One peek into Chris Ryan’s shop will tell you all you need to know about it. With fully customized cars sitting in every garage it is easy to see that Ryan has a passion for cars – and the skill to match.
Ryan will be co-hosting SpikeTV’s PowerBlock this coming weekend. PowerBlock is a two-hour segment containing four 30-minute shows about various car-related topics. PowerBlock airs both Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. with host Courtney Hansen. During commercial breaks, Hansen and Ryan will discuss car customization and Ryan’s latest project: the 1953 Root Beer Float Caddy.
Ryan says that working on cars is in his blood.
“I started working on cars with my dad as a kid,” Ryan said. “I continued helping him over the years and the hobby turned into a full-time job.”
Originally from Pennsylvania, Ryan landed in Ninety Six almost by mistake. He was on an unrelated trip when he made the decision to buy a house in the quaint rural town.
“I went back to Pennsylvania from that trip and told my wife to pack up,” Ryan said. “I was kind of tired of all the snow and I really liked the area. We’ve been here for 12 years now.”
Ryan’s latest project is the 1953 Root Beer Float Caddy. It is a fully customized 1953 Cadillac which he built from the ground up. Ryan is currently taking the car to various shows across the country. In March, he took it to the Detroit Autorama and entered the car for the prestigious Ridler Award, the most coveted award in hot rodding. While Ryan did not take home the top award, he did receive second place in the full custom class. The car also received the car of the year award at Myrtle Beach’s Run to the Sun.
Ryan’s shop does two full custom cars each year in addition to other smaller jobs. Ryan is also active in helping restore cars for those who cannot afford to do it themselves. Ryan once restored a 1951 Hudson for a man who fell off a roof and was about to lose his leg. The man had several surgeries to repair the leg and was also taking care of his parents and could not afford to restore the car. Ryan and his team of custom car builders restored the car for the man at no charge. Ryan’s work has been featured in numerous magazines and several television shows.
Ryan and his team also helped with a car being given away this weekend on PowerBlock TV. The car is a 1970 Monte Carlo modified into the G-Machine format. One lucky viewer will walk away with the fully customized hot rod. To work on the car, Ryan brought Calhoun Falls native Mike Jones, who works for Ryan, to Nashville to tackle the project.
“It was a great experience to work on the car,” Jones said. “It’s a lot nicer than working on fender benders, that’s for sure.”
Ryan’s passion spills over into each project he takes on. For him, there is no other occupation.
“This is what I love doing,” Ryan said. “I can’t imagine myself ever doing anything else.”