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293: Keith Haddock, England’s Hot Rod Rebel

Show Date: 01/25/2020

(Season 14 EP 4)

Jo Coddington approached us at the SEMA 2019 show and said we had to meet this cool hot rod kid from England.

It only took us a few minutes, after meeting Keith Haddock, to know that he is a master of fabrication and paint. From the photographs of his builds and his willingness to share his techniques we knew we had to put him on our show.

First, we have to let everyone know that in his homeland he is known as the “Mad Scientist”. This nickname comes from his ability to reshape metal and plastic to his will. He combines unrelated items into a fully functioning product.

In this interview we learn of how he developed his skills. At an early age he started designing one-off vehicles and motorcycles. It wasn’t long after that he decided that to bring his designs to reality, he had to learn how to fabricate materials, build mechanical things and perfect the finished surfaces of the build. All of these are self-taught with inspiration coming from the American car scene. In this interview he refers to himself as an American hot rodder living in England. He continues to seek ideas from builders like Dave Kindig, Chip Foose, Bernt Karlsson and many others.

In England, there are restrictions like not allowing a blower pulley to stick out of the vehicle’s bonnet. It didn’t stop Keith (remember he’s the Mad Scientist) from fabricating a completely new front end that includes partially covered engine parts to comply with government restrictions. And yet the protruding engine looks mean and nasty. Look closely at the photos below. It usually takes several times until you start noticing that every panel has been modified. He even developed a special front-of-car camera with an interior monitor for the driver to see past the obstructed view from behind the steering wheel.

He talks about developing painting techniques in England that later were discovered by American painters. He showed us proof of perfecting “real” fire techniques back in the early 80’s. His skills as a painter caught the attention of movie prop designers who have commissioned him to paint Star Wars’s C-3PO, storm troopers, ZoriiBliss2 costumes. (There are several photos below) He has worked on several big movie projects like Wonder Woman and other Marvel movies. What is really cool is that Keith is currently working on the batmobile for the newest Batman movie.

We were interested in the automotive laws in England related to modifications and hot rod building. And we wanted to learn more about our hot rod cousins’ culture. So Keith talks about the car scene over there. What are some of the latest trends in car choices and paint schemes.

We know you will enjoy this interview with Keith. Jo Coddington was right. Keith is an important figure in the automotive industry.

Captn’ Bob, Keith Haddock, Arlo


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