Hauk Designs Founder & Owner Kenny Hauk, in his own words.
“I grew up here in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, right here on this road, the same road where our shop is. So I’ve lived pretty much my whole life here on the Hauk family farm. We’re actually sitting in what used to be my grandmother’s kitchen, so it’s got a lot of meaning for me. I spent a lot of really good times here.
“Over the years we’ve been acquiring really cool pieces out of old warehouses, barns, different buildings. I think that’s really cool. A lot of the pieces that we’re using have all the original stampings from foundries and factories right here in the U.S. They’re all gone. And, really, all these pieces are all we have left of this history, and I really kind of want to hold onto that.”
Build things to last a lifetime
“My dad, he always loved working with wood. I love watching him build things. He goes at everything full-force, and he doesn’t cut any corners. When I was little I was like, ‘It’s so painstaking how much time he’s putting into this, overbuilding everything.’ You know? But then I realized that’s good. That’s going to last a lifetime.”
“I always think about that when I’m building something – what would my dad say? How would he look at this? How would he tackle it? How would he over-engineer this piece?”
Taught himself the needed skills
“I always had an affinity for hot rods, cars, trucks. They always appealed to me. I really didn’t have a lot of skill set in that, but I admired it a lot. So I poured over the magazines, hot rod magazines. And I talked my dad into buying us a secondhand welder, and I watched YouTube videos on how to weld and kind of just kept playing with it, playing with it, learning as I went along.
“I immediately started trying to implement all the things I learned from the magazines, so suiciding the doors and doing all kinds of metal fab work on it, and I really became addicted to it. In the beginning it was all about, to me, breaking new ground. So we had a whole line of parts that we designed for the Wrangler, and we wanted to show off those parts. The best way to do that for me was to go to a really kicking show vehicle, put those parts on it to draw attention to our brand.”
Custom show vehicles garner attention
“What happened was we got on the cover of a magazine for those vehicle builds and they give us five or six pages in the magazine. People would take tons of pictures of it. It’d just go all over the place. The next thing you know people didn’t even know that we built parts anymore. All they knew us for was these radical custom show vehicles. So then we started building show vehicles for other companies, and that’s where I’m at now.”
“The reason I think we’ve had success with our vehicles is because we connect with people on a deeper level, and that’s not always easy to do.”
“If we incorporate something else that people already love and re-imagine that in a different way on a vehicle, then it does that. So somebody’s like, ‘Hey, I love trucks. I like guns. I like vintage World War II airplanes.’ I like all of these different things that they enjoy or that they have appreciation for. If we wrap those together and put that in a single package, it blows their mind because now they’re seeing all those things new and incorporated. And the more details you can incorporate into it, the longer they’re going to stand there and look at it and take pictures of it, and more people are going to be drawn to it.”
Pit Bull Tires build
“Right now we’re in the middle of a Pit Bull Tires build. I think of a Pit Bull junkyard dog. How can we represent [the company] in a fitting way that can draw a lot of attention? And so I think the ’46 Dodge Power Wagon Wrecker is going to be something that people talk about for years to come. It’s going to be something very unique and different and have a lot of appeal.”
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder
“We’re very honored that we’ve received some awards. But, honestly, everybody likes something different. To say something is better than another thing, it’s just all perspective. You know? You can have a beautiful hot rod that is just detailed out to the max. And then you can have a rat rod right next to it that’s just giant rust holes in it and different things, but it’s very unique and creative. And I like them both equally.
“It’s a shame that there’s still people out there that are like, ‘Oh, if it’s not this, it’s not good.’ You know? But I really don’t care. I’m just going to keep doing what I like. And if other people like it, too, that’s great. But you’ve got to be happy at the end of day yourself with what you turn out.”