The pro-touring scene is far from tired these days, with the automotive world showing more and more love to the “build it and drive it” believers. Because of this, more and more shops are adding the popular genre of vehicles to their repertoire. But not everyone wants a muscle car. After all, we are Rod Authority and while we like our cars to be able to be driven, we also love our classic hot rods.
ASR Performance & Customs in Northern California knows both the pro-touring and the street rod genres well. So well in fact, that they specialize in building just about any classically-styled vehicle that’s meant to be driven. Because of this, we wanted to take a closer look at the vehicles ASR is building as well as the shop that produces these amazing rides!
Located in Grass Valley, California, ASR Performance & Customs has been dubbed “Northern California’s progressive hot rod shop,” and for good reason. Specializing not in one make or model, or even one specific genre of vehicle, ASR is all about building show-worthy cars that are meant not to be trailer queens, but to be driven! That means anything from traditional hot rods to pro-touring cars are fair game, from minor upgrades to full-fledged frame-up builds. If you can dream it, they’ll build it.
“The shop is a good mix of full builds and partial builds and upgrades,” Dowd told us. “We prefer full builds and love the process from start to finish. Seeing something come to life from your own creation is pretty rewarding. But also enjoy what partial builds bring in. It mixes up the work flow.
Connected to Attebury Street Rods in a pretty major way, ASR Performance has officially been its own custom shop since February of 2015, but the experience that owner Matt Dowd has in the hot rod and custom world goes back years before that.
Right after graduating from high school in 1999, Dowd took a job at Attebury Street Rods owned by Ron Attebury, having always liked classic cars, having a 1968 Mustang as his first vehicle, and having taken a welding class in school. The famed hot rod builder essentially took Dowd under his wing, a 17-year-old kid he knew nothing about, and showed him the ropes. Dowd flourished and has become a highly skilled and accomplished hot rod builder.
When Attebury started to look at the possibility of retirement, the plan was that Dowd would take over Attebury Street Rods, but loving what he does, Attebury isn’t quite ready to retire, so ASR Performance & Custom was created. Dowd now runs his company out of the same shop that Attebury builds out of, sharing not only space and knowledge with the elder hot rod builder, but also an undeniable passion for the craft of building cars.
Since the two companies became seperate entities, they’ve come together on a number of builds, including a fully built 1954 Chevy pickup, and a 1967 Mustang that was converted to right-hand-drive that made its debut at the 2014 SEMA Show in Las Vegas. ASR Performance has taken the knowledge and skills of Ron Attebury and built on them to be able to build not just hot rods but also pro-touring and muscle car builds.
ASR employees are known for their amazing skill sets, which include chassis fabrication, creating custom billet components, custom body and paint work, and building custom suspension systems, including independent suspension systems like the fully independent Mustang suspension system put on Dino Rossi’s 1967 Mustang, which went on to compete in the Optima Ultimate Street Car Invitational (OUSCI) in November 2014.
It was this car that Dowd credits with helping launch ASR Performance & Customs and showcase the work they could do when it came to muscle cars and pro-touring builds. Another major build for ASR was Dean Scott’s 1932 roadster, which we featured right here at Rod Authority a few months back, that went on to be accepted for and compete with the top builds in the country at the Grand National Roadster Show. If you haven’t checked it out yet, it’s certainly worth a look!
ASR may have plenty of competition out there in the market, but it’s the honest approach to all of their project that sets them apart, according to Dowd. At ASR, it’s all about what the customer wants and Dowd and his crew give them just that by never cutting corners, not trying to up-sell anything and really listening to what each individual wants out of their vehicle before moving forward or making any suggestions. You could say it’s like working with friends on a build rather than a business where you don’t know anyone.
Still a fledgling company, but one that’s incredibly accomplished already, Dowd sees big things in the future for ASR. In addition to moving to a more central location in the future, Dowd would like to build more award-winning cars, including one that would make the Goodguys Top 12, showcase a new product at SEMA, and even compete in and win the SEMA Battle of the Builders competition some day.
Dowd is certainly on the right path to accomplish all these goals and more with ASR Performance. Dowd and his crew may be young by the industry standard for rodders, but they are old souls in experience and passion alike. There’s really no telling where ASR Performance & Customs will go from here, but like Dowd says, there’s no other way than up!