Garage ranges from auto repair to street rods

There's plenty of room for more cars, but Robert Hadfield has a Ranchero, a Camero and a Firebird in his garage at Insane Customs Performance & Automotive Repair in Gardnerville.

Hadfield had a successful performance and automotive repair business in Riverside, Calif., for over 20 years but was fed up with the crime in the area.

"It was bad with the gang violence and thieves taking from me every day," he said.

It was 27 years ago that Robert Hadfield first visited Carson Valley.

"My friends moved here and I fell in love. I said, 'One day I'll retire here,' and here I am," said Hadfield.

He said that when his 15-year-old daughter was "approached" earlier this year, he decided it was time to move.

He took his family for a ride up Highway 395 in April and within two months they moved to Carson City and set up the Insane Customs garage in Gardnerville.

"I was raised in the business - I've been playing with cars since I was 8 years old," he said about his total of 35 years working in the automotive business.

Except with part-time help from son Donald, Hadfield does all work from building high performance engines, to custom painting and graphics to interior fabrication.

"It's a '57 Ford Ranchero, first year they were made," he said about a rusted-out "before" candidate.

"It won't be 'chopped' but 'overgrowed.' Bigger is better. It will look good and go fast - oh yes!"

Hadfield is working on a car for his daughter's 16th birthday next year.

"The '81 is the last big Camero," he said. "It's going to be European jet black with blue pearl and purple passion ghost flames worked through it. She'll be set and styling."

As requested by the car's owner, the stock 1977 Firebird "Skybird" with 120,000 miles will be restored to its original baby blue disco-era beauty.

There's $85,000 in work in a customer's '71 Corvette Hadfield to be shown at Reno's Hot August Nights. It will be Hadfield's first time at Reno's Hot August Nights and Carson's Silver Dollar Classic in Mills Park.

No stranger to car shows, Hadfield built a '68 Chevelle and showed it in the Fontana Car Show.

"Chip Foose from (The Learning Channel's) 'Overhaulin'' show said I did very good work," he said.

Hadfield said he restores cars to the car people grew up with or to the dream car they always imagined.

"We talk. I ask if it's going to be a restoration, a street rod or a show car," he said. "We consider if it's going to be driven daily, on the weekend or to be shown.

"People ask, 'what can I do to restore it?' We could put it back to original shape or do like we did to the Corvette and like we'll do to the Ranchero."

Hadfield said he does automotive repair from major overhauls to tune-ups for all cars and trucks.

"Customizing was my hobby and is what I want to do," he said. "It's enjoyment to me. I like creating. The best is to see the customers go, 'wow.'"

Check out the Corvette and Chevelle on the Insane Customs Web site,

Insane Customs Performance & Automotive Repair is at 1215 A Service Drive, Gardnerville. Hours of operation are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Call 783-1850 for more information.

What: Insane Customs Performance & Automotive Repair

Where: 1215 A Service Drive, Gardnerville

When: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday

Info: 783-1850


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