Ian’s upbringing traces back to Salinas, California, where his passion for crafting badass cars ignited during his early years. Immersed in the hotrod culture from the outset, countless hotrod posters filled his bedroom walls and as he matured, his circle of friends dove into custom car projects - further stoking the flames for his custom fabrication ambitions.
Ian credits his grandfather early on as playing a significant role in his life. After gifting Ian a set of dial calipers, his grandfather encouraged him to attend Wyotech to pursue his fabrication dreams.
In 2003, Ian graduated from Wyotech University in Laramie, Wyoming with an Associate’s degree in applied science, with a specialization in collision and refinishing as well as custom and chassis fabrication.
Armed with his newfound knowledge, he dove headfirst into the industry in Central California in 2009, undertaking odd jobs and various roles, from
Armed with his newfound knowledge, he dove headfirst into the industry in Central California in 2009, undertaking odd jobs and various roles, from factory work and welding to constructing specialized tomato harvesting trucks. During this time, Ian began slowly building up his clientele doing side projects on custom builds. It wasn’t long before his side projects reached a critical mass with customers and Ian decided it was time to start his own shop. “Between the challenges along the way, and the undeniable opportunity laying in front of me- it was definitely time,” he says.
In 2010, Ian finally built his own workshop in Madera, California. The Metalhead Kustoms name was finally born, a real-life culmination of his dreams and determination over the years.
Today, Ian will tell you that he attributes much of his current talent and skill sets to the hard-earned lessons learned through countless mistakes, and as a tribute to his grandfather, Ian continues to use the dial calipers he was once gifted.
“I finally got to the point where I wanted to do it my way” … “Rejection made me better- it fueled that fire and passion to level up and start my own business. I wanted to make things I was proud of, put my name on it and stand behind it.
” Over the years, Ian credits clients and the support he’s received as the spark needed to continue refining his craft. “Without encouragement from those around me, I wouldn’t have had nearly the same drive to push boundaries and hone my skills” he says.
Engaging with fellow enthusiasts and customers, swapping stories, and working together on projects has been a vital aspect of Ian’s path. If your passion for cars runs deep, Ian insists that you come up and chat with him at events and shows. “It’s not just a job, it’s a true love for the custom fabrication and the hotrod community and the connections I get to make along the way.” he says. “I always feel honored to build relationships with customers that extend beyond the garage doors.
If you’re intrigued by the range of projects Ian can undertake for you, then explore his many projects below. Or if you’re ready to get a project of your own started, feel free to reach out and contact Metalhead Customs.
Q: As a naturally creative individual, how do you view restraints on projects?
A: “I think restraints definitely push you to the next level. It forces you to explore new possibilities and really find the right solutions, as you’re challenged to think differently. My best work comes from this.”
Q: What inspires you when you’re not in the shop working away?
A: “My biggest inspiration is nature and being outside. It has a way of humbling you and makes you feel so much smaller in the grand scheme of things. It’s good for the soul and makes me feel the most alive.”
Q: What was your first big build and what things did you learn in the process that you still use today?
A: “My first big build was a 1935 Ford shop truck. That was a personal project so there were no time constraints. That job allowed me to really push the boundaries for the first time because there were no limits and I could truly test my skills. That project really taught me a whole bunch of what not to do.”
Q: What particular services do you find the most enjoyment from?
A: “I really like doing custom headers and exhausts. With headers, it’s always a challenge. You’re typically up against parameters, whether it’s the gearboxes or the (see audio- steering etc). So you’ve got to work around those things and really think outside the box sometimes.”
Q: Do you have a mantra or a saying that you live by?
A: “If I can do it, you can do it. After years of learning from failures and mistakes, I have been able to put into practice all the things I’ve learned and make a living from it. And as I continue to learn everyday, I truly believe in the ‘If I can do it, you can do it’ saying- it just takes a vision supported by hard work and dedication.”