by Jay Tilles
Back in 1993, Ryan Friedlinghouse began his automotive career by lowering mini trucks in a little warehouse in South Orange County. Today, his West Coast Customs brand is known around the world with franchises in Berlin, Mexico, Malaysia, Dubai, Russia and Japan and new shops planned for Canada and Australia.
After several moves, expanding each time, West Coast Customs has landed itself a 60,000 square foot, state-of-the-art facility in Burbank. Its proximity to the studios and his celebrity clientele made the decision to move to the valley an easy one. Well, I take that back. It too Ryan two years to find the perfect spot.
But what Friedlinghouse really want to do is get back to his roots. A car customizer at heart, he wants to show the local community that there’s something for everyone at WCC. You don’t have to have Justin Bieber’s wallet to give your car the West Coast Customs touch.
To show you they mean business, West Coast Customs is shutting down Valpreda Street in front of the building for Social Saturdays, the first Saturday of every month, beginning this weekend! Everyone is welcome to bring out their cars, or just walk up and down the street checking out the incredible assortment of modified vehicles. It’s kinda like Cars & Coffee in Irvine or Supercar Sunday in Woodland Hills but with a far greater variety of vehicles. You’ll find everything from hot rods to trucks, exotics, one-off creations, even a Smurf-mobile! (the kids will want their picture taken with it).
But here’s what you don’t know. The new facility is built around fans. A skyway allows fans to walk through the facility and look down as the craftsmanship takes place below. Watch Ish sew up upholstery for a Lamborghini interior as the R&D department bends raw steel into a brand new hood for a hot rod. The tour is free this Saturday and $20 weekdays during normal business hours.
This Saturday mingle among the cars, chat and generally just hang out with friends, family and the cast of West Coast Customs. For more info, call (818) 237-1287.