(Words and photos by Doug Gregory) – Mike Wagner started Cornfield Customs as a side-business in 2007 and that grew into full-blown self-employment in 2009. We’d been aware of the craftsmanship coming out of this shop for a while and had dropped by their old location once before. They’ve recently moved into a new, much-larger property and now have room to grow. Mike is an official instructor for Baileigh Industrial, makers of finely-crafted, heavy-duty metal shaping tools. This fall he is scheduled to be at SEMA plying his craft and teaching with others in the Baileigh booth.
Cornfield Customs currently offers vintage Chassis Research TE-440, TE-448, and K88 replicas jig-built and TIG welded. They also reproduce Ford A, ’32, and 33-’34 chassis and build many custom frames.
The current ‘shop car’ is an Edsel wagon pictured in an article or two we did last year. There are many projects spread amongst the facility. One long-term project pictured here is the Wyke ’32 Sedan. The custom chassis is pretty much complete and the body mods are now underway. This one will be super-detailed with lots of fine modifications. The C-10 cab came in for some reconditioning, a chop, suicide doors, and more. The Fiat shell is real-deal stuff and needed some repairs and a proper spare tire well. That was fabricated out of one piece of metal…..no seams here. Folks told Mike ‘it can’t be done’. He regularly explains that ‘he doesn’t know he can’t do something’ so he tries anyway. He is constantly pushing himself to further his craft. Both cars on and under the lift feature Cornfield chassis while the one on top also features their quarter panels, door skins, cowl sides, and the whole floor. The wild-looking Ford truck is another long-term project and came in specifically for the chassis work. Cornfield designed and built the frame and suspension. If you look carefully you will see the rear is a cantilever setup. The Henry J just recently showed up for firewall, floors, and the rest of the tin-work inside.
When it comes to metal-work, they do it all. Virtually any metal-shaping, hole punching, panel fabrication, brackets, and more – they do it. There is a plasma cutting table that has churned out some very interesting and artistic pieces. We saw presses, mills, lathes, welders, shears, and all manner of hand tools. One table even has a swing-out diner stool. This was fabbed up at the former location due to their limited space. The main chassis table has holes everywhere to facilitate just about any large fabrication task from full-frames to narrowing a rearend housing. You can see by the photos there are parts everywhere and at the time these pictures were taken they hadn’t finished unpacking.
In the last photo is John Gilliam’s ‘car. John brought it in for a full-aluminum hood with louvers and some odds&ends. We caught this photo of it at the 2015 NHRR in Bowling Green, KY.
Presently they don’t offer the full-build range of services, but in the future they may do body & paint on a very-limited basis. Check out their work at cornfield-customs.com or look them up on Facebook and Instagram. They regularly post up works-in-progress and video of the processes to make metal yield to the master’s will.
Enjoy the photos.