Chris McBeath grew up around cars and motorcycles. His father Paul, who recently passed away, was a multi-talented man who was involved in the beginnings of hot-rodding in this country from the 1940s to today.
“He’s really the very last of his generation,” Chris says. “He was a race car driver and built race cars. He was a master mechanic and did upholstery, and this garage is a testament of the one-of-a-kind work he’s done.”
Chris’ garage now houses all the vehicles that he worked on with his dad, a total of nine motorcycles and two cars. The cars include a 1977 Corvette that his dad modified and did all the machine and upholstery work on. There is also a 1932 open-wheeled hot rod that is totally custom and redesigned, as well as being made completely in Iowa.
His custom motorcycles include modifications that are one of a kind. Paul became interested in dragons during his time serving in Korea during the Korean War, and many of his designs feature the mythical creature.
His cars and motorcycles won a total of seven first place awards with three right here in Grimes.
“He was such a creative person,” Chris says. “He actually had an engineering degree and was a regional manager for an oil company, but he had all these technical skills as well. I worked with him side by side on all these projects, and I’m carrying on his tradition of custom cars.”
For Chris, the garage has been a way to stay connected to his dad and to carry on his legacy. He believes that the hobby really brings together generations of people. Coworkers come over to visit and bring their young kids, and everyone finds the vehicles interesting. They are also a testament to the abilities of people right here in the Midwest and Iowa.
“I think one of the main things is the East or West Coast thinks whatever they do is the best, and we don’t exist,” Chris says. “We have a culture all our own, and he grew up in the Midwest with those values, and I’m keeping this garage the way it is because it’s really a biography of this man.”
Contact Darren at 953-4822 ext. 304 or email@example.com to recommend someone for an upcoming issue of “What’s In Your Garage?”