People Who Have Made A Difference:

Jerry Kugel
The street rod revival was marked with innovative performance products, and Kugel Komponents suspensions helped create this new generation of cars.

When I opened my repair business, Jerry's Garage, in 1969, I decided I'd get into street rods. I hadn't before that, so I bought an old '32 Ford roadster, which I still own today, and just started working on it. Street rodding at the time wasn't really booming—I was able to pick up the roadster for next to nothing—a basket case. The more I looked at it, the more I figured out what I was going to do. I decided I wanted to try to do some chassis work. So I started buying independent suspensions from Jaguars and used my car as my test vehicle. I was doing that kind of work for my own use and it wasn't until the early '70s that I started in business as Kugel Komponents. At that time the magazines started taking interest, STREET RODDER being one of them. Then down the road I was able to start advertising and magazines started doing buildup articles and that all helped.

When they came out with reproduction bodies, and Deuce Factory came up with framerails—that really ignited some sparks. Instead of a piece of junk body and a piece of junk frame, now you could buy a fiberglass body and a new frame. Super Bell was starting, and Pete & Jake's and myself with suspension parts. We probably had something to do with getting some more interest in cars.

Today, we're doing less and less hunting around for parts and pieces. Almost everything we see today is a reproduction. Now it's pretty commonplace to have several manufacturers producing aftermarket components like suspensions. You can find a variety of price ranges from exotic stuff to plain vanilla, Mustang frontends or a start-from-scratch setup. But the days of a guy having to rely on junkyard parts are over.