When you've operated a successful business for more than 45 years, chances are good everyone will know your name. Such is the case with the name Kugel, as in Kugel Komponents, which is most widely known for building independent front and rear suspension systems for hot rods.

But that wasn't always the case because before Jerry Kugel started his business in 1969, he was a mechanic and machinist who liked to solve problems. Working on a basket-case 1932 roadster that he'd purchased for $1,000, he wanted to install a Ford motor but didn't want to cut up the pristine firewall. He saw that if the shaft in the stock Ford water pump could be cut down, it would fit so the firewall wouldn't need to be cut and, once an article by Bud Bryan appeared in Rod & Custom magazine showing how he'd done it, Kugel found himself in business modifying water pumps.

But another aspect of Kugel's roadster caught people's attention. Kugel also noticed how, with its caged design, a rear independent suspension system from a Jaguar could fit under a Deuce roadster as a complete unit, and soon others wanted IRS systems for their cars, too. As supplies for vintage Jag suspensions started to dwindle, Kugel started making his own machined components for 9-inch-based independent rearends from blocks of aluminum, and soon another facet of Kugel Komponents was firmly entrenched.

Throughout the past 40-plus years, Kugel Komponents has shied away from doing repair on rodder's vehicles, mostly because they didn't have the time or space needed to devote to it. But more recently they've opened their doors to all sorts of repairs, from engine replacement to brake problems, overheating to electrical problems.