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Not so Metro Retros

By Susen Foster

On a recent jaunt through Purcell, Okla., I was struck by the handsome sculpted 1949 building at the corner of Washington and Canadian Streets. Craning my neck for a last look at this architectural gem, I caught a glimpse of a shiny, red car in the showroom of the former GM-Buick-Pontiac dealership.

As I came around for a second look, I saw that it was a beautifully restored 60-something Corvette. I stopped in to learn more and found out that it is the re-birth place of some of the most outrageous examples of custom cars and classic restorations in this part of the country. Whether it is the complete restoration of a '73 Mustang, a resto-mod customization of a '68 Camaro, or a theatrical redux of a sleek bodied '63 Corvette Stingray housing the biggest engine I ever saw, the task is never too much for the team at Heartland Customs.

The Page group opened their shop in April 2007 and they already have a waiting list to take them into 2009. This is a real family operation, the concept of which began when it came time for Jeff Page to have his first car. His mom, Dede, was yearning to locate her very first car, a 1968 Camaro. After finding it rusting away in Florida, they brought it home for the guys to play with. This restoration project turned out to be a first-class education and Jeff is still driving the hot little muscle car today.

While Jeff was in the Navy stationed in San Diego, his dad, Ron, rebuilt the 1961 Corvette that I saw on the showroom floor. When it was finished and they began to show it around the area, the Pages were asked to undertake projects for others. In 2007, when Jeff came home with his new bride, Char, the family opened Heartland Customs and haven't looked back since.

Jeff runs the shop while (with the help of little Parker) Char and Dede manage the business end of things. Keith, Lynn and Jared keep things flowing in the shop under Jeff's watchful eye, and Ron spends evenings and weekends working on the precious cargo.

Sometimes the Pages have to search out a vehicle before their client's dream can unfold. Once the "CARcass" is in hand, Jeff and the car owner sit down to pound out the details, from engine size, suspension, and transmission to color, chrome, and wheels.

When the basics are on the table, an artist in Arizona creates a rendering based on the specifications. As the fine points are tweaked to perfection and the client signs off on the drawing, the car is stripped to bare bones and made free from blemish and rust.

Virtually all the steps in the process of taking the shell to the finished product are done at Heartland Customs and, as soon as the last little bit of chrome is polished to a blinding glow, the proud owners of these beauties roll them out the showroom doors ready to wow the world. It's a sight to behold. Guaranteed!!

Next time you are driving I-35 in central Oklahoma, take the byway to Purcell and cruise the charming brick streets of downtown where the gals will find lots of antique shops to visit while the guys check out the cars. Learn more at www.heartlandcustoms.us or call Purcell Chamber of Commerce at 405-527-3093.


Date: 8/12/08

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