Meet the AKK Krew
BLOOD, SWEAT & VINTAGE STEEL!
Airkooled Kustoms is one of those businesses where when we tell people what we do with Volkswagen and Porsche classics, they usually respond with something like…
You get to do what you love everyday? LUCKY!!
That’s one way to look at it. It’s more like the proverbial overnight success that takes a decade to create. Airkooled Kustoms is not just about custom Volkswagen and Porsche restoration, repairs, and service. It’s a philosophy, a passion, a lifestyle – and it shows in everything from how the Krew is trained and developed, to how the clients are chosen and served.
“We like all vintage steel, but have a passion for Dubs and Porsches. We know them inside and out, upside and down, and we love the organic nature of the shapes and elegantly brutal engineering.”
Eric LeClair (Spook)
What Happens When You Cross an Engineer with an Artist? Easy – you get Spook. A vintage steel restoration guru with a passion for paint, Spook dreamed of Airkooled Kustoms long before opening the shop in Hazel Green in 2004. The mastermind behind the proprietary processes that yield darkside dubs that Volkswagen and Porsche enthusiasts drool over, Spook doesn’t do anything halfway. Ask him about buying a classic air-cooled vehicle made by Airkooled Kustoms, and you’ll probably be surprised to hear him advise against it. See, the process is long, it’s expensive, and it requires a level of commitment few would-be buyers possess. The process is not cheap. It is not for the faint of heart. If you CAN settle for anything other than driving an Airkooled Kustoms Classic Volkswagen or Porsche, you should. If settling is simply impossible, you should contact Spook and get your dream car onto the always full production schedule.
“I choose to live within my passions, not in fear of them.”
Rodney’s been around the shop for years – it just took a while for Spook to ‘persuade’ him to join us for good. Known for his near-magical rough body work (NOTE: NEVER arm wrestle a guy who pounds metal for a living. It will not go well for you.), Rodney also ‘persuades’ our project cars’ bodies to straighten out and fly right. He caught Dub Fever early, his first car being a 1972 Beetle that he transformed and only reluctantly scrapped when it basically disintegrated under him. As we suspected, Dub Fever is also genetically transmitted, and his son Stone is likewise afflicted. Like many of us here at the shop, Rodney gets a kick out of getting to build many, many more Volkswagens and Porsches as a pro than he could ever do on his own.
“I’ve got more plans for building Dubs than I could do in a lifetime.”
Proof that Dub Fever is a genetically-transmitted lifelong condition, Stone is Rodney’s son – born with steel in his bones. Stone is officially Spook’s paid apprentice. That means he works in that end of the building prepping bodies for paint and polish. His eye for detail is serving him well, and his exposure to the shop’s contagious level of OCD is resulting in some excellent work. Tireless, hard-working, and serene, Stone’s presence in the shop gives the older guys hope that the next generation will keep it all going. Oh, and you can imagine what’s happened to Stone’s musical sensibilities after working side-by-side with Spook lo these many months.
“So, part of my job is keeping track of Spook’s pipe.”
Shannon may not have come out of the womb wrenching on Volkswagens and Porsches, but it’s possible. His “mechanic-ing” abilities are a sight to see, almost leaving us wondering if some sort of manual was downloaded into his brain at birth. Even more impressive is his can-do attitude and willingness to take on even the biggest challenges. We’re not sure what exactly puts the perpetual smile on his face. Could be the Slim Jims. Could be the fact he gets to spend his days elbow-deep in Dubs. Whatever it is, he’s family and we love him.
“[Insert Donald Duck sound here.]”
Alex is meticulous in his work, and is learning a whole lot about assembly, including wiring. He’s not afraid of the juice, folks, and he hasn’t released The Blue Genie yet! One of the newest krew members, he’s doing great work on a variety of projects.
“A word to the wise: Don’t eat OLD Slim-Jims”
Daren comes to the Darkside after a long set of careers doing everything from fireman stuff to remodeling. His diverse set of skills and “you haven’t scared me yet!” attitude is making him a highly-valued team member already. He’s learning the ins and outs of automotive upholstery and window installation – among many other specialties.
“We’re going to customize the sh** out of this!”
Floyd Husband (Crazy Uncle Floyd)
Floyd is the mad scientist behind every custom Volkswagen and Porsche engine Airkooled Kustoms builds. You’ll recognize him by that thousand-watt smile that lights up every inch of the Darkside. Floyd brings new meaning to the term OCD. He may single-handedly revive the paper hang-tag industry with his meticulous tagging habit. Floyd’s Rubber Room is the scene of many a car show engine blow build, and is the laboratory (pronounce that like Vincent Price would, please) that spawns some of the biggest, baddest custom VW engines ever conceived. CUF found his way to Airkooled Kustoms with his bus, Gem, and quickly became a beloved member of the Krew. He is in his element when up to his elbows in engine parts.
“It just felt more Volkswagen-y here. This is my happy place.”
Susan Anderson (Princess Patina)
Together, Susan and Doc form the softer side of the Darkside (nonetheless, dudes). Susan joined the Krew in August 2012 as director of marketing and media, sharing in the Airkooled Kustoms goal of total worldwide domination. Hobbies include long walks with the dogs, trying to convince the guys that eyelashes, in fact, ARE a lovely addition to any Volkswagen. Oh, yes, there’s also driving Snoopy nuts with suggesting the Darkside needs more pink. Susan’s grandfather is to blame for her appearance on the scene at Airkooled Kustoms. It was his 71 Super Beetle, now owned by her brother, that began its restoration here and introduced her to the wonderful world of Dubs.
“But does it come in pink?”
– Princess Patina
Robin Cox (Doc)
Doc began her work life with a PhD in Underwater Archeology, the natural career path leading up to becoming CFO of Airkooled Kustoms, of course. Mom to Matt, Hershel and Gypsy (pups), a flock of chickens, and, well, the whole Krew, Robin is one of the straightest-shooting ‘dudes’ you may ever get to meet. She has a remarkable ability to see through crap and make sense of it. Doc’s financial wizardry is not confined to Airkooled Kustoms. In fact, her skills are in demand all over Huntsville – but we are the only business that gets to boast that we have her as an employee. Spook once came up in negotiations against her, and immediately determined he wanted her working on his side so that would never happen again.
“Anybody got a chicken that needs blow-drying?”
Greg Cox (I.T.)
Greg is our resident tech genius, the guy we call with our ID10T user errors. He’s got a penchant for Macs and a super kool bright orange Squareback (the first vehicle Airkooled Kustoms ever produced). He’s also got seemingly endless patience for calls that start with, “Greg, we need you to…”. Greg’s the one who keeps the Darkside from operating like it’s in the Dark Ages.
“Did you try resetting the router?”
Harley Winkleblack (Wink)
Chief of Security at Airkooled Kustoms. When not emceeing in a kilt, patrolling the perimeter in a kilt, or making people laugh until the soda they were drinking sprays out from their noses, Harley’s off doing… well, nobody really knows what, but it’s probably in a kilt. All we know is that it’s unanimous: If you’re ever in a dark alleyway or about to get into a knife fight, Wink is the one you want with you. When you see him, be sure to ask about “Juice” and his pet raccoon. The stories may not come out the same way twice, but they’re guaranteed to make you laugh until your sides ache.
“You make it weird… I make it weirder”