People Who Have Made A Difference:

Ron Covell
Ron's workshops and sheetmetal tech articles—including the Professor Hammer column that has been running in SR since 1995—have made metalshapers out of thousands of readers.

Around 1985, after being a faithful reader and subscriber of STREET RODDER magazine for years (and seeing some of my work featured in its pages) I wondered if I might be able to write an article about metalworking. I ran this idea by Tom Vogele, (former editor of SR) and he strongly encouraged me to submit something!

While I knew metalworking quite well, writing was a skill I hadn't mastered yet. Fortunately, I had a good friend at the time who was a master technical writer, and she strongly encouraged me to write an article, with the promise that she would give me any help I needed.

I was building a set of gas tanks for a '32 Ford roadster at the time, and I thought perhaps that would make an interesting article. I have a vivid memory of sitting at my desk with a pile of photos spread out in front of me, with a pen and yellow legal pad in my hands, wondering how and where to start describing the intricate process. It was a full hour until I scrawled my first words onto the page, and after re-reading my first few sentences, I tore off the page, balled it up, and tossed it into the corner. After another hour, a few more sentences, and a growing pile of balled-up paper, I called my friend Trish over, and she read through my first scribbles. She offered a few pointers on organizing my thoughts and on finding my own style, and I was ready to try again.

I think I went through a couple of legal pads before the article started working for me, but I could see how a little change here and there could really make a difference, and I quickly picked up a sense of how the proper selection of words could create a clear picture in the reader's head.

When Brian Brennan came onboard as editor, he started bringing me some additional topics for technical articles, which I've loved, and I took particular delight in doing the series on Hollywood Hot Rods' recent build of the Road Tour '40. It's been a joy to be involved with this group of always-creative builders for years, and to see the new trends develop over time. I look forward to many more years of working with SR!