This is the motto of Dixie Dream Rods, a dream in and of itself. Since opening its doors in March of 1994, this Ringgold automotive shop has been a leader in the street-rod community.
Owned and operated by Ronnie and Janet Black, Dixie Dream Rods is staffed by a friendly and capable team of automotive experts. Working together, the team has been rolling out quality machines for over a decade, gaining national recognition.
Whether you are interested in restoring a 1936 Packard to factory condition with rich leather interior and whitewalls, or want something racier — say, a hot pink 1936 Chevy pick-up with a 350 and chrome — Dixie Dream Rods can do it.
The dream rod process
Though motivated by passion, restoration and customization is often incredibly difficult, Janet said.
“Cars are brought in (the shop) in every type of condition,” she said as she walked through the facility, “But when we’re finished, they’re… show cars.”
Patience is key. “When you do a complete car,” she continued, “(work is extensive and) it can take close to two years to complete.”
Upon arrival at Dixie Dream Rods, a vehicle is thoroughly inspected. The body is carefully removed from the frame, repaired, reworked and sandblasted as needed.
Because customers often request more powerful motors and higher-caliber machinery for their vehicle, supports are routinely added to handle the additional weight of the engine as the body and frame are re-assembled.
“We box in the frames to make them stronger, to hold more updated equipment,” Janet said.
After creating a secure base upon which to develop the automobile, the crew at Dixie Dream Rods begins the process of equipping the vehicle with “cool stuff.” Options include: a state of the art sound system, air conditioner, custom paint job, upholstery and chrome — anything the customer desires.
“Sometimes people want something different,” Janet noted. “They want it customized and different from the original look, and we do it. We’ll do it — whatever they want.”
Because proper restoration and customization processes can take over a year, the team prefers to keep multiple cars in various stages of completion to work on in-house.
“We’ve got several cars going on at one time,” she said. “There’s probably about twelve cars in the shop right now.”
Dixie Dream Rods does both restoration and customization with equal dedication. However, a tension often emerges between those who prefer restorative methods to customization and vice versa. Vance, one of the shop’s employees, joked: “Anyone can restore an antique. It takes a real man to cut one up.”
According to the company website, the individuals at Dixie Dream Rods combine “knowledge, craftsmanship, and attention to detail with the fine art of blending today’s technology into yesterday’s beautiful styling.” “This,” they emphasize, “along with a love and dedication for what we do, enables us to restore your car to any level you desire.”
It is for this passion and dedication to quality that Dixie Dream Rods has been recognized across America. They have been featured in magazines such as “Southern Rodder” multiple times and won countless awards at shows throughout the country.
Janet, an avid collector of Coca-Cola memorabilia, has her own fully restored 1937 Cadillac convertible.
“I love it,” she said.
The car features red and white Coca-Cola logos along the seats and interior, whitewalls, a license plate that reads “COKCADI” — and a 2000 Northstar Cadillac engine that will definitely spice up the ride home.
As popular TV shows such as “Overhaulin’” and “Monster Garage” attest, the American public is fascinated by cars. The crew at Dixie Dream Rods, though, is skeptical of the methods of these programs.
“No, there’s no way (they can do it so quickly),” Janet said, “You might could bring something in and just spray over what’s there, but… if you do a car right, you take it all the way down to the metal. And we do. There’s no way (they can do it right).”
She added, “You might could do some minor modifications and make it look good — do some things that would be easy to see — but not anything in depth or right or that would last… (What you see on the shows) won’t do.”
Indeed, the top priority for Dixie Dream Rods is quality.
A dedicated team of craftsmen striving for automotive perfection, these individuals often re-create the past for customers, creating memories and magic in the process.
For more information call (706) 965-5093 or visit www.dixiedreamrods.com.
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