Hollywood Hot Rods: Exclusive Behind The Scenes Look With Troy Ladd

Recently we were lucky enough to venture on over to Burbank, California to spend the day with Troy Ladd at the infamous – Hollywood Hot Rods – and check out the shop and some ongoing projects in their infinite stages of finish.

As soon as we walked through the bay doors and unloaded our camera gear we were immediately overwhelmed with the amount of “fun” that was in store for the day. Surrounded by flatheads, Coyotes, Model As, coupes and sedans, all the way to full coach-built creations – we quickly decided that this is probably exactly what heaven looks like. After catching our breathe, and our bearing, one look around and we immediately knew why Hollywood Hot Rods has worked its way to the top tier of custom car building and why the name now carries with it, an entire generation of fans and followers.

In the video above we find out what makes Troy Ladd tick and how Hollywood Hot Rods has quickly become one of the biggest names in the hot rod and custom car scene. It’s not ONE particular thing, but rather a combination or “recipe” – if you will – that allows HHR to continually push the boundaries of customization and take things to a whole new level, every single time they put grinder to metal.

Hot Rod Heaven  /  A Look Inside

Officially opening its doors over a decade ago in 2002, Troy was actually pretty hesitant to go full-time at the “hot-rodding” biz. Even though many consider him one of the “young guys” in the scene, he had already been building cars as a hobbyist for years and was finally getting fed up with “the day job” so at his wife’s urging, he took the plunge. To Devida, Troy’s Wife, it was obvious that building hot rods is what makes Troy happy, so with her suggestions and careful consideration, Troy quit the construction business and officially opened the doors to Hollywood Hot Rods (HHR).

We don’t do it for the trophies or even the money, sure everyone has bills to pay and we want to keep growing, but at Hollywood Hot Rods our approach is a bit different. We do it for the art. -Troy Ladd

Now, fast forward ten years and the notches on Troy’s belt go on for miles – but it wasn’t always that way. Starting a business from scratch isn’t an easy feat by any stretch of the words, and not only did it take hard work and dedication in the car building arena, but it also took the same effort in the business, marketing, and branding side of things in order to keep the doors open, and keep the customers coming back. Troy is a true believer in, “If you treat someone right eventually it will come back to you and they will do the same.”

Award Winning Builds  /  But Still Grounded

Even with major notoriety and winning build after winning build, Troy Ladd has stayed true to his roots and is still a down-to-earth car guy through and through. Humble is a quality that you generally wouldn’t associate with some of the car industry’s biggest names, but humble is exactly the word we would use to describe Troy Ladd when talking with him about all of his accomplishments.

The right tools and the right people - definitely a winning combination at HHR.

Troy shared, “We don’t do it for the trophies or even the money, sure everyone has bills to pay and we want to keep growing, but at Hollywood Hot Rods our approach is a bit different. We do it for the art – art in the vehicle, art in the custom work, and art in the customer relationships – it’s all art, and we are artists crafting the best cars we can day in and day out.” This mentality is exactly why Hollywood Hot Rods stays grounded and is able to focus on their art.

HHR has received numerous covers, features, tech articles, awards and accolades for their accomplishments – but a few of their major build highlights include:

  • 2007 Trendsetter of the Year
  • Two-time AMBR (America’s Most Beautiful Roadster) award winner
  • Grand National Roadster Show 2010 Builder of the Year
  • Ruby Deluxe Named 2010 Goodguys Kustom of the Year

A quick google search will reveal years of award winning builds including the four most recent pictured below:

Top Left: 1935 Ford Ruby Deluxe, Top Right: 1964 Comet Built for Troy's Wife Davida, Bottom Left: 1932 Ford Roadster Pickup built for Raybestos, Bottom Right: 1932 Ford Roadster Hemi-Powered and dubbed Respect Tradition

Team Effort  /  HHR Crew In Action

Hollywood Hot Rods might be the result of one man’s dream, but the cars they continue to build are nothing short of a team effort. Each part of the HHR team plays an important role in the finished product, and the crew that has come to take shape over the years is a tight knit group of some of the industries best welders, metal shapers, fabricators, engine builders, and custom visionaries.

Aside from the talent and vision of the HHR crew and the proper equipment and tools – there are more ingredients to the perfect recipe and custom car building. They spend enormous amounts of time building one-off parts from scratch and ensuring proper flow and overall form and function with every build.

But this alone wouldn’t be enough and HHR trusts a handful of companies in order to help them complete their hand-crafted dream machines. Comp Cams, hidden fuel injection from FAST, and others come to mind when Troy Ladd is asked who he trusts most with his builds.

When it comes to one-of-a-kind hot rods and customs the HHR crew still sticks to their motto – “Respect Tradition” – but this doesn’t necessarily mean the “traditional hot rod” or “period perfect” builds, what this means to Troy and his crew is actually much deeper than that and goes beyond any “trend” or style of the times.

They believe in respecting the tradition of hot rodding as a whole: innovating, pushing limits, and keeping the hot rod alive. The perfect blend of “old school cool” paired with modern technology and connivence will guide the hands of the HHR team from winning build to winning build.

Working around the clock, Troy's focus is the customer - AND the art.

Spending the day in gearhead heaven helped give us a little more understanding and perspective of what it takes to build great cars, keep grounded, and still continue to push boundaries like hot rod builders have been doing for decades. We can’t wait to see what HHR has in store for the coming years, and we’ll be on hand to capture it first hand so STAY TUNED!

Check out the GALLERY below for more photos from our tour:

Article Sources

About the author

Mike Alexander

With over a decade of automotive print and editorial experience, Mike Alexander enjoys shooting and writing about cars, and has several projects cars in his stable.
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