Rodding Around
John McLeod signs a program for an event attendee
Hall of Fame plaque reading "John McLeod of Classic Instruments"
John McLeod portrait
red gear icon John McLeod of Classic Instruments is Inducted into the Darryl Starbird Rod and Custom Hall of Fame
Since 1977 Classic Instruments instrumentation has continually been handcrafted in America. Owner John McLeod attended the 57th Annual Darryl Starbird National Rod and Custom Show in Tulsa, Oklahoma, where he was inducted into the Darryl Starbird Rod and Custom Hall of Fame. McLeod received the award for the impact that Classic Instruments has had on the hot rod industry.

“To join the ranks of industry icons such as Boyd Coddington, Troy Trepanier, George Barris, and Posie, just to name a few, is certainly an honor that I never would have expected,” John says. The entire team at Classic Instruments congratulates Dan Woods, Chris Ryan, Ron Covell, Eric Geisert, and Penny Pichette for their entry into the hall of fame as well.

Many well-known rodders have been inducted into the Hall of Fame over the years. It’s the once-a-year get-together where many of rodding’s legends assemble to say “hi” to one another and welcome new members. The staff at Modern Rodding wants to take this moment to congratulate McLeod on receiving this prestigious award—well deserved.

Rick Love standing on stage at an event, speaking into the podium mike
Love with the staff of Rodder’s Digest
Young Rick Love photographed next to a hotrod with two trophies sitting on the hood
red gear icon SEMA Announces Latest Hall of Fame Inductees and Rodding’s Own Rick Love is Among the Honored
Four dedicated individuals who contributed to and have had an impactful influence on the automotive specialty equipment industry are being honored as new SEMA Hall of Fame members. The four newest SEMA Hall of Fame members are Jessi Combs, Rick Love, Bob Moore, and Carl Schiefer. Modern Rodding would like to take this moment to recognize all, but it’s with special recognition that we would like to honor our industry’s own Rick Love of Vintage Air.

Rick Love, while freelancing as a writer/photographer for Rodder’s Digest magazine in 1982 created a home workshop and leaned on his electronics degree to do wiring and air conditioning installations for other hot rodders. (Group photo circa 1989 shows Love with the staff of Rodder’s Digest (left to right) at the SEMA Show: the late Steve Hendrickson, Ty Burger, Gerry Burger, Rick Love, and Garry McWhirter.)

It was this A/C work that caught the attention of SEMA Hall of Famer and founder of Vintage Air Jack Chisenhall. Chisenhall asked Love to assist the company at rodding events and then continued to promote him over the years to his current position of president, in charge of overseeing the day-to-day operations of the entire company. Despite his busy schedule at Vintage Air, Love never wavers to volunteer his time, expertise, and energy to helping the industry. As a true car guy, he advocates for the industry. Having served multiple terms as chairman of the SEMA Hot Rod Industry Alliance, Love is an ambassador for SEMA and constantly recruits and encourages businesses to get involved.

a red classic corvette sits in a garage with the hood lifted
red gear icon A Look Inside Laid Back Recreations
One thing about the car world is there are plenty of individuals and shops out there that can build a good-looking and well-running hot rod. Such is the case with Kyle Gambrell of Laid Back Recreations in McLoud, Oklahoma. He’s a “one-man band,” to quote his own words, and has found a great deal of enjoyment and success going into his ninth year in business that specializes in any year of General Motors cars or trucks.

When you look around his 6,000-square-foot building you might find it hard to believe that all of what’s going on is handled by one man. But such is the case, and according to Gambrell, “It’s hard to find good help that can work on old cars and trucks to the caliber that my customers have come to expect.” That’s a comment we hear all the time around the country—doesn’t matter what part of the country you are in, it’s hard to find qualified talent.

Laid Back Recreations is known for Gambrell’s ability to lay down a beautiful black paintjob. Having a hot rod car or truck painted in black there can be no denying that the final paint is in direct correlation to how well the metal- and bodywork was prepared.

Currently Gambrell finds himself turning out a number of C10s (1967-1972), Chevy pickups, and it’s no wonder as the classic truck market is “on fire” and this vintage is leading the pack. Should you stop by you will see that he does all of his own fabrication, body- and paintwork, and all of the assembly inside and out. About the only things he doesn’t do are the sewing and chrome!

If you make the rounds of summer events or have been to Hot Rod Alley at SEMA you have seen his efforts as well as on the cover and featured in a number of publications. Over the course of a year Gambrell will turn out three to four cars and/or trucks and from here they will garner any one of the major awards given out during the summer show circuit season. It’s not the size of the shop that counts, it’s the talent within.

close view of engine in a classic truck
broad view of garage that holds three cars in various stages of repair
close view of car engine
Modern Rodding
VOLUME 2 • ISSUE 10 • 2021