SEWARD — The owners of Code 504 readily accept that it’s an odd name for their artery rod business.
Law administration admiral will admit it immediately. Code 504 is badge scanner allocution for analytical with a vehicle.
Norm Thies, Chris Heater and his dad, Bob, absitively Code 504 was a accustomed for their new adventure at 2804 Twin Oaks Road, aloof off Nebraska 15 south of Seward.
The leash develops and sells S-10 about-face kits and artery rod genitalia for hobbyists who appetite to catechumen archetypal Chevrolet, Ford or Dodge pickups into a cool ride — with bigger suspensions, bigger engines, smoother transmissions, disc brakes and ability steering.
The S-10 is a bunched auto that was fabricated by Chevrolet from 1982-2004. Millions are still on the alley or anchored in auto deliver yards. The three men, with some acquiescent prodding from Norm’s wife, Shirlene, came up with the abstraction of application the S-10 anatomy as the belvedere for their about-face kits because there are so abounding still around.
“We knew S-10s were actual accepted and actuality acclimated on the East and West Coasts for about-face kits,” Chris Heater said. “We started cerebration about how to accomplish brackets, pieces and genitalia — which were accepted — and t them assimilate chassis.”
Over a year ago, longtime accompany Norm and Chris began alive on two ancestor S-10 about-face kits, application a 1939 Dodge auto and a 1951 Ford auto at Norm’s acreage a Milford. The cartage angry out well, but the men were not absolutely abiding they had article that could be the foundation for a business.
Shirlene spied their assignment one day and anticipation otherwise. She knew they were assimilate article and told them: “Why don’t you aloof advertise this? This would sell!”
The two men awash Bob Heater on the idea, affiliated their assets and searched for a acceptable building. They begin one in Seward with abundant amplitude for a showroom, analysis and development and aircraft areas, and offices. They busy the above annoy abundance and opened in January.
Code 504 offers about-face kits for the after pickups: 1947-54 Chevrolets, 1948-52 Fords and 1948-54 Dodges. Each kit contains brackets and genitalia for ascent the suspension, agent and anatomy to an S-10 chassis. A basal kit sells for about $1,300.
Chris Heater said a being doesn’t charge to be an auto artisan to use a about-face kit, which comes with 11-pages of easy-to-follow instructions and diagrams. The aggregation additionally carries an array of artery rod genitalia and accessories and can accumulation motors and transmissions.
“From alpha to accomplishment we are able to accumulation all the genitalia and pieces,” Chris Heater said, abacus that one of their capital goals is to accomplish their articles affordable for “guys who accept a affection for architecture artery rods.”
All three men accept all-encompassing automotive backgrounds. Bob Heater, a area metal artisan and longtime artery rod enthusiast, has been a affiliate of the National Artery Rod Association aback 1971.
Chris Heater credits his dad for giving him the artery rod bug. He and bristles accompany afraid about Bob’s barn aback they were kids. Instead of block them away, his dad gave them accessible admonition — and sometimes money — to accompany projects. Bristles of the six are still in the artery rod industry.
“He’s been a big access in all of our lives,” Chris Heater said.
Norm Thies, a above barter driver, has been alive on beef cars and trucks aback he was a boyhood at Lincoln High School. That’s area he abstruse the apparatus and die trade, which has served him well.
“He can attending at article and say ‘Oh, I can see how this could work,'” Shirlene Thies said.
Shirlene’s cousin, Karen Roth of Milford, brought Chris to a ancestors reunion, and that’s how Heater and Norm met, recalled Shirlene.
“They started a chat about cars and it was abracadabra afterward,” Shirlene said. They spent a acceptable accord of time in Norm’s barn talking about cars.
Chris grew up in a artery rod ancestors and formed as a annoy banker and anatomy man and architect in NASCAR’s Winston Cup antagonism series. A above artefact administrator for Speedway Motors in Lincoln, he doesn’t see the aggregation as aggressive with the auto genitalia giant.
“I don’t anticipate we anytime advised … to attempt with anybody. Our focus was to body a baby mom-and-pop boutique and focus on what we’re acceptable at. We booty a lot of pride in authoritative all our genitalia in Seward,” Chris Heater said.
Getting a business off the arena has been a challenge. Chris Heater’s home in Beaver Crossing was acutely damaged forth with his boutique and some cartage in the May 11 tornado. He spends evenings and weekends alive on the house.
Norm’s step-daughter and son-in-law absent their Beaver Crossing home to the tornado. And Bob Heater’s adolescent brother, Mike, died from injuries suffered in a fall.
Code 504, which has seven employees, works with companies in Seward and beyond the country to action mostly “Made in the USA” genitalia for their about-face kits.
“You can get a lot of being fabricated in the U.S. for the aforementioned amount to get it alien from China,” Chris Heater said.
In the seven months they’ve been in business, the aggregation has alien orders to 29 states and Canada and Australia. Three artery rod shops in Georgia, Montana and Iowa advertise their about-face kits.
Chris Heater said they frequently get calls to advance about-face kits for added models and are alive to aggrandize their artefact line. Unfortunately, they do not do custom work.
“Everything gets put into production,” said Norm Thies, who is currently alive on several new prototypes in the aback shop.
They achievement their aggregation will atom an absorption amid adolescent men and women and get them absorbed in artery rods as a hobby.
“Younger guys don’t get into it because of the cost,” Chris Heater said.
They see their about-face kits as a way to accomplish that appear because of their affordability. They additionally accord admonition on artery rod projects. Code 504 affairs to accord a about-face kit to Seward High School this fall.
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