From day one, Slam’d has set out to make a difference with the next generation of automotive enthusiasts. As generations pass, we leave parts of ourselves buried deeply in hammered metal, worn-out upholstery, and iron blocks. Our cars need care takers, but more importantly, the world needs cars. There is an age old relationship between man and machine. For us, the automobile serves as a perfect slate to imprint our souls upon. Every member of the Slam’d family has a point in their life when they knew they possessed a real passion for cars; a passion that required expression. My own family tree is littered with car parts and racetracks. I can recall being 5 years old, laying on a creeper, spending the entire day underneath my grandfather’s dirt track stock car (number 00). He patiently answered my countless questions about this tool and that part, even attempting to explain to me how to make the nailhead motivated machine go, “super-duper fast.” For any self proclaimed gear-head, a fair question to ask is: If your passion for cars doesn’t include passing it on to the next generation, is it really there to begin with?
Photos Submitted By: Brian Norris | Words: Michael J. Phillips
Ask Brian Morris (aka @Hauntrod) this question and you will be answered with a blank stare of non-comprehension. That’s because the thought of building hot rods and dumping them on the ground, without the inclusion of his kids, has never even crossed Brian’s mind. Morris is a So-Cal native, now residing in the quiet upstate of New York. Mr. Hauntrod himself, is a true hot-rodder, in the most objective sense of the term. He has a large number of notches in his seatbelt, which is just a fun way to say that in regards to custom builds, he’s been around the block.
So often we are privileged to feature hyper-polished, precision-built cars and trucks from around the globe. Some have even been fabricated from the highest quality parts, using pro-grade equipment, in state-of-the-art shops. While we truly do adore the effects that such prime conditions result in, such conditions are indeed, completely secondary to the heart of hot rodding and custom building. A picture perfect, Baliegh Industrial sponsored, airplane hanger of a shop certainly brings a level of exception that is hard to come by otherwise. That being said, true enthusiasts know that it’s about pouring out your heart and soul into your project, no matter the circumstances or means available. Brian’s work is completed in his home garage, with his buddies and a few beers (when the kids aren’t around of course). He uses his two hands and what he has available, and in this captures and shares this passion with the next generation of rodders.
His passion for cars started before he can remember. Brian’s father, like countless other men, sought to make the yard of his home, beautiful. For him this meant filling it with Model As, which most certainly counts as beauty in our book. For Brian, a childhood full of project cars continued on into a go-fast passion, which only grew stronger. As he aged, this passion was largely fueled by his good friend, Wade Gatlin. Together the two of them would lower quads, producing more effective street racing machines. Brian even reported that the duo lifted their 4×4 “way past the legal limit” (at that time). According to Brian, growing up in SoCal instilled in him a uniquely subtle, lowrider style that still influences him today. Brian has this long and joyful heritage, customizing just about anything with a motor; but now that he has his kids to share it with, building has taken on a whole new dimension of love and purpose.
Brian has two boys, Max and Myles. Right now the brothers are 7- and 4-years old. Brian absolutely loves to build things, with and for them. Of all of his lowrider influenced, ratty style, badass builds, the bagged ’66 Ford Econoline Van that Brian drives every day is still his favorite. The choice is an obvious one for Max and Myles as well. In fact, the two share such a connection to “The Box,” as their van is named, that it has been fully built and customized to securely house their car seats. Brian is not sure if he or his sons enjoy school pick-up time more. Max and Myles adore spending time with their father in his shop, working with his friends, improving the van or working on one of the many other projects. Their favorite tool to use is the air-impact wrench, but let’s face it, that sounds is pretty cool right?! To Myles (4) every cool car is a “van.” Upon seeing a picture of a hot rod he appreciates, or as a nice ride glides past them, he exclaims, “Whoa! look at that van!” Brian even has named his business, of custom fabrication and hot rodding, after the boys. It bears the title, Max & Myles’ Speed Shop. Their Logo is printed on the ’66 Econo Box and the boys regularly sport their Dad’s shop shirts. Family tradition dictates that every morning before school, Brian and his wife score the boys on their chosen outfits. Typically, Max & Myles’ shirts bring bonus points.
While Max and Myles love riding in the Van, showcasing it with their Dad, and helping in the shop, Brian has taken it upon himself to build the brothers a few hot rods of their own proportion. He loves to reclaim and rebuild eccentric versions of vintage goods. This habit has led to building a couple custom trikes with air-suspension. Yes, bagged bikes for he and the boys. There are few things cooler. He has even gone as far as building two custom pedal cars, sporting their own set of ‘bags and 4-link rear set-ups; insert dropping jaw here. If these monster projects, were not enough for your taste, how about a fully customized, handmade, step-side bed that is housed in the kid’s bedroom? Through his innovation and creative expression, Brian is teaching his boys to pursue dedication and a passion of their own.
For Brian and his family, hot rods and building customs is absolutely about going fast, getting dirty, and having fun. However, on a deeper and more personal level, these enjoyment factors are just symptoms of a larger reality. In his words:
“My saint of a wife, Jill, is the best wife and mother anyone could have. She understands the passion that I have for hot rods, and supports it with the kids.”
He hopes that one day his sons will choose on their own to continue building cars, but he knows the passions and lessons that he is teaching them, will apply to all of life, supporting their abilities as they follow any interest. Brian and Jill are seeking to raise their two sons with a strong work ethic, integrity, and a true love for life. Cars offer a unique avenue to bring these imperative values to their family. In the end, this is what it is all about. At Slam’d we have a unique appreciation for all things low. We love seeing minimal distance between car and road. Underneath our own unique tastes however, lies a simple desire to see people come together in a positive way. We want to share common interests, to better one another, and to build a community on a foundation of steel frames and airbags. All good things in our book and the Morris family lives and breathes these values through and through!