About Randy Grubb

Jay Leno's Blastolene Special Tank CarCan you Say Blastolene?

Randy was born in Glendale, CA, and inherited the confidence to pursue his Hot Rod obsession at an early age. His father taught him to weld at age 10, and he began his first full-scale project when he was 12 years old. Randy mated a full-race ’48 flathead Merc too a ’39 three-speed trans and torque-tube driveline and capped it with a Channeled Ford Roadster body. By the time he was 14 he had it cobbled together. That flathead terrorized the neighborhood until Randy’s father made him tear the car down and spend the next two years re-engineering his project and honoring his skills in fabrication and finish work. When Randy turned 16 his car was ready and roadworthy.

Randy went to college to study dentistry, but while registering for classes, he needed to fulfill an arts requirement and discovered a course in glass blowing. His natural affinity for the medium was obvious and a new life-passion was launched. He moved to Grants Pass, OR with his fiancee, Jeannette, and spent the next 20 years enjoying a successful career as a lamp-work paperweight artist. Glass was the focus of Randy’s time, but his love of Hot Rods never waned. “There was always a car project in the garage to satisfy my need to build.”

Randy had always wanted to build an automobile from scratch of his own design. In the late ’90′s he began taking metal-shaping classes taught by Ron Covell. “Learning the skills of coach building would allow me the freedom to create anything, rather than cutting up an old car.” About this time, Randy met Michael Leeds, another world class glass artist who was working on a giant, over-sized, cartoon-like ’32 roadster named “Big Bertha.” Randy was intrigued and convinced Michael to finish the project instead and helped him discover metal shaping. The freedom Randy enjoyed during the “Big Bertha” project whet his appetite for his own super-scale project. The engine he chose came from an M47 Patton Tank. When Michael saw the 1800 cubic inch V-12, he collaborated with Randy to create “The Blastolene Special” concept and crystallized that vision in a drawing. Working 10 to 12 hour days alone in his small garage in Grants Pass, Randy was able to finish the Blastolene Special in 12 months. The project debute at the Grand National Roadster Show where it won the Chip Foose Excellence in Design Award. Talk show host Jay Leno noticed the car and purchased it for his collection, renaming it the “Tank Car.”

The Blastolene Brotherhood is an informal group of autonomous artists who encourage each other as they travel their respective paths. The Blastolene network is growing, as is the complexity of the sculptures. Randy feels privileged to have the support and encouragement from family and from his fellow Blastolene Brothers.

Hope you enjoy the work.