Quint Walberts, owner of Kustom Kolors Collision Repair, Inc. in Avon, IN, drove home from Detroit, MI, in March as one of the top eight custom car builders in the world.
What started eight years ago as a continuation of his lifelong hobby resulted in a 1941 Willys, with four-stage pearl paint, hand-fabricated interior and an AA5 engine backed with a TH400 and Moser Wavetrac rear with 4:11 gears.
The 67th Meguiars Detroit Autorama has been widely recognized as one of the top car competitions in the world. Out of the 21 cars eligible for the Great 8 recognition and ultimately, the Riddler award, Walberts placed in the top eight.
“I couldn’t believe it. When they pick you for the Great 8, you’re already a winner," Walberts said. "I was competing against $1 million-plus cars and didn’t have near that in my car. I relate it to the Grammys in Hollywood; there’s nothing better. I don’t think anyone from Indiana has ever made the Great 8.”
Walberts has owned and operated his own collision repair shop for the past 28 years.
“Ever since I’ve been a teenager, I’ve been doing it," he said. "I just like taking something and making it look like something great; something most people can’t do. I like working with my hands and my hobby, more or less, became my job.”
He’s always enjoyed bringing his custom builds to local hot rod shows and the Danville Cruise-In Fridays, but this is the first time that Walberts created something he thought was ready for the big time.
“I had been up there to the show just to check it out," he said. "I started thinking about competing and thought maybe I’d have a chance. A lot of them in competition are guys that have hired someone to build a car, just to win the Riddler. A lot of them couldn’t believe I had built it myself and I was the owner of the car. The rumor was that the car that won the Riddler took 12 years to build, and they put about $3 million in the car.”