Monday, August 3, 2015

Ten things we love about building custom cars

1. The look
There’s no beating the look of a well-designed ride. When we line up a photo shoot for a newly finished project, with the sunset glinting off the windows and wax that looks dripping wet, all is right with the world.



2. The sound
The sound of a well-tuned muscle car makes us shiver every time. The roar of a supercharged LS with the right exhaust makes every day of blood, sweat and tears well worth it.

3. The love
Handing someone the keys to a head-turning dream machine and watching them drive away in the perfect car is the ultimate satisfaction. People love their custom cars and we love creating that relationship between a client and the car they will treasure for years to come.



4. The endless possibilities
Whether a client wants to slam a hot rod to cruise around in or lift a truck sky-high to tackle the wilderness, we love taking the vehicle they give us and making their vision come to life.

5. The driving
Although we don’t exactly put miles on the cars in the shop, they do have to be moved around infrequently and the techs say they relish it. Just cranking up one of these monsters to move it into another bay or through the parking lot is exhilarating.



6. The end result
Even before seeing the look on the client’s face, it’s just amazing to look at the finished product and think about the huge difference our work has made on the vehicle.

7. The variety
Every day is entirely different when you spend your days building vastly different cars. No two days are ever quite alike because no two projects are ever quite the same.



8. The prestige
There’s no shame in admitting we love what we do and we love the attention it gets us. Building cool cars and car parts, seeing those parts all over the world, growing a fan base that loves pictures of our projects, it’s all part of the thrill!

9. The environment
No, it isn’t all a bed of roses but, when your job is building cool cars you generally don’t dread Monday as much as most people do. That sort of attitude makes for a pretty awesome work atmosphere.



10. The people
We meet and befriend some of the coolest people in the world building these cars. Some are clients who come back every few years, some become friends we see on a regular basis. Either way, the people are really the most important part.

Well, that and a good supercharger.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

July 30th Photo Blog Post

So busy this week we went with a true "Photo Blog" post. Which is to say, "just photos." Here's what we've been up to!










Monday, July 27, 2015

A brief history of Fesler Built

Ever since the birth of the muscle car (1949 if you hold to the legacy of the Oldsmobile Rocket 88) people who love powerful automobiles have been turning out new creations and striving for great heights of perfection where it comes to putting four wheels on the road with the most oomph possible behind them.

Chris and Carrie Fesler are no exception to the rule. Driven by a love of custom cars, they began in the late 1990s, shooting and writing magazine articles as promotional pieces for manufacturers in the automotive industry. Eventually, they began to design these vehicles, working closely with companies to build, show and advertise custom cars and trucks designed to showcase a particular company’s products.

Carrie Fesler remarks that many believe the two inherited their business. Nothing could be further from the truth. What the Fesler’s did inherit was a lot of good advice and mentorship from the industry contacts they made along the way. The road from shooting magazine articles to turning out 1969 Camaros that command six-figure prices was a long one.

In 1996, the Feslers began producing complete editorial packages for magazines. Chris’ stunning photography and Carrie’s writing skills complimented each other, making for mouthwatering pieces about the vehicles featured therein. Other marketing services offered to help manufacturers reach out to publications grew to include actually designing and building the cars for the articles.

By 2000, the Fesler name had become a staple in the industry, with several projects produced for SEMA, the industry’s premier trade show, each year. Fesler built show cars for General Motors, Jeep, Kenwood, and Kicker, to name a few. However, building cars would quickly become Chris and Carrie’s passion.

In the mid-2000s, Fesler Built shifted from building demo cars for companies to building custom cars for individuals.  Now, Fesler Built builds turn-key muscle machines, the stuff octane-scented dreams are made of.

In 2009, after the recession took its toll on the economy, the Chris and Carrie realized that their next response to the market would be in parts. Fesler Billet was launched to provide a quality line of products to DIY enthusiasts who were looking to build their own cars, rather than pay to have them built. Fesler Billet parts have achieved notoriety for their quality and design imagination.

Finally, in 2014, Fesler Detail was launched, a collaboration with a friend in the car detailing business to produce superior auto detailing products. Other offerings on the market weren’t giving Fesler Built cars the shine they used to, largely due to shipping production overseas, and Chris and Carrie saw the opportunity to fill a need in the market by producing superior detail products.


So, when they aren’t building a sweet Camaro, designing a new part to go on that Camaro, perfecting the wax to make that Camaro shine, or taking great pictures of it, the Feslers are constantly looking for new ways to serve the automotive industry.

And now you know the history of Fesler Built.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

July 23rd Photo Blog

It’s been an interesting week at Fesler. We’ve seen huge progress on the 1955 Bel Air, moved forward on other projects and got a 1969 C-10 in the shop for new interior and a few other upgrades.


Let’s start with the Bel Air. This week was focused on getting the rear end ready for rear quarter panels and rear bumper – work that will most likely continue on into next week. Rust repair had been done and new pieces are going in to replace what had to be cut out.




Next up, the wheel well.


The 1969 Camaro got a new trunk floor and sub frame modifications. Now it’s waiting on the new rear suspension.




And here’s a few gratuitous Camaro pics because, why not?



Last, but not least, is the 1969 C-10 that came in for a fresh interior and A/C from Vintage Air.




So, that’s been the week at Fesler Built! One more thing, though…check it out in next week’s blog!



Monday, July 20, 2015

Making new Fesler Billet parts

What goes in to making a new billet aluminum part at Fesler Billet? How is the decision made to produce some parts for some cars over other parts for other cars? Let’s take a look at the decision-making process.

Fesler Built has been designing custom parts for the cars it builds for a several years now. Investing in the tools and personnel to make those parts available to the public has been a viable outlet for the company. When the economy tanked in 2008 people weren’t looking to build as many six-figure custom cars but they were looking for a good deal on great parts for the cars they had already.


So, Fesler Billet was created to focus on making more parts for more cars. Judging how many cars of a particular model and year are still on the road, which ones are popular with DIY modifiers and restorers, as well as which parts those individuals are interested in, allowed Fesler to shrewdly produce parts that would fly off the shelves and look great on show cars and personal vehicles alike around the country and the world.

Whereas Fesler used to take a car that happened to come into the shop and try to design many different parts for it, it has become just as useful to ask for suggestions from the public. Clients suggest a part and are asked to send one in for examination. In return, if the part it produced, they will receive a free production part when it is complete.

However, what the public should understand is that the next part of the process can take a great deal of time, even years. Researching the market for a potential product, producing a unique design for the Fesler Billet brand, prototyping and testing samples and then mass testing with a network of people who own the vehicle in question can all take a very long time. The development process alone can take weeks. Fesler employs an engineer full-time to develop and improve part designs.

And that’s not even touching the cost. Developing a part can run into the tens of thousands of dollars and, at the end, there’s only a gamble (well researched, albeit) that the part will sell well. Then, when a new part is produced, it only raises the chances that competitors will design their own part or even reintroduce a previously retired design for the part.

That’s why Carrie Fesler says every time she sees a new hood hinge that looks suspiciously like a Fesler hinge, she laughs. With as many as 36, small, time-consuming parts to make for some applications, hood hinges demand a higher investment, in daily production as well as initial development, relative to other, single-piece parts. Those who want to make a quick buck on their own hinges, she says, are more than welcome to try.



So, next time you see a new Fesler part in the store or in posts from SEMA, keep in mind how much effort goes into bringing that part to market.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

July 16th Photo Blog

Fesler has certainly been busy this week. The shop is buzzing and vehicles are moving from station to station all the time.

 
The 1955 Bel Air has come down off of the lift it had been resting peacefully atop and the new body panels are going on.



Next week should see large changes to this vehicle.




The 1975 911 is getting more fine-tuning on the body. Small amounts of body correction here and there ensure the vehicle will look its very best when painted.



The inside is starting to come together as well.



The interior panels and seats for the GMC TopKick are nearly finished.





The seats have a really excellent new look, too!




The panels are starting to go back in. This rig will have a whole new, impressive feel to it!




The Fesler 1969 Camaro is getting some big suspension adjustments, swapping the bags for coils.


Also, the trunk is being closed up to improve its usefulness as a storage space.

That's just the big, photogenic stuff! Watch Fesler social media for more updates and be sure to check out Monday's blog post, which might be about how Fesler decides what kind of billet parts to design and sell!

Have a great weekend!

Monday, July 13, 2015

“Where are my Fesler Billet Parts?”

We’ve all been there. You order something from a website and then start watching the door for it to arrive. A few days go by, you start checking your e-mail more often. A few weeks go by, you start to wonder, “Where is my product?” After a few months, the wait can seem unbearable. Finally, you call and ask; “Where the heck is my order?” Sometimes the answer suffices - other times not so much.

But what causes the delay in Fesler customers receiving parts ordered from Fesler Built? Hopefully, this post will enlighten those waiting and wondering.

Fesler Built and its parts division, Fesler Billet, offer hundreds of parts for sale covering a variety of vehicles and desired looks for those vehicles. Ideally, the parts are all sitting in storage, waiting to drop-ship. When orders come in for parts that are sitting on the shelves, there’s rarely ever an issue. 

However, when orders come in for parts that are sold-out, problems arise. Often, a part will go from in-stock to sold-out very quickly, as orders seem to come in quickly and in groups.
Fesler trunk hinges in production

Part orders come in from customers constantly and are processed by the type of part ordered. Once a certain amount of an out-of-stock part has been ordered, an in-house work order goes out to begin production. The challenge is in determining what to make first. Normally, production is based on order date but, when some products sell more units than others, the plan must be adjusted to ensure the back-order list doesn’t grow too large. Ideally, parts that take longer to make are made before parts with faster turnaround times to ensure customers are served in the same time-frame.

There’s also the small monkey wrench of prototyping. Fesler is constantly looking for new product ideas to bring to market. These ideas must be tested first and that testing ties up the machines which would otherwise be producing parts for shipping. The demand for existing Fesler Billet parts has grown to such a magnitude that production demands have allowed almost no time for prototyping at all. While that’s a nice challenge for Fesler to be faced with, it’s a difficult one, just the same.

Another aspect of the challenge is production times for individual parts, which can vary widely. For example, a 1968 Camaro tail light, which doesn’t see many orders, takes two-and-a-half hours to complete, per set. A 1969 Camaro tail light, almost constantly teetering between “in-stock” and “back-ordered,” takes 30 minutes per set. So, when a whole stack of orders for ’69 tail lights comes in right after the last set on hand is sold - and along comes a few orders for ’68 tail lights before that part has gotten its turn in regular production, the question of which part to start work on first is a real conundrum.

Fesler Billet 1969 Camaro "Fesler Sport" 3D Tail Lights
Fesler is working on a simple solution to the problem – acquiring more machines, but that process is also a slow one, hampered by external delays.

In the end, Fesler Billet products, although produced in the U.S.A. and held to the same standard of quality that Fesler Built cars and SEMA productions are renowned for, are experiencing growing pains. Rest assured that Fesler Billet is working hard to ensure customers receive parts they order as quickly as possible.