Building cars is a chore, as we all know. Once our own expertise and skill (or perseverance) fall off, we go looking for those who can get the job done. Someone who can finish with their hands what we've already built in our mind. This brings me to Jeb Scolman of Jeb’s Metal and Speed in Long Beach. He doesn't have a big sign outside or much need to promote his business…he doesn't need to. People know him by his work.
Where most can’t, Jeb can. His skill makes many experienced builders look like amateurs. You want your racecar to go faster? He’ll have a few options for you, including aerodynamics (and by that we don’t mean slapping an aero kit on). If you have one fender and not the other, he can build it. He is a man of many talents both car and motorcycle related. Well…anything really with moving parts and metal.
While Jeb currently calls Long Beach, California home, he certainly isn’t from these parts. He grew up fishing and riding snowmobiles in the Great White North – Salcha, Alaska. As a kid he would find himself riding to the store to pick up magazines and books about hot-rodding, something you don’t find much of in Alaska. This spawned the notion to do something greater. So as a country boy with shop class as his only mechanical outlet, Jeb shipped himself off to Wyo-Tech where he enrolled in sheet metal and chassis fabrication. This was the start he needed.
When schooling was finished, Jeb decided it was time to trade in the snowshoes for board shorts and move to Southern California. It was time for his real education to get started. He found himself building chassis’ at Coppa Hotrod Shop. Life ended and started upon meeting Alex Prosser, who raised and nurtured Jebs metal shaping skills to a whole new level. From there Jeb went on to work at Richard’s Wheel and Chassis in Long Beach where he was given free reign to do what he needed. He has since gone on to carve himself out a nice piece of hotrod history with a shop of his own.
I first met Jeb years ago as a punk kid rolling around in a ’32 Roadster Pickup built to the nth degree. Since then we hadn’t talked much until I happened upon shooting one of the projects he worked on. A ’36 3-Window Coupe that he had painstakingly finished. I kept looking in awe at his skills in metal working craftsmanship. Since then, I’ve seen him hand craft too many body panels to count and even full cars such as the Stutz Blackhawk, covered earlier here on DrivingLine.com.
This man encompasses the hotrod persona without skipping a beat. While he may have skipped wearing engineer boots and opted for the more comfortable running shoe, he remains a hot-rodder and car builder through and through.
His most recent exploits you will be seeing at SEMA (which we’ll have plenty of coverage of here at Driving Line). Jeb was contracted by Indian motorcycles to build the “World’s Fastest Indian II.” An awesome example of Jeb’s work, with both speed and metal engaged in a daring feat to go faster than any before. After SEMA the motorcycle will be travelling to Bonneville go the distance on the salt, just like Burt Munro’s original one.
When I stopped into Jeb’s shop to take a few pictures, he had the time to build a rear quarter panel for a ’32 Coupe. In the time it takes me to set up a few lights, Jeb had taken a flat sheet of steel and turned it into a shaped panel that fits like a glove. Seriously, it’s amazing to watch him work. At the mere age of 30 he’s already a metal-bending master – I can only image the work he’ll be doing with another 20 years of experience under his belt. No doubt we’ll be seeing more of him in the future…