Mark & Kelly Skipper
1951 Ford Royal Victoria
April 2009 I joined the HAMB a Hot Rod forum dedicated to “Spreading the Gospel of Traditional Hot Rodding”,our family had been racing on a national level since 1996,with lack of sponsorship and a falling economy I returned to my Hot Rod building roots along with Shelby my oldest son.Shelby was already heavily involved in the local street racing scene with now owning a couple different Mustangs and building/blueprinting engines in his own garage.2009 was a year of tragedy for our family,we loss Shelby on December15th to suicide…….believe it or not the one place I found peace was bench building myself a new hot Rod,the HAMB became a place I could go to and hide behind the keyboard/computer screen and find rest.The Jalopy Journal and HAMB has been one area where I started to rebuild my life,meet new friends,share thoughts and ideas along with business plans for Shelby’s Speed & Kustom and our non-profit Shelby’s Way…for the last three years Shelby’s Way has been promoting a program within our non-profit the “Shelby’s Hot Rod Roundup”.With Ryan Cochran’s approval (the HAMB owner) Shelby’s Hot Rod Roundup “Brings Awareness to Suicide Prevention” by having a online HAMB yearly pick to help us gain more awareness and advocates.
Our Shelby’s Hot Rod Roundup Pick for 2013 was Mark & Kelly Skippers beautiful 51 Ford Royal Victoria from Fresno,California I watched on the HAMB a thread that Mark A.K.A RoyalShifter posted updates of the build almost daily.Now it didn’t take me long to see what special folks these two are…they both live in a period correct house decorated inside and outside from the 1950’s thru 1960’s,the Tiki lifestyle is also a big part of their decor along with Marks garage.Mark has been in many magazines over the last year and a half with his 51 Ford,been featured on many Mad Fabricators DVD’s and was a part in the build of Von Franco’s Lightin’ Bug Roadster which was featured on the cover of Rodders Journal.
Mark married Kelly back in 1995 and says “without her I would have never been able to express my talents…I owe my world to her and love her dearly”, he works for the City of Clovis California in maintenance and told me “I just want to get retired so I can use my time more for the arts”.Regrets…..”I wouldn’t change a thing”
Some of us at one time may encounter a life changing experience or event for Mark and his first wife in 1991 they lost twin boys at 7 months still born….and he says “they are my driving force today”.
Event changing would be building the Royal Victoria this car has changed his life and put him in a category of some outstanding builders of today,but it doesn’t stop there…he is now building the Club Royal Coupe 1947 Mercury Kustom so Stay Tuned!
Life tosses us in many directions….towards excitement,tragedies,joy,happiness and failure,but it’s how we preserver and come out on the other side,whether good or bad it’s character building and it’s that character God is after.Only he knows our purpose…it’s always good because it comes from him.Mark,Kelly life has tossed you around,but you two are much better for those life experiences and I’m so happy to call you guys friends.God Bless you both.
Mark & Kelly Thank You so much for allowing us into a few shots of your home and how you live in Fresno,California.You both are true examples of passion of our hobby!