Photos by Heather Middleton
Jerry Givens, a self-described car nut, rebuilt this 1930 Model A Coupe at his shop in Hampton.
By Heather Middleton
HAMPTON — When Jerry Givens started up his hot rod, the car rocked from left to right from the power of the 500 horse power engine he put in it.
What once was a broken down, rusty car has been transformed into something any car enthusiast would love to have in their garage.
“I’ve been eaten up with these since I was a kid,” Givens said.
For more than 50 years Givens has pursued his passion of all things cars.
“I started tinkering with them as a small child and it’s been this way ever since,” he said.
His father was what Givens called a ‘front-end man’ and worked in paint and body shops.
Givens followed in his dad’s footsteps, working at a paint and body shop in Stockbridge by day. In the evenings and on weekends he can be found at his shop on Old Highway 3 in Hampton.
His place is decorated from top to bottom with peddle cars, gas signs, tools and car parts.
Givens has made it a home away from home with a couch, music playing in the background and even a TV. His dogs, Shelby and Hot Rod, keep him company while he’s moving from car to car, fixing and replacing pieces and turning what looks like a pile of parts into an envious piece of driving machinery.
To create his pieces, Givens stockpiles car parts from swap meets and friends.
When he can’t find what he’s looking for, he makes it.
“I’ve collected parts from all over,” Givens said.
He’s even had the front end of a cab shipped all the way from Oklahoma.
At any given time, Givens is working on about 10 different cars. Sometimes, he’ll spend up to seven or eight years building just one car.
“I start working on a car then when I run out of parts, I’ll move to another car I have parts for,” he said.
He also adapts parts from different cars and modifies them for his specific needs.
For example, Givens took a 1970s Jaguar rear end and made it to fit a 1932 Model A.
For Givens, car building is more about the journey and not so much the end product.
“It’s mine and it’s paid for - even if i don’t finish it,” he said.
Givens’ love isn’t just limited to vehicles, he also collects license plates. He’s got every 1932 state license plate hanging on one wall of his shop.
“I really love the Georgia plates,” he said.
The self-proclaimed car nut sometimes has a little help from his girlfriend, Barbara Gregory.
The pair have been together ten years.
“The place is all his,” Gregory said. “It’s where he can come and do whatever he wants to — I just mostly supervise.”
Right now, Givens has his sights set on rebuilding a 1966 Mustang for his granddaughter, seven-year-old Cami Golden.
“I just enjoy fooling with cars — being here gives me peace of mind,” Givens said.