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This Guy's Garage - Rick Baumgart, Swisher, IA

By , Photography by Rick Baumgart

This Guy’s Garage

Rick Baumgart/Swisher, IA

Before you send that sniveling letter about more shops from rich guys with too much money, holster your poison pen. Rick is just another car crafter. He is a Mac Tools dealer and, yes, his shop is huge, but he lives in a small town in Iowa where you can put up a big shop like this and it won’t cost a million dollars. What’s cool is he says his father owned a Mobil gas station in Yankton, South Dakota, that opened in 1959. “I grew up at the station and didn’t realize the impact it had on me until I grew older,” Rick says. The signs are all pieces he’s collected from swap meets and antique dealers over the past 15 years. He’s also one of the rare car crafters who appears to have plenty of space to work. Instead of being envious, think of this as motivation.

1. Gasoline in California just went under $4.00 per gallon (as of early July) for 91 octane, and we think we’re gettin’ a deal. It’s been a few decades since gasoline was this cheap.

2. The upstairs is full of shelves where the parts department resides. The shop has an extra-tall ceiling.

3. One of Rick’s signs says, “If you’re smoking, you’d better be on fire.”

4. Are you old enough to remember DX stations (officially known as Sunray DX Oil Company) from the ’60s? They later changed the brand to Sunoco.

5. Rick sells Mac tools for a living. “My toolbox is a Kenworth with a 24-foot box that resides in the shop. I enjoy meeting all the super-talented technicians on my route.” Now we have tool envy to accompany garage envy.

6. The ’66 Chevelle, Rick says, is an original SS 396, four-speed car. It now runs a Motorheads 427 with Edelbrock aluminum heads, a roller cam, Air Gap intake, and a Demon carburetor. The drivetrain includes a Richmond six-speed, a Ford 9-inch, and Wilwood discs on all four corners. Those are Billet Specialties 17s on the front and 18s on the rear.

7. The Camaro is Rick’s current project and will be LS1-powered along with a Tremec six-speed all rescued from an ’04 GTO. Detroit Speed mini tubs are already in place and he says it will also include a complete Heidt’s independent rear suspension.

8. “The tables in my shop are damaged stainless steel tops with toolbox wheels and with a custom frame are very easy to move around.”

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