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In 1995, he opened The Pete Chapouris Group (PC3g) In Pomona, California. Under Pete’s direction, and with the help of his team of 17 craftsmen, PC3g quickly evolved into one of the world’s premier hot rod shops, garnering magazine ink for the cars it built like a Guttenberg press.

One of the first cars that PC3g was involved in was the restoration, for Bruce Meyer, of the Pierson brothers’ coupe, which led to an enduring association and the eventual restoration of the SO-CAL belly tank Lakester.

Cover-quality cars were produced by PC3g with prodigious speed and the list included Don Simpson’s “Killer Coupe,” several cars for Billy F. Gibbons including a ’36 three-window coupe and “Kopperhed,” and an extended-cab Model A pickup for Chuck DeHeras.

The crowning glory in PC3g’s body of work is the restoration of the Doane Spencer roadster for Bruce Meyer. Built by Doane in 1948 to compete in the infamous Carrera Pan-American Mexican road race, this car has an impeccable pedigree. It also won the hearts of the Pebble Beach judges, winning the inaugural Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance Hot Rod Class. It also won the perpetual Dean Batchelor Memorial Award for Excellence.

The win at Pebble Beach was a fitting end to a chapter but not before Pete was selected as one of the Top 100 Most Influential People within the high-performance industry and, as such, was inducted into the Hot Rod Magazine Hall of Fame.

PC3g was a great little business but Pete new it would take forever to build the brand like the one he enjoyed with Pete and Jake's. He had a great relationship going with Alex Xydias, the founder of the SO-CAL Speed Shop. One afternoon, with fingers crossed, he suggested Alex entertain the idea of licensing him the SO-CAL name. Alex jumped at the chance and together they hit the road running and have never looked back. What started as a crazy idea in November of '97 spawned a 30,000 square foot facility in Pomona boasting 30 plus employees and 8 retail stores coast to coast. A lot of ground has been covered over the last 10 years but none more exciting than SO-CAL's return to Its Bonneville roots. Pete and the SO-CAL team built 4 land speed cars for GM Performance and in the last 5 seasons, set a half dozen records putting 4 drivers in the 200 MPH Club.

You know what happens when you get old? It becomes awards time and Pete is no different than any other "survivor" of hot rodding.  He's been inducted into the Route 66 Hall of Fame, the SEMA Hall of Fame, the SREA Hall of Fame and SRMA Service Award, the National Rod & Custom Hall of Fame, the Hot Rod Hall of Fame and the Grand National Roadster Show Hall of Fame. Awarded the Detroit Autorama Builder of the Year, the Grand National Roadster Show Builder of the Year, the Legends of Speed Lifetime Achievement Award and received the NSRA (UK) Hot Rod of the Century Award for his chopped '34 3w coupe, the "California Kid".

So what's next? A weekly TV show on TLC and as well as starting another racing season at Bonneville and working on lots of cars. When asked about retirement he shrugs and says "you don't retire when you love what you do. Building hot rods is like being paid to play baseball and, for me, the game is far from being over".


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