Chris Carlson Hot Rods

There’s a lot more Custom builds where that one came from!

When the Martin Senour Company unveiled a phenomenal 1940’s Ford custom pick-up truck featuring Martin Senour’s Tec/BASE® Premium Solvent Refinish System at the 2013 SEMA show, it practically stopped the entire show.
The one-off paint color, coined “Bankrupt Blues,” was custom created by Chris Carlson of Chris Carlson Hot Rods for the restoration and SEMA unveil. The vibrant blue paint consists of crushed glass and galaxy crystals, giving the truck a sleek, metallic finish.
Chris Carlson Hot Rods is located in Mulvane, Kansas, 15 miles south of Wichita. The shop specializes in street rods, hotrods, muscle cars, restorations, and customs. Their work includes: complete custom fabrication; Candy, pearl, metallic and suede paints; unique graphics and layouts; custom color design; complete turn-key rod and customs; and custom made carbon fiber parts and molds.
“Our business is based on integrity, quality work, and a commitment to excellence. We combine old school flair with cutting edge technology,” says Carlson. “Blending a customer’s ideas with our experts knowledge, results in a one of a kind, top quality car. We offer a wide variety of projects, from economical builds to award winning show cars.”
Having started to paint cars when he was just a teenager in the auto restoration business, Carlson often utilized Sherwin-Williams® automotive finishes. Later when he started his own shop, he was able to switch a number of the custom colors he often used over to the neighboring NAPA/Martin Senour supplier. “Our nearby NAPA facility is a great one-stop resource. They have all our paint, parts, assembly, and PBE materials. We can utilize the NAPA KNOW HOW website for ordering as well as estimating on some of the hard part repairs we do in-house,” he says.
“We took our relationship a step further with Martin Senour at the SEMA in 2012 – we took a car out there to exhibit (on our own nickel), and after Hot Rod magazine took pictures of it, we got to talking with the Martin Senour guys at the show. Next thing you know, we’re doing a vehicle for their booth unveiling at SEMA 2013.”
“We were very excited to partner with Chris Carlson Hot Rods during their restoration on the recent SEMA truck,” said Brandon Devis, Martin Senour Director of Sales. “The attention to detail and Bankrupt Blues color is breathtakingly stunning. We are very proud of the one-off color we created for the truck; and of course, all of Chris’ team for the phenomenal restoration time, work, and artistry they put into this project.”
Chris Carlson Hot Rods made more than 200 body modifications to the pick-up, customizing both the exterior and interior. After SEMA, the truck debuted in the ISCA show circuit at the Houston and Detroit Autoramas and will then end at the Lafayette Motorama.
“Our guys gave up their weekends and put in many late nights to get this project done in time for SEMA – my hat’s off to all of them – because the primer, the paint and the finish all came out great,” according to Carlson. ”The end response and activity at the booth was tremendous. Needless to say, we’re looking forward to more future builds with Martin Senour!”
And sure enough, never one to rest on their laurels, The Chris Carlson Hot Rods team has already dived deep into their SEMA 2014 project: restoration of a 1966 Mustang. While the plan is to also uncover this build in the Martin Senour booth later this year, the vehicle is actually referred to as ‘Karma’s car.’ “It’s going to be the Mustang my wife, Karma, has always wanted,” says Carlson. “We found one in decent shape and we’re chopping it down about two inches to enhance the design, but not too much as we still want it to have a familiar factory look. For the final color, we’re going to work with the Martin Senour guys and develop a red – with a slight maroon tint – as a custom PRO//BASE™ color.”
“The car world here really draws in our whole family; we really are the epitome of a ‘family business’, with sons, daughters-in-law, and of course, Karma here, who really runs all the business –side of things,” says Carlson. “My skill is in building the car, so she oversees all the other stuff, especially when we take cars on the road. She handles all the travel, social media, on-site arrangements, all the displays, you name it. So, when she said ‘I want that Mustang’, boy, you know she’s getting it!”
“The latest Mustang project is consistent with what we really do here – we don’t do collision work – we’re strictly a custom and restoration shop. So this allows us to focus on doing what we really love. We are that rare, all-inclusive shop that does entire builds in-house: all the body and fabricating, paint, exhaust, mechanical and interior, you name it” says Karma Carlson. “We are a family run business that builds high-end, award-winning vehicles which results in lasting friendships with all our clients.”
‘Well, almost all,” points out Chris. “I think my favorite build we ever did here was a Black Model A Roadster. It won a boatload of ‘best paint’ awards and it came out gorgeous. I have to admit that was one car I did not want to give back to the owner!”