Member Feature: Charley Hutton
Some affectionately refer to Charley Hutton as the ‘Where’s Waldo’ of the custom car world – because you never know where he’ll pop up next! While he’s always up for a good laugh, Charley’s work is no joke. We bumped into the renowned painter this past winter at Troy Trepanier’s shop in Manteno, IL and later at the Grand National Roadster Show in Pomona, CA. Man this guy does get around!
We recently tracked him down in Huntington Beach, CA where he is working on a project with Chip Foose. Here’s what he had to say:
Q: How old are you now and how did you get your start?
A: I’m 36. I started my custom car career as a kid by repainting and flaming my Hot Wheels with my sister’s fingernail polish! Actually I opened my own shop while I was still in HS. When I was 24, Boyd Coddington saw a 1933-3 window coupe that I had done and he contacted me about doing some work for him. He sent 2 cars to Idaho for me to do and to double check my capabilities. After I completed those he brought me to CA to do the Led Zepher, which was Boyd’s come back car. I was with Boyd for several years when the TV program American Hot Rod started at the shop. I left Boyd’s to join Chip and his gang at Foose Design.
It is here that I feel my skill level really excelled – working alongside true craftsmen with no egos . . . just the love of hot rods. They took me in and I consider them my second family. It is with Foose Design that I was able to experience being a part of my first Ridler car – Impression.
I have had the opportunity to work with several other premier shops in the industry. You learn so much working with other craftsmen and the friendships you make are priceless. One of those shops is Rad Rides by Troy. Troy and his gang have given me the opportunity to be a part of their team on a couple of occasions. The first time was the 1936 Ford called First Love which won the Ridler. Then again with the 1956 Chrysler for Roger and Nancy Ritzow. I consider Troy and his family very dear friends even outside the hot rod world.
Q: You’re obviously known for your paint work, but also are involved in many other aspects of a build, right?
A: Most people think of me as a painter, but I have always joked that you can teach a monkey to paint. It’s the prep before and work after that make the difference. I really enjoy the fab and sheet metal work. I had a lot of fun working with “old man Roy” at Boyd’s. I really consider myself an all around guy. Painting is just a small part of what I love to do!
Q: You recently moved into a new shop in your home state of Idaho. Can you tell us a little about what you’ve got going on there?
A: We moved into our new facility in February of 2009, which was very exciting! As far as projects, we just finished up a 1940 Chevy Tin Woody for Nick Barron and a 1970 Trans Am for Gil Losi. Currently in the shop we have a really fun project a 1937 ford Slant Back Sedan for John Coenen which I actually started when I was at Boyd’s. We also have a Henry J which we are doing with Super Rides by Jordan, a couple of 1955 Chevy Convertibles for the Coleson Family, and a 1932 Roadster for Jerry Magnuson that we are doing with Chip Foose.
Q: When you’re not traveling the country working on cars, what do you enjoy doing?
A: When I am not working on cars or traveling to other shops (you are right…ha ha ha!) I enjoy being at home and spending time with my family.
Thanks to Charley Hutton, and wife Teri, for taking the time to set-up and do this interview. All the best!
- Hub Crew