered.