Salt Flats Speed Shop: Traditional Hot Rod Builder

Salt Flats-Speed-Shop-LogoSalt Flats Speed Shop in Orem, Utah is run by Chris Davenport, a metal fabrication and finishing craftsman and hot rod builder who is dedicated to building 1930’s traditional hot rods.  Chris has been in business officially for about 2 years now and is attracting more and more customers as the word gets out about his affordable, high quality craftsmanship.

“Need a Chop, a roof insert, fender, or a quarter panel? Well you’ve come to the right place. We’ll fix all your cars issues, and have it looking as good in “bare metal” as it did when it was made.”

Chris Davenport in the white shirt, shows us one of his hot rods

Chris (in the white shirt) showing us around his shop in Orem.  This is a customers 3 window coupe with suicide doors.  We dropped in on Chris Thanksgiving week.  He willingly took an hour or more to give us the full shop tour.  He explained all his tools, showed us all his projects and talked shop.  I could tell Chris is passionate about hot rods!

Salt Flats Speed Shop logo is a traditional hot rod style in itself

I had emailed Chris letting him know that a friend and I wanted to drop in and check out his shop.  My friend, Gary, has a 1928 Model A Pickup of his own and found Salt Flats Speed Shop on the Jalopy Journal forums, which is where I originally spotted Chris’ handy work as well.

I checked out Chris’ website and was amazed at the craftsmanship and skill involved in the metal repair and custom fabrication I saw in his projects page.

1932 Ford Tudor Sedan project car at Salt Flats Speed Shop in Orem, Utah

Chris is building his own Salt Flats Speed Shop 1932 Model A Tudor Sedan to show off what he can do.  Please take a few minutes to see his detailed H.A.M.B. ’32 Tudor build thread.  My favorite project at the shop was Chris’ ’32 Tudor.  If you’re subscribed to the build thread like me, you’ll know that he’s planning on taking the car to Speedweek 2010 and actually racing on the Salt.  Chris has period correct frame and body modifications underway, including a 4.5″ to 5.5″ chop top (amount of chop not totally decided), a ’32 pickup grille, schroeder steering box, ’40 Ford steelies with dirtrack Firestones and a hot 8 BA Flathead V8 with a race cam, Edelbrock heads, an Offy 2 carb intake setup and 5 speed behind it (hey, might as well take advantage of modern tech’ for better mpg and driveability).

To build an old school hot rod, you gotta have old school metal working tools.  Let’s take a peek at Salt Flats Speed Shop’s tools of the trade shall we…

Salt Flats Speed Shop metal forming tools of the tradeSalt Flats Speed Shop can do any fabrication for hot rod buildingSalt Flats Speed Shop tools of the hot rod building trade

Here are just some of the metal working tools used to perform any number of repairs or fabrication.  Close up of an English Wheel (used to put a crown in a door skin or roof insert), standard millin/drilling station and a Lenox Nibbler (Louvers, shrinking and shearing and beads).

Rack full of rolling dies for metal working jobs

I liked this shelf hanging on the wall full of rolling dies in many shapes and sizes.  Chris said he can replicate any body line from the 20’s, 30’s and 40’s with his equipment.

A vintage Porsche on a rotisseire for metal repair and restoration

Chris is doing some restoration and repair (R&R ha ha) on a friends Porsche project.  Cool rotissiere stand!  Chris made that too!  Obviously!

Just some of the project cars at Salt Flats Speed Shop

Here’s a look from one end of the shop to the other to get a look at some of the project cars.  You’ve got the 32 Tudor, a 3 window coupe, the Porsche, the aluminum 1940 Willy’s (that’s right, aluminum) and another 3 window coupe.  So cool!  Lots of bare metal in this shop!

Model A pickup cabs anyone?  Most of these are spoken for already though

I believe most of these are spoken for, but that is a nice collection of Model A Pickup cabs ready to be turned into hot rods.

Home-made die to form 80+ year old bodylines from flat steel sheets

This last picture is cool.  A closeup of the die set on that Lenox Nibbler that will do wonders with a flat sheet of steel.

So there you have a quick glance at Salt Flats Speed Shop.  Check out their website and 32 Tudor build thread.  I hope to bring more of the ’32 Tudor to in 2010.

Go and visit  theSalt Flats Speed Shop Website


Louvers are essentiall for traditional hot rodsChris Davenport showing Gary and I the details of his '33 Sedan converted to a VickySalt Flats Speed Shop 1932 Ford Tudor Sedan choptopChris explaining the work involved in repairing this Ford door

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