With my communications and business background, along with Bobby’s mind blowing metalshaping skills, I was confident we had all the bases covered to fulfill our dream and open up our own shop in late 2005. So with that big leap of faith Walden Speed Shop Inc was born! It was our hope to partner our talents to create a speed shop that fosters innovative thinking, produces a new standard for detailed craftsmanship, and provides excellence in our superior line of products.
Over eight amazing years have passed since opening our doors in Pomona, with lots of fun changes – exciting projects, resourceful new products, Open Houses, emerging partnerships, and Bobby and I finally made it official on the 800-year-old steps of City Hall in Cortona, Italy. Of course our most exciting changes were the birth of our little girl Lucy Ann & our baby boy Beck Vranas – the future of Walden Speed Shop!
With all the excitement that “new” brings, we are also happy to report that the best of the old still remains the same. It definitely takes a great team to build a great business. We have a very talented crew of guys and enthusiastic customers who walk in as clients but leave as friends. Owning a business is impossible without a loyal support system. We have the greatest friends in the world and without the love and support of my family right from the very beginning we simply wouldn’t be here today!
This industry and these cars are our passion, our life. We are truly dedicated to the tradition and the art of building hot rods. We love what we do and we hope that we can share that with you.
Thanks for stoppin’ by!
Bobby Walden’s love affair with hot rods and his involvement in the hot rod world stems back to his early years growing up in a small town in Texas. At 12 years old Bobby was mesmerized watching “The California Kid”, a hot rod classic on the ABC Movie of the Week. Pete Chapouris’ cool 1934 Ford 3-window coupe was all it took for Bobby to be hooked for life.
At 24 Bobby bought his first ’34 3-window and eagerly set out to have it customized to perfection. Yet after a disappointing visit to a CA shop, Bobby knew that his vision for the ideal car would only come through the work of his own hands. It was then that his long career in metal shaping began to take form. It took several metal shaping classes from Scott Knight, a Yoder Power Hammer, and hundreds of hours of practice, but with diligence came a level of exceptional craftsmanship and artful fabrication.
During the past decade Bobby has continued to hone his skills on many impressive projects. In 1996 he was approached by Rad Rides by Troy owner/builder Troy Trepanier to custom build a body for one of the most remarkable customs of all time – the Poteet / Trepanier “Sniper”. Following the Sniper Bobby continued to work with Troy on the “Intruder” (George Poteet’s ’57 Ford Ranch Wagon) and Chicayne (Glenn Grozich’s sleek ’62 Impala).
In 1998 Bobby made his first trek to the Bonneville Salt Flats in his streamliner “Flat Fire”. Hoping to beat the land speed record, Bobby ended up with a record all his own – World’s Fastest Crash in a Flathead Powered Car – as he walked away from a 235 mph accident with all bones intact, but a demolished vehicle. After the crash Bobby continued to be involved with Ron Main, the new owner of Flat Fire, and together attained the goal of running over 300 mph in a Flathead Powered Car.
2003 proved to be an exciting year for Bobby as he resurrected his own 1946 Ford Sedan, appropriately called the “Spanish Fly”. With a Flathead motor that has hummed its way to Bonneville, Nevada, Arizona, and Texas on many occasions, this car continues to be his daily driver at over 130,000 miles. That same year Bobby got a call that would prove to be a turning point in both his career and life. It was one of his longtime idols Pete Chapouris asking Bobby if he would like to move to CA and work at So-Cal Speed Shop, building top-of-the-line hot rods and playing a major role in their new relationship with the GM Performance Division. After long consideration (about an hour), Bobby was packing up and planning the big move.
During his two and a half years at So-Cal, Bobby worked on several high profile cars -resurrecting the body and chassis on David Wehrley’s 1932 orange coupe, providing metalwork on J.J. Barnhardt’s ’32 Ford 5-window, and helping with the mechanical work on Jim Kipp’s ’32 Roadster. Bobby’s main focus though was helping in the builds of several GM Bonneville race cars - including the Ion, Cobalt, belly tank, and the HHR.
Traveling to Detroit, working at General Motors Headquarters, and getting access to state-of-the-art technology programs such as the Wind Tunnel and the GM Proving Grounds were all highlights of the builds. Being a key fabricator in all of the GM vehicles, including earning the spot as Crew Chief on both the Ion and Cobalt proved to be incredibly rewarding experiences. Seeing GM engineer Jim Minneker take the Saturn Ion Red Line Coupe to a victorious record, and earning him a spot in the 200 MPH Club, in the G/BFAC class at 212.684 mph in October 2003; the Ecotec Lakester set the G/BGL record at 179.381 mph in 2004 and followed up with a 189.205 mph speed record in 2005; and the Chevy Cobalt SS run two records in August 2006 first with a time of 218.392 mph in the G/BFALT class driven by Jim Minneker and followed up by a run of 246.849 mph by GM engineer Mark Dickens to put him into the 200 MPH Club – showed remarkable results of the team’s hard work and vision.
Transforming the HHR with an extreme 7 inch chop also displayed the innovation of what could be done with the right people at hand. Following his final trip to Bonneville with the GM Performance Team in August of 2005, Bobby spent the next few months at the GM Design Center in Burbank working his chopping magic one more time for a cutting edge SEMA project.
Along with these and many other projects spanning over the last 15 years, Bobby has hand built meticulously perfect roof inserts and door skins on his most important tool – his Yoder Power Hammer. With well over 1000 panels sold to every state in the country and around the world, Bobby continues to produce only his best work, taking pride in all that he touches. And now it seems the best is yet to come!
Oh yeah, and that ’34 3-window from 22 years ago – it’s finally getting finished, just as perfect as he had always dreamed it would be.
When Bobby and I met at the drag races in 2004, neither one of us was a newcomer to the hot rodding world.
I am a So Cal gal born and raised. One of my biggest passions is hotrods. After going to my first car show at sixteen I was forever smitten. I love the rumble of a flathead, the pleats of tuck & roll, the smell of burnouts, the sparkle of metal flake, the art of pinstriping, chopped tops, louvered panels, white walls- oh how they all get my blood racing!
After officially falling in love with hotrodding it became a way of life. I bought my own 1949 Mercury (which typical of a shop owner is still under construction) and joined the Hell’s Belles, an all girls car club in Los Angeles. If you go to hotrod shows in SoCal, or the Southwest for that matter, you’ll probably see me and my gals cruising around in our red jackets. Whether we’re at a car show, the races, swapmeet, throwing a charity event, sipping cocktails at a swanky LA bar, or BBQing in the backyard, us Belles always have a great time together!
I then fell into pinup modeling and have been lucky to grace the covers and been featured in some of the industry’s best magazines and books. I’ve worked with many of the best photographers and makeup artists out there, posing for companies whose products I love.
Always an avid writer, I began to freelance for the newly formed ‘Ol Skool Rodz and Car Kulture Deluxe magazines several years ago. My focus has been on the inspiring artists and heroes in this culture – from musical geniuses Buck Owens, Billy Gibbons, Mike Ness, and Junior Brown to artist Max Grundy, designer Jenny Parker, photographer Adam Wright and the late great Wally Parks. I’ve also inked my virgin trip to Bonneville in 2005 and sounded off on some of my all-time favorite (and most loathed) hotrod movies.
With all this and my degree in Communications and Business from USC, I knew my background would be the perfect compliment to Bobby's skills to embark on this new adventure.