Rick's provided a fuel tank for a 1955 Handyman Wagon.
Rick Guerrero said he plans to attend a taping of "Search & Restore" in November.
He said he is not surprised that the custom fuel tanks Rick's specializes in -- mid-'50s through early-'70s hot rods, classics, muscle cars and trucks -- have taken off they way they have.
"Surprised not so much, happy very much," he said with a smile. "We get compliments on them all time and it's all due to our guys in the back shop. No matter where we go, the East Coast or the West Coast, people always comment on the quality of the work. We expect a lot out of our guys, and they always deliver 100 percent. I'm just happy that all the gears are meshing together."
Rick Guerrero said the tanks are built for performance and function.
"One of the biggest compliments we get is, 'It looks too good to put underneath the car,' " he said. "I love it, because that shows the guys make a good quality product we all can be proud of."
Among Rick's clients are the Canadian singer-songwriter Neil Young, who is regarded as one of the most influential musicians of his generation, and reality TV star Brody Jenner.
"Neil Young has a car called the Linc Volt," Rick Guerrero said. "It's a '60s kind of custom Lincoln that runs on biofuel. About two years ago, the car had just come out of a fresh restoration and there was a fire, and a firefighter took an ax to it to cut the trunk open so it just got redone again. He is actually getting ready to drive it across Canada on his next Canadian tour."
The average price for fuel-injected stainless-steel gas tanks is about $1,295.
"We've done fuel tanks in conjunction with fuel pumps that went as high as $2,800 and even higher than that," Rick Guerrero said.
Getting the business off the ground and sustaining it has been difficult.
"In 1999, we went to the Chamber of Commerce looking for help because I didn't know how to write a business plan; I didn't even know what a business plan was," Hector Guerrero said. "There were some businessmen there, and a gentleman flat-out told me that I was crazy doing what I was planning on doing in El Paso. He told me if I sold beer or menudo, I would do fine and the banks would lend me money."
That man was right.
"No bank would ever touch us, so we did this all on our own with our own money," Hector Guerrero said. "The initial investment was a very small sum of money. It's so small I'm embarrassed to disclose it."
There were times when Hector Guerrero questioned himself.
"We went through some tough times," he said. "I almost lost my house. I even rode my bike to work because I (didn't) have enough money to buy fuel.
"One of the biggest hurdles was having no capital and landing a huge contract where I couldn't buy the raw materials needed to complete it. That happened several times, but we got the jobs done."
Today, the company is going strong, employs 10 people and continues to build quality products.
"The efforts and the tenacity came to fruition," said Hector Guerrero. "And in this market, that is what you need. Never give up. In all fairness, we have a very good crew who have believed in us through thick and thin.
"There is no one in the city who can produce the quality that we do. The reason I know that beyond a reasonable doubt is because this year I have interviewed about 25 welders to do what we do. I finally found one that will fit in. Our people really make the business."
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