(Photos and words by Darr Hawthorne) – For over fifty years, the Los Angeles Roadster Show has been a Southern California tradition as a showcase for new car builds, a chance to show off your weekend driver, with a huge swap meet and hot rod vendors of all sort.
At the close of Friday’s show day, a couple of friends asked me if the Walden Speed Shop Open House was on my radar for the early evening. Being a fan of the epic work that quietly rolls out of Bobby Walden’s Pomona Shop, this was a no-brainer.
If you don’t know Walden’s work, Bobby is a transplanted Texan and his well-equipped shop is home to some of the finest metal shaping, top chopping, channeling and handwork talent on this planet, his ’32 Pickup (above) is a perfect example. The subtle changes to eighty-five year-old metal is truly amazing, modifying the designs of Detroit auto workers who were grinding out a car for everyman, in the early 1930’s.
It was a short trip over to Walden Speed Shop in an unassuming industrial area adjacent to freight train tracks in east Pomona, upon approach the place was packed with hot rods and enthusiastic car guys.
So with this opportunity, I started shooting just about everything in the shop and in the parking lot. Walden’s shop is truly a speed shop with sales of in-house formed door and roof skins, incredible suspension parts, spring mounts and hardware to build your dream car in your own shop. Some cool Walden Speed Shop apparel, too. Some cool Fords were also in various states of chop and finish.
If you check out the Walden Speed Shop website and their Facebook page, Bobby Walden spends the time to pass along his metal shaping techniques and prowess on roof and door chops, utilizing and respecting the original metal. He has a bunch of You Tube videos of his Power Hammer Technique and tips from the master and he holds in-shop seminars on the craft.
Fortunately, the fine art of metal shaping is alive in many of the small hot rod builders around town, but Bobby Walden is one of the best, in my book. Here’s a quick tour of Walden Speed Shop.