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Production company recruits at car show (video)

By Jessica Priest
Oct. 24, 2012 at 5:24 a.m.

These are  photos taken before and after the South Texas Performance automobile garage worked on the 1937 Ford bobber truck. The back of the truck was welded together by co-owner Darrell Heibel, and it features an oxygen tank from an airplane.

South Texas Performance's 1927 T-Roadster was just a forgotten metal shell two weeks ago.

Since then, garage workers frankensteined it back together with a transmission and motor from a 1962 Cadillac and a set of tires found lying in the overgrown backyard of its quaint 1308 Southwest Moody Street garage.

"It went from nothing to this," Performance co-owner Jennifer Heibel said, adding patience is a must for anyone interested in breathing new life into older automobiles. "You have to scavenge for parts in junk yards because they don't make ones for these older models anymore."

And that's the thrill of it for her and her husband, Darrell. The two are members of Victoria's Hellions Car Club, and they're hoping their business gets considered for an upcoming television show about rat rods, or pre-1963-model, abandoned automobiles revived and hodgepodged together with found parts.

A New York production company will use the Hellions' first-ever car show - dubbed "Rumble in the Park" - Saturday as a recruiting ground for it, the group's senior vice president Jay Soule said.

Then, some 200 cars will be on display at the Grovers Bend-area of Riverside Park. Guests must sign waivers for their mugs to appear on national airwaves.

Soule said the company got wind of the show after viewing the club's ad in a magazine. He said rat rod enthusiasts are an interesting subculture to shed light on.

"This is a car show unlike anything Victoria has ever seen before," Soule said.

He said guys and gals into the scene deck themselves out in 50s attire, such as slicked-back or bouffant hairstyles, and that's why they're having a pin-up girl contest at the event.

Soule said five bands, including The Scott Taylor Band, will play popular songs from the rock, rockabilly and Texas dance hall genre. There will also be a bouncy house for kids, extreme midget wrestling, food vendors and a live auction to benefit Warrior's Weekend.

Courtney Maglione, one of the company's producers, confirmed they're attending, but declined to elaborate what the show would be about, as that might jeopardize its chances of being picked up by a network.

She also asked that the company's name not be used.

The company has been around since 2009, creating CMT's "Bayou Billionaires," TLC's "Long Island Medium," and Oxygen's "Jersey Couture," according to its website.

For the Heibels, tinkering with rat rods was a hobby that morphed into something more.

"We quit our day jobs two years ago," Jennifer Heibel said. "We don't make a fortune, but that's OK. We love what we do."

To prepare to feature the T-Roadster and at least three other cars at the show - a 1937 Ford bobber truck, a 1958 Cadillac and a 1954 Shoebox - Darrell Heibel and his employee from Hungary toiled away, elbow deep in grease and sweating in Wednesday afternoon's heat. The music of the Red Hot Chili Peppers spewed from a nearby radio as the men replaced a fuel pump on the Shoebox.

Jennifer Heibel, meanwhile, envisioned putting the finishing touches on the T-Roadster.

"I want it to look like a race car, so I'm going to paint a No. 2 on the side," she said, sizing it up. "We're almost there ... It's just a lot of late nights."



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