Stroud's Custom Classics: From Cars to Bars
September 23, 2015
Custom builder Bodie Stroud owns and operates BS Industries in Sun Valley, California. Known for making major changes in a subtle way, Stroud incorporates his vision and style along with modern technologies into a vehicle for a more comfortable ride. His shop specializes in anything pre-1970s — from a stock restoration to the “completely wild” ’63 Ford Galaxy he’ll bring to the SEMA show in the fall. In addition, Stroud sells a patented line of adjustable tubular control arms and a turn-key truck program is under development.
In just over seven years, BS Industries has completed more than 30 custom hot rods — some for celebrities including Johnny Depp and Tim Allen. You may also recognize Stroud and his incredible concept sketches from the hit show Monster Garage, where he starred alongside custom motorcycle manufacturer and celebrity Jesse James.
But he wasn’t always in the spotlight.
Before designing, building and fabricating cars for Tinseltown’s A-listers and comedic Stroud worked as a heavy-duty diesel mechanic for 15 years and originally started building cars as a teen while growing up in California. His father had refused to dump money into repairs on Stroud’s Volkswagen bus, so he simply taught himself how to manage the mechanical stuff.
“We were always working on cars … trying to lift ‘em, lower ‘em, make ‘em faster — whatever we had to do to make ‘em look good driving down the road,” said Stroud of he and his friends.
He began welding when he was about 18 and says that’s what led him down the path to where he is today.
“When I’m welding, it’s kinda like my Zen moment,” said Stroud. “I can put my hood down, some music on, start welding and the world disappears.”
While he used to weld on a daily basis, Stroud admits that the day-to-day hustle of running a successful business operation means he can’t be under the hood as often as he’d like.
“The thing I love about Miller though, because I no longer get to weld all the time, is that the products are simple to use. Just pick up the torch and go,” said Stroud. “I’m not a real technical guy or even certified but I understand the machines and what heat is needed. These Miller products are super intuitive and the charts are easy to read — I’m telling you a 7-year-old could do it.”
Stroud loves the versatility and performance of the Miller products and welding protection that the shop relies on day-in and day-out to build amazing rides for their customers.
For the shop’s TIG welding needs, Stroud turns to the inverter-based Syncrowave 210®, which welds up to 1/4-inch-thick material in a single pass. Operator-friendly controls like Pro-Set™ provide speed and convenience and increase user confidence by eliminating guesswork when setting weld parameters.
BS Industries also enjoys the newly redesigned Millermatic® 211 MIG welder, which welds material from 24 gauge to 3/8-inch thick in a single pass and can be used in more places around the shop with the Miller-exclusive Multli-Voltage Plug (MVP™).
His guys simply choose the plug that fits the 120 V or 240 V power receptacle available and connect it to the power cord. No tools are required. With a new triple-handle design and a nearly 50 percent weight reduction to just 38 pounds, this inverter-based model delivers a lighter, easier-to-move machine for his fabricators, with a faster-reacting arc that’s more forgiving to variations in travel speed and length.
The machine is so portable, in fact, that Bodie can throw it in the back of his truck to complete other home repairs or fun projects, including hand railings out of cranks and cams that he did for buddy Jay Leno’s home, a bar for the Enthusiast Network’s El Segundo-based Tech Center (think Hot Rod Magazine) and even pipe corals for his wife’s horses.
“In my life, welding is multi-purpose. It’s not just for welding up hot rods and frames … I use it for a little bit of everything,” said Stroud. “Being a welder has introduced me to so many interesting people. It is a respect for what we do in the industry and the knowledge of what it takes to be good. When you see others with the skill and you have that certain thing in common, it’s amazing the people that it will connect you with … from industry friends to celebrities. At the end of the day, I’m still just this guy that loves to weld in his garage.”
When asked about what advice he had for do-it-yourself hobbyists looking to improve their skills or others looking to start their own business, Stroud had this to say:
“Some of the best advice I ever got was from my Uncle Tom. I thought I was an okay welder. I was welding up this trailer and chipping the slag off of it and grinding the welds. The next day I came in and couldn’t find the grinder, so I said to Uncle Tom, ‘Hey, have you seen the grinder?’... And he said ‘Yeah, I took it home. Learn how to weld.’”