Fatman Fabrications, the Last Man Standing, First
Fatman Fabrications has stood the test of time. Back in the day, cutting coils, dropping axles and flipping leaf springs were different tricks in altering a vehicle’s ride height and handling. Back in the 1970s and early 1980s Mustang II, Camaro and Volare front clips were all the rage among hot rodders wishing to upgrade the suspension on their rides. In most instances, it took a tremendous amount of skill and fabrication to subframe a vehicle. There had to be a better way to do it.
History is filled with fables and legends of the last man standing. For instance the O.K. Corral, the last man standing was Earp and his crew. That is one way to gauge the victor; perhaps there is another way to view history and the victorious. What about the man that stands first? Fatman Fabrications and its founder Brent Vandervort can be counted among the few as the first to stand.
What started as a cottage industry, building hot rods for himself and friends at home quickly evolved over the years. Vandervort pulled the trigger in 1985 and opened his own hot rod fabrication shop, Fatman Fabrications. Armed with a business degree, engineering degree and skill, Vandervort was soon producing his own line of off-the-shelf suspension upgrades for a myriad of vehicles. Their offerings have expanded over the years to include complete rolling chassis (everything from a ’37 Chevy, the gamut of early Ford rods and trucks all the way through tri-five Chevys), front clips, control arms, IFS systems and more. Made in the USA in Mint Hill, North Carolina, all parts and process are locally sourced and produced by American craftsman.
Many of those craftsmen, have been working at Fatman’s for well over twenty years. One welder commented, “I could probably work somewhere else and make a bit more money, but then I wouldn’t be working for Brent Vandervort.”
The crew here are your typical dyed-in-the-wool hot rodders, tinkerers and fabricators; they just don’t work at a job, it’s a lifestyle. Most own their own hot rods or motorcycles and understand the dynamics involved in hot rodding.
With over thirty years in business Vandevort’s mantra is “Our approach is to favor function over fluff.” At Fatman’s you won’t find sterile gray walls, and neon lights like at a local auto parts store, where the clerk behind the counter knows very little.
A magnificently motley crew of seasoned fabricators and characters whose work ethic is the secret to the longevity of the company is what makes Fatman Fabrications an American success story.
What’s also cool is Brent is more than willing to share tips and secrets from chassis set up to other helpful suggestions to garage guys and hot rodders the world over. For the last 17 years, he has penned the monthly “Good Tips” column in the Goodguys Gazette. He even published a book featuring the majority of his 200-plus columns. It’s a must-have item for anyone that builds and works on their own stuff.
You won’t find a cooler guy in hot rodding than Brent Vandervort. His shop, his products, his crew and his infinite knowledge make him a valuable resource for any hot rod enthusiast. The Fatman is the real deal!