Passion for work abundant at REK Kustoms Garage in Peralta
Doing what you love for a living is a dream most people don’t get to enjoy during their waking hours, let alone during their working ones.
But Eddie Keller, co-owner of Keller Enterprises LLC and manager of REK Kustoms Garage (a Division of Keller Enterprises) in Peralta, is making that dream a reality.
Keller opened the metal fabrication garage in January with the help of his father, Ronald Keller, because, he said, he wanted to take a stab at making money by doing what he likes to do.
“This is a family project,” Keller said. The name REK, comes from a car club Keller began with his brother and friend. It’s an acronym for their names, Richard, Eddie and Kevin.
The shop does not do mechanics or paint jobs. Rather, it specializes in welding, metal fabrication and body repair, including air suspension and custom chassis work, usually for hot rods or custom cars.
They also do chop tops, a style that caught on in the 1940s in which the tops of hot rod cars were lowered to give the roof a lower profile and make the car more aerodynamic.
Keller said his target customer is someone with an older vehicle — ’70s and older.
Right now, he is fixing rust damage on a 1960 Ford Farelane for a couple from Rio Rancho who he has worked with in the past.
Keller said lately he has also been building complete rolling chassis for hot rods.
“I’ve been doing this kind of stuff since I was 16,” says Keller, who is 25.
He said his interest in classic cars began in high school and he started working with metal in his backyard after buying a 1968 Impala during his sophomore year in high school.
“That was my daily driver, but I wanted to make it unique and make it my own,” he said.
The hitch was that he didn’t have the money to pay anyone to work on his car, so he decided to teach himself. By the time he was a senior, he had transformed the car into a lowrider, flat black with full air suspension.
“It was my first big project,” he said.
From there, his passion for working with metal became a regular habit, eventually leading him to complete the welding program at CNM in Albuquerque.
Besides the ’68, he now owns a ’57 Chevy and a ’27 Model T, which is his current project car that he works on in his spare time, and hopes to eventually make it of show-car quality with hot rod ability.
Keller said he made the decision to open the garage last year after working jobs that he didn’t find satisfying. He says people are starting to discover him and that the shop is becoming more successful every day.
“I’m pretty good at it, so it’s easy for me,” Keller said. “I like being able to create something unique out of basically nothing.”
REK Kustoms Garage is located at 3584 N.M. 47 in Peralta. For information, call Eddie Keller at 203-9106.
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