Marcus Geisler's introduction to car crafting was a case of turning lemons into lemonade. Rather than the brand-new cars his brothers and sisters had received, Geisler was given an inoperable '67 Firebird from his stepdad. Over the course of a year, Geisler and friends got the car running, and after a few mishaps and misadventures sold the result for $6,500. Shortly after that, he bought a '23 T-bucket pickup truck for $3,500, put a little work into it, then sold it for $9,500. "I got into buying and selling cars, fixing them up, and flipping them," Geisler says. "Pretty soon, I was making a living at it. Now I pretty much just work for customers, but I'll do a car for myself every year and a half or so. Older cars represent a simpler time to me, and the business has given me a way of trying to preserve that-even if it's just to expose my son to that era." Geisler has now been in business for about 11 years. His Auto Images (autoimage.biz) custom shop in Camarillo, California, specializes in high-end paint, body, and custom fabrication as well as ground-up hot rods, custom cars, and restorations.
A. Tucked back in the corner is a shaved '65 El Camino that is undergoing a complete frame-off restomod build, including a Moser 12-bolt rearend and a fuel-injected LS2 that has been tweaked to the tune of 500 horses and 480 lb-ft. The interior will be close to period correct but will use modern materials and technology such as high-quality leathers on Lincoln Mark VIII buckets seats.
B. The '69 Chevelle features an LS1 engine, a six-speed transmission, and a 12-bolt Posi rearend with 3.73:1 gears. In addition to installing an upgraded suspension with boxed upper and lower rear control arms, Geisler sprayed a multicolor candy retro paint job that might have been popular in the late '60s or early '70s but includes modern paint technology that comes to life in sunlight. A two-tone Bentley leather interior will match the colors of the exterior, and the console and some of the engine pieces will be custom-made from copper.
C. The screaming-yellow '62 is another Bryant project owned by Mike Jordan. The full-on Pro Street Nova runs a 428ci Brodix aluminum small-block Chevy with a BDS 8-71 blower through the hood. You can include the word custom as an adjective for practically every piece of this car-from the smoothed body to the redone Corbeau racing buckets and from the Strange coilover front suspension to the four-link rear with a Panhard bar. We'll offer a closer look at this one in an upcoming issue.
D. What garage would be complete without a Bentley? This rare, handmade, original S3 all-aluminum convertible coupe is a righthand-drive model that was in Geisler's hands for a full-body paint job.
E. Mickey Petlanski stopped by the garage with his '37 Ford street rod on the day we visited. Auto Image not only replaced much of the Ford's aluminum engine components, reworked the suspension, and completely rewired the car, but it also continues to service and maintain the '37. The coupe's Minotti fiberglass body sits on an Air Ride Technologies suspension and is powered by a ZZ4 small-block with aluminum heads and a Demon carburetor. The 700-R4 transmission turns a Strange rearend with Moser axles.
F. The '55 Chevy originally came to Geisler for simple maintenance work to the heating and air conditioning systems but turned into a major project with an Alston back half chassis, a new exhaust, and updated ignition systems. It features a Strange Engineering centersection, axles, and coilover shocks and a Fab 9 rearend suspended by a four-link setup. Its 540ci big-block makes 720 hp.
G. Note the longitudinal split in the body of the '69 Camaro. It is being stretched and channeled to fit over an Australian-built '05 Pontiac GTO for owner David Feuerborne. The metal magic is being performed by Lawrence Bryant, owner of Bryant Fabrication, who does metalwork in collaboration with Auto Images. The Camaro will be fitted to the rear-wheel-drive Holden Monaro coupe platform and includes coilover suspension, a twin-turbo LSX 427 with Motec fuel injection, data-acquisition systems, and a paddle-shifted sequential six-speed manual transmission.
H. The second '69 Camaro, also owned by Feuerborne, is being treated as more of a cruiser-if that term applies to a ponycar that is also powered by a twin-turbo 427 LSX backed by an Escalade six-speed automatic. It rides on a Chris Alston's Chassisworks front clip and Control Freak Suspension independent rear suspension from Blue Moon Motorsports. The electronics will be controlled by a Drivesoft system that uses its own motherboard and fiber optics to interface with all the car's systems-very high tech.