My name is Ben Oberg; entrepreneur and owner of Vulcan Customs. I have always had a fascination with street rods, exotic cars, and metal fabrication. It started when I was about three. I would steal the hot wheels from the day care I was in and bring them home to add to my collection.
My dad and I would go to car shows on weekends. I would get so excited by the sound of the engines and all the different colors. When I grew out of hot wheels I started reading magazines like Classic Car Trader, Rod and Customs, and Street Rodder. I would make lists of all the cars I wanted and different builds I Wanted to do.
Every chance I got I would hang out with all the old car guys and go to their events and swap meets. When I was 13 I met a guy named Tom Paur at one of these events. Tom became my mentor and taught me how to rebuild engines. He passed away when I was 21 but remains the strongest influence on my automotive passion.
When I was 15 I bought a 1946 Chevy two-ton pick up truck and worked on that for awhile. Pretty soon I would find something else that I thought was cool but couldn’t afford both so I would have to sell one to get the other. After awhile it was a routine for me to buy and sell a few cars a year. Some of them I would fix a bit and sell, some I would just flip, and others I kept. By the time I was 20 I had owned about 25 vehicles.
After high school I loaded my 1951 Hudson Coupe on to the trailer and took off in my 1977 F250 to Hot Rod Institute in Rapid City, South Dakota to further my knowledge in classic car restoration. While I was there I took chassis fabrication and body fabrication. At this point I decided to spend college funds in a more productive way and take metal shaping classes from Lazze at Lazze Metal Dreams in Pleasanton, CA. We started off by making hood scoops, quarter panels, fenders, and custom panels. In the next class this turned in to building a complete ’33 Ford 3-window coupe.
Building cars has always been my passion. Whether it is chassis fabrication, body fabrication, building engines, pinstriping, or painting; I love every part of it. It is such a good feeling to be able to design something, start making it, and be able to see it through to the finished product.
I believe that we are all born with something special, something that no one else has, something specific to each individual person. I think we all have greatness within us and it is just a matter of discovering this and believing you can achieve anything. We all have our own specific talents that need to be discovered.When you know what it is you are supposed to do with your life, I say go for it. There is nothing in the world that I feel more passionate about than taking metal and turning it into a fire-breathing hot rod. When you can’t stop thinking about that one thing that you love to do, when it is all that you dream about, all that you read about, all that you scheme about, go get it. Many people will tell you it is not possible. Many people will tell you to just go get a normal job. No one ever became successful being normal. There is only one thing you need to succeed in whatever it is that you want to do; THE WILL TO DO IT. And so Vulcan Customs was born.
“Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.”
-Ralph Waldo Emerson