In the hot rod community, there are several ways to go about creating your ultimate ride, whether you do all the work yourself, have several parties contribute, or entrust the whole job to a professional builder. But no matter how you have your prized car completed, the goal is always the same – building a car you can be proud of and enjoy. Since 1998, Eric Peratt of Pinkee’s Rod Shop in Windsor, Colorado has been doing just that, building stellar hot rods for customers of all different walks of life. So when we got the opportunity to tour the legendary hot rod shop this summer and check in with Peratt to see what the future holds for Pinkee’s, we just couldn’t pass it up.
Tucked into a growing business area at 4395 Highland Meadows Parkway, Pinkee’s wasn’t always at home in Windsor, Colorado. In fact, Pinkee’s really got its start in 1998 in Pine, Colorado in an 1,800 sq.-ft. shop at Peratt’s home.
The Beginning of a Legend
Peratt is no stranger to the automotive industry, having been interested in cars from a young age. “My dad was always into cars,” Peratt told us during our walk around of the shop. “He got me into it from day one,” but what started as a simple interest quickly turned into something bigger.
After working at General Motors for six years after he graduated from college, Peratt realized a career building hot rods was his true passion. “I just wanted to take it to the next level,” said Peratt.
So after completing and selling a 1933 Chevy Woody, which he built in a three-car garage, Peratt relocated to Colorado in 1998, setting up his home and shop in Pine. It was there that Peratt built his 1998 Ridler Award winning ’33 Ford roadster nicknamed “Comet.”
After years in Pine, an opportunity to buy land along the Front Range was presented to Peratt, who, after much consideration, opted to move his prized hot rod shop to Windsor. “I bought the land out here before there were even roads yet,” Peratt told us. “I thought it was worth taking the chance.”
Opened officially in September of 2004, Pinkee’s has seen a lot of growth in the area, including within their own business, but one thing remains the same – Peratt’s undeniable dedication to building only the nicest custom hot rods around. So far, looks like that chance has really paid off!
Now you may be wondering where the name Pinkee’s actually came from, and trust us, checking the shop’s website won’t give you much of a clue. No, they keep this secret under lock and key – but we got the exclusive thanks to a little prying.
When we asked Peratt about it he laughingly explained, “When I was in college, I wore a pink shirt all the time because pink seemed to be popular at the time. So I got the nickname Pinkee.” Who knew that a choice of clothing color could lead to the name of one of the industry’s leading hot rod shops?
Since the shop’s start in 1998, Pinkee’s has built between 40 and 50 complete hot rods, averaging between two and three a year, but sometimes completing as many as six or seven in a year’s time. “We’re known for more serious cars,” Peratt told us, explaining the length of time each car takes to build. He also added that Pinkee’s has become known for more “drivers” than anything, creating cars that not only look good but can be driven long distances without problems. Of course, this means Pinkee’s builds some pro-touring type vehicles as well.
Over the years, Pinkee’s has built several award-winning vehicles and taken home coveted awards including the 1998 Ridler Award, 2001 Goodguys Trend Setter Award, and the 2007 Builder of the Year Award at the Grand National Roadster Show. Pinkee’s has also had the honor of picking the Builder’s Choice Award winners at the Goodguys Colorado Nationals for the last five years and at the Goodguys West Coast Nationals this summer.
With their reputation as one of the premier hot rod builders in the country, Pinkee’s is always taking on new and unique projects for customers from all over the United States. Amazingly, nearly half of Peratt’s business comes from out of state.
Currently, the shop is working on several projects, including quite a few ‘32 roadsters, a ‘36 roadster, ‘40 Oldsmobile 4-door cruiser, and an untraditional ‘37-38 Dodge “rat rod” that will be low-slung and in your face when it’s done. Pinkee’s is also in the process of building a ‘32 Ford Cabriolet, a ‘32 Ford pickup shop truck and a ‘40 Willys. These builds join a long list of vehicles built by Peratt and his crew at Pinkee’s including the ‘40 shop truck, ‘32 Ford 3-window, ‘32 Ford 5-window and ‘32 roadster Pinkee’s took on the Goodguys RodFather Road Tour back in September. Peratt is also currently working on his own personal ‘29 roadster.
For interior work, Pinkee’s has the upholstery guy come right to the shop where as for paint work, cars are shipped to other companies, like local Flatliner Rod Shop and Ron Jones Garage, as well as Soncy Road Body Shop and Charley Hutton’s Color Studio out of state, since Pinkee’s doesn’t have their own paint booth in-house.
Pinkee’s is so busy doing sheet metal work and would require a separate building for a paint booth, so Peratt sends work to the paint experts rather than tackling that part so he and his crew can stay focused on the meticulous details of each and every build.
But full restorations and builds aren’t all that Pinkee’s does. They also offer consultations and design work, fabrication work, and traditional maintenance for hot rods and custom cars. Although one-day jobs are a bit harder to schedule in, Pinkee’s provides all their customers with anything they need with the same top-notch standards as their full builds would receive.
As a hot rod builder, we expected Peratt to have a favorite make or model to work on but when we asked, he had a hard time narrowing it down to just one. “I like pretty much everything, that’s my problem,” Peratt told us. “But early style hot rods are probably my passion.” That should come as no surprise judging by the quality hot rods that come out of Pinkee’s on a regular basis. As for his favorite vehicle he’s ever built, Peratt told us that designation goes to the ’29 Ford roadster pickup truck named “Loaded.”
While Peratt may not have been able to narrow down his passion to one specific vehicle, he was very sure about what he enjoys most about building them, “Just the creativeness,” Peratt told us, referring to his favorite part of building custom cars. “Usually we’re not tied down by a lot of customer input and specifics because they trust us with the complete vision.”
As far as running his own business goes, Peratt also greatly enjoys that. “It can be frustrating at times, but it’s fun to juggle the business, building, getting the right people involved,” he said. “I like the challenge of it really.”
A Look Into the Future
With a stellar reputation in the industry and a real passion for building, Peratt has a clear vision for the future of Pinkee’s- expanding not by square footage, but by the number of employees and builds in the future. Currently, Pinkee’s employs about five master craftsmen but Peratt is always looking for talented individuals to add to his team.
Peratt also plans to chase down the coveted America’s Most Beautiful Roadster award in the future. He even told us that he’d love to build a car to drive out to California, win the award, and drive back in the middle of January just to say he did. Not a bad dream for a guy and a shop that’s known for creating amazing hot rods that are meant to drive!
Check out more pictures from our shop tour at Pinkee’s Rod Shop in the GALLERY below: