Rick & Linda Love
1939 Ford Deluxe Coupe
New Braunfels, Texas
There is always that one car or maybe even a few that’s had a effect on the type of car you would build,for me the style Hot Rod I want in my garage is the cars that Pete Chapouris,Jake Jacobs built along with Jim Ewing,these guys broke outside the Resto/Rod mold and built cars at that time radically different they were chopped,modified grills,with or without fenders and looked like a Bonnieville time trials race car.These cars looked fast setting still and these Hot Rods would stand the test of time…California Kid,Jacobs Yellow Coupe and Jim’s SuperBell Orange Coupe with it’s tricked out front nose piece.Later the Fat Fender cars had this same effect Fat Jack Robinson’s Orange 46 Ford Coupe and Rick Loves Blue and Flamed 39 Ford Deluxe Coupe,all these super Kool rides had one thing in common they were driven and driven hard with many miles logged in.
Arriving at Dollywood’s Splash Kingdom for the first day of the Shades of the Past Rod Run, immediately I see Street Rodder Magazines 2013 Road Tour group,all their Hot Rods parked around the Road Tour tent and everyone lining up for a group photo.I asked Jerry Dixey who leads the tour,this year driving a super sweet 1951 Ford Shoebox built by the guys at Honest Charlie’s Speed Shop,do you know the guy with this Blue/Flamed 39 Ford Coupe? He told me that he was with their group and should be over here real soon for the group photo,you see this is one of those Hot Rods that has graced the pages of Street Rodder Magazine,always being driven,not to mention one of my favorite really Kool Hot Rods that wasn’t built to set behind a four post,roped corral for everyone to stare at and never driven.Now I know with this car being in Street Rodder many times that it and the owner must have a significant relationship to the Hot Rod community and the magazine….boy was I surprised when I introduced myself ,that I was talking to Rick Love the Vice President of Vintage Air,for me that’s pretty Kool because my passion for the Hot Rod Community,the hobby and Industry is my job and what I have spent over 30 years doing.Vintage Air is one of those companies that took our hobby to the next level,not to mention the creature comforts of cool air in a hot car.Ok now I am lost….we’re was I…O’yeah Rick and his Coupe my Shelby’s Hot Rod Roundup day one pick at the 2013 Shades of the Past Rod Run.
I spent some time with Rick,shared our message and mission of Shelby’s Way and had the opportunity to listen as Rick shared his family and business history.
Rick told me it’s hard to pinpoint exactly when he got the hot rod bug,I guess it’s one of those things you have or you don’t.My Dad was always a car guy who did his own maintenance as well as some backyard restoration work.I had plenty of hot wheels as a kid,and built models like a lot of us did at that time.A family friend worked on a dirt track modified and he got me involved with racing when I was still pretty young,that relationship taught me some fabrication skills and the whole process of improving and hot rodding a car.When I was in high school,I went thru several muscle cars and rebuilt a 74 GTO and doing a little drag racing with it,but my focus changed when I met some of the guys in the local hot rod club.I hit it off with one of the guys, and I started helping him with his ’39 Chevy.All it took was one evening of running around and driving that hot rod,and I was hooked.I guess my first hot rod was Model A body I bought from Brent VanDervort ( who later founded Fat Man Fabrications ),but I never actually got it on the road before trading for a ’40 Chevy coupe that was a little farther along and better fit for my level of fabrication skills.I drove the ’40 Chevy through college,then went through a couple other old cars before building the ’39 Ford Deluxe Coupe that I still have today.Rick was telling me that the ’39 has been his primary hot rod since 1984,and it has over 160,000 miles and counting.It’s gone through a few suspension updates and gained a five speed over the years,with all those miles and road rash hopefully I’ll be freshening up the paint sometime within the next few years…it sure needs it.
Rick has been so successful that I had to ask him what effect has hot rodding had on your life?
Hot rodding has been a big part of my life for as long as I can remember.I don’t think there is a better group of people than car guys in general,and hot Rodders specifically.I met everyone of the good friends that I have as a result of old cars,or through the industry ( I would have to agree with Rick,and feel very blessed ).He told me he considers himself very lucky to be fortunate enough to make a living in this industry,and it’s still my hobby as well.Rick and his wife Linda have been married for almost twenty years,they have a son ( Matt ) who is a senior in High School this year.Matt has started to get interested in old cars,and we put together a ’56 Ford Victoria for his first car that serves as his daily driver.I asked Rick if his wife shares the passion for hot Rodding,I can’t say that my wife is really passionate about cars,she understands the importance of all of this to me,and has always been supportive.
Vintage Air has been Rick’s full time gig since 1998,and is Vice President of the company.He told me…I love it here,and it gives me the opportunity to work with a great group of people,as well as other car builders and manufactures in the industry.I can’t really imagine doing anything else,and I am fortunate to make a living working in the industry that I love and where my friends are.Rick is also currently the Chairman of the Hot Rod Industry Alliance (HRIA-SEMA Council),and being involved with this council allows me to try to help the next generation of young people get involved in our industry (as a hobby or career).He tells me that I think it’s so important to follow your heart and passion as your life unfolds (as you have done with your shop),and I thinks it’s extremely important to share that message.I think it’s also up to us to try and help young people understand it’s their attitude and decisions along the way that’s so important in mapping the direction of their lives,and that their are many people that are willing to help them stay focused on the right path if they just ask.Rick is a very honest person and I believe lives life by his heart,I asked him if he had any regrets…I can’t say that I have any real regrets.I am a firm believer in the idea that everything that has happened to you through life helps to make you the person you are.Some decisions I made or paths I chose seemed like mistakes or the wrong choices in the short term,but in the end they helped lead me where I am now,and that’s a good place.I try to learn from my mistakes everyday,and concentrate on making good decisions that will keep me headed in the right direction for myself and my family.I have to say that I have been very lucky through the years.I think we all have problems and issues that come up from time to time,but I have always had family and friends in my life to help fall back on.I think surrounding yourself with good people will always help you get through inevitable tough times.Rick we have had a great conversation about our lives,hobbies,business,family and friends,and sometimes I get down over the loss of my son,but somehow our visit with each other has brought a calm over me…I know I am loved and I know I have good friends and I also know that through this tragedy of Shelby’s death I have been Blessed by God with the gift to help others.Thank You for your fellowship I wish you and your family the best,safe travels and God Bless my new Friend.
Rick…by the way don’t re-paint the Coupe it shows where it’s been and the rough graveled road it’s traveled on,that’s history!
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