G3 Rods in Rapid City, South Dakota, recently held an open house to show off its 20,000 square-foot facility and recognize many of its customers and partners—but it was also a charity fund raiser that bestowed more than $12,000 to a local children’s home.
It was some 10 years ago that Jay Gruba and younger brother Ryan built a ’56 Chevy Bel Air out of their home 32 x 40 garage. After the Tri-5 drew praise at a few shows, the brothers took on a ’56 Ford project and decided to open G3 Rods along with father Chuck—hence the name for the three Gruba partners.
Since that time the shop has built numerous award-winning street rods and musclecars—usually with a unique design twist that sets G3 apart from other builders in the Midwest. For example, check out the ’37 Packard owned by Jay that has been featured in Rod Authority. Some of the shows they’ve exhibited at include numerous Goodguys events, Detroit Autorama and SEMA. The growth pattern including a short stint in a 5,000-square-foot before moving to the current location, a former home-improvement outlet that already offered many desirable features for a shop—such as large roll-up access doors, a generous parking lot and store-front location on a busy thoroughfare.
Shortly after the Grubas launched G3, they hired Rapid City native Tyler Nelson as shop manager. A graduate of the local WyoTech trade school, Nelson was named was named Street Rod Student of the Year. He currently is joined in the shop by Matt Reed.
G3’s emphasis is on custom clean-sheet builds, although the shop will take in select restoration jobs. One of the most involved projects currently underway is a ’56 Nomad that is scheduled to debut at the 2017 Grand National Roadster Show. It’s currently in bare-metal status awaiting a custom all-aluminum 409.
Aside from the extensive and very interesting collection of automobilia to promote a true hot rod atmosphere, the shop is fully equipped to handle fabrication, bodywork, vehicle design and assembly. There’s also a fullsize paint booth that was acquired from a nearby air force base. They only chore G3 doesn’t handle is upholstery.
The Rapid City area and Black Hills are magnets for car shows, vehicle conventions and rallies as well as students who enroll at the Hot Rod Institute. Every summer there are huge events for Mustang, Camaro and Corvette owners in addition to local street rod shows. And the legendary Sturgis Rally that draws hundreds of thousands of bikers to the hills can offer plenty of inspiration for car projects.
G3’s open house featured 38 cars inside and probably another 50 to 60 cars were parked outside, despite light rain. Initially the event was to celebrate Ryan’s 40th birthday but G3 decided to charge registration, sell refreshments and sponsor auctions to help benefit the Black Hills Children’s Home. With matching funds put up by local organizations, the total contribution generated by the G3 Rods show totaled over $30,000.