Feature Article, Motorsports Industry, Washington — October 7, 2012 at 4:47 pm

Bombers Custom Auto Works (issue 103)



By Steve Heeb

There are plenty of street rodders who can claim their vintage truck still works. But Steve Lagani can boast his vintage truck’s still works. The corn mash producing still is just one of the neat features on his Puyallup-based rat rod barbecue.

Northwest race fans may recall Steve’s No. 88 Monte Carlo in the Hobby Stocks division at Spanaway Speedway when he started circle track racing in 1994. But his love for cars goes back to watching his father Frank race a C-Class dragster and a fuel car at Englishtown, NJ, during the ’50s and ’60s.

His own attempt at drag racing as a teenager was short-lived.

“I wrecked my car on my second pass and that was the end of drag racing,” he explains. “My mom was a little touchy after that.”

He moved to Puyallup in the early ’80s and often found himself in trouble for street racing.

“Then I discovered circle track racing,” he says. “It was more fun and cheaper too.”

After a couple seasons in Spanaway Speedway’s Hobby Stocks, Steve ran in Sportsman with sponsorship from the Muckleshoot Indians from 1996 to ’97.

“I made the jump to Late Models in 1998,” he says of circle track racing until an incident in 2004. “My wife saw me crash in Yakima and didn’t like that too much.”

With a growing family, Steve turned his attention to more street rod projects.

“I took some time off and started building a ’70 ’Cuda Hemi car in my garage,” Steve says.

Before long, Steve started working together with Dean Paulson and Bob Hyatt and the three began searching for a suitable location to launch their start-up business earlier this summer.

“We found a nice spot on Canyon Road in June,” Steve says of the 5,000 square-foot facility in Summit, Wash., that has become the home of Bombers Custom Auto Works. “The business is already growing.”

Steve says the mix of clients they serve have a variety of needs.

“We’re there for the blue-collar guys who just want a car to take to Hot August Nights or for the guy who can drop $40k for a trailer queen,” he explains.

Steve says the shop features racks and motorcycle lifts, and a detail shop.

“For hot rods and custom projects we’ll be able to do the whole thing from body work to mechanical all in-house,” Steve says.

Steve’s brother-in-law Chris Flick brings 20 years of body shop experience to the operation with his CK Customs.

“We’re also building a lot of motorcycles,” Steve says. “From hard-riding street bikes and stripped choppers to tricked-out billet poser bikes.”

Projects have ranged from the 1930s-era to the ’60s and ’70s, including a suicide-door Lincoln.

One special project that helped kick the whole thing off has its roots in Steve’s own backyard.

“A bunch of friends were over and we couldn’t figure out where to set up a barbecue,” Steve recalls.

The discussion soon turned to an old truck that was parked there.

“We said: ‘How ’bout a flat bed barbecue?” Steve laughs. “So we built a rat rod barbecue truck.”

As if a 41,000-btu barbecue and a slew of tiki torches weren’t enough, a fully functional still was added.

“It makes corn mash moonshine smoother than Jack Daniels,” Dean says with a smile.

The gang from Bombers Custom Auto Works had their barbecue truck on display during the Goodguys Pacific Northwest Nationals this summer.

“Goodguys was our first show,” Steve says of firing up at the annual street rod gathering on the Puyallup fairgrounds. “We’ll be having our own car shows at the shop, too.”

The truck already has been hired out for a redneck wedding and a Boy Scouts jamboree.

“It’s not every day you get to have hillbilly flame-throwing barbecue truck at your event,” Dean laughs.

That is, of course, unless you get in touch with Steve, Dean and Bob.

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