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2024 Hall of Fame: Richard Wood

June 7, 2024

Richard Wayne Wood is a well-known member of WyoTech’s graduating class of 1982, and one of the shining examples of the breed of craftsmen shaped by the highly esteemed school. After graduation, Rich went on to open his shop, Custom Car Crafters (CCC), in Austin, Texas, which he owned for over 40 years.  CCC grew into one of the largest, independently owned body shops in Texas, eventually adding a second location in South Austin…until one day, Caliber Collision came knocking.  Richard decided to sell this highly-respected piece of Austin landscape, and focus on downsizing to a shop close to his home on Lake Travis that would primarily cater to building custom cars.  With this decision, he could put to use his skills as a master automotive designer, fabricator, and craftsman, and have a place where his talent for custom paint design could shine.

Rich’s eye for detail has won him countless awards and accolades for custom cars, boats, motorcycles, personal watercraft, golf carts, and almost anything that can be painted.  This includes a drum set for the Texas rock band, ZZ Top, and a “Gel Blaster” toy gun with genuine diamond dust in the trim for the boxer Floyd Mayweather, to use as a prop when entering the ring. A favorite of Rich’s paint jobs was a ‘32 Ford for Paul Tuttle, featured on Jesse James’ “Outlaw Garage”. He also has many “Best of Shows”, “Best Paint”, and “Best in Class” awards, including national championships at Autorama.

Rich’s patriotic support and appreciation for our military veterans also has earned him the esteemed ESGR award. He has championed many veteran causes, including “Once in a Lifetime” and “Folds of Honor”. He was humbled and honored to lead, alongside WyoTech, in the building of a 1966 Ford Mustang for the United States Military Educator’s Association, where Richard sits on the board and is a consultant to many automotive entities. His concern for the workforce shortage in the automotive industry, as well as the training it requires, is one of the many reasons he is always honored to team up with his alma mater, WyoTech.

With more than thirty years of competing in car shows and events, Richard’s talent is sought out by many. This and his charismatic likeability contribute to his being a natural for television. Richard has showcased his talents working with well-known builders like Jesse James of “West Coast Choppers”, Chip Foose on the popular TV show “Overhaulin’ ” and of course, Rich Evans. Richard was chosen to finish the 1932 Ford begun by Barry Lobeck known as “The Last Lobeck”, showcased at SEMA in 2017. Richard is quoted as saying, “The custom car culture and the preservation of classic cars is more than sheet metal, fiberglass, carbon fiber, and parts. It is the remembrance of family, friendly competition, innovation, and ideas paired with a lifetime of stories that bond us with the automobile and the cherished dreams of our lives. I am blessed and honored for the opportunity to help you achieve these dreams.”

When we asked Richard what advice he would give to someone who is just starting his or her journey in the trades, here’s what he had to say

Be patient and be there on time!!!