HS Customs – From Small Town to the Spotlight
Cam Millers’ HS Customs of Logan, Utah is a familiar American success story. Logan is a small town with barely 100,000 people. It’s quiet, beautiful and the home of an incredible hot rod & muscle car workshop. Cam Miller and his crew, who took the coveted Battle of the Builders at the 2016 SEMA show, work tirelessly to keep producing mean machines with superior craftsmanship and style. But the story doesn’t start here, it started during the era of fat fendered Fords, smoothie billet machines, pastels and Oakley Blades – yep the 1990s.
It’s 1995 and Cam Miller has been working for his dad at their family convenience store and lube center for almost ten years. Having a passion for 4 wheelers, the drags and all things fast, Cam began building motors and doing paint for friends. In 1997 his side job became his full-time career when he rented a 1,500 square foot space and did a lot of custom work on motorcycles, off-road machines and snowmobiles. A friend’s backyard lean-to served as a make-shift spray booth. Made of two Amada press brake shipping crates attached to a shed, it was resourceful and effective.
Cam’s first real build was in 2002. It was a 1963 Buick Riveria and it was then that Cam realized “I wanted to move to the custom car world and become a respected and reputable builder.” His crew grew from just himself to five employees and in 2014 a 1958 Ford Thunderbird, owned by Alex Short became the build that would garner some real attention.
Having never been to a show outside of his hometown, Cam and crew loaded the trailer and headed to Loveland for their first-ever Goodguys Rod and Custom Association event at the Ranch in Loveland, Colorado. The T-bird received a Custom Rod of the Year finalist nod and it was time to get back to the shop and keep pushing the envelope on new builds.
The HS Customs crew continued to grow encompassing team members Rhianna Jones, Kasey Hebdon, Cort Sessions, Bob Riggs, Blade Manning, Jesse Webb, Josh Ripley, Eric Meghan (all pictured in this story). Soon, they began work on a 1969 Camaro, appropriately named “Under Pressure.” Like the T-Bird it was commissioned by Alex Short. “So many well done ‘69 Camaros already existed so we wanted to make our customer happy and make a statement…create a clean and ultimate driving machine.”
“To say the 2016 SEMA show was a big experience would be an understatement. We felt like kids sitting at the adult table for Thanksgiving dinner for the first time,” Douglas recalled. “When the idea to enter SEMA’s Battle of the Builders came up, we decided to go for it, thinking we were kind of out of our league alongside the industry’s top builders who we had looked up to for a very long time.”
Cam and crew’s decision was a good one as they were immediately accepted to the top 21 of the competition. “I was good with that” Miller said. “I mean, I was standing on a stage with the Ringbrothers, the guys from Roadster Shop, Jesse Greening and others. We have these guys’ posters on the shop wall!”
As the competition moved forward, the Camaro made top 10, then Cam found himself on a stage as one of the top 3. And when the name HS Customs of Logan, Utah was announced as the Battle of the Builders winner, complete with television cameras on and flashes going off, time just stopped. “I was completely overcome with emotion and was just trying in my head to make sure that I thanked everyone involved, especially my client Alex and my incredible team who made it all happen.” Under Pressure’s win at SEMA was a breath of fresh air for the industry. It proved the “Little guy” from a small town can indeed take the well-deserved spotlight. It was an incredible night.
So what happens after a win like that? “We move on to the next project and keep focusing on making our customers happy while hopefully contributing new, interesting and innovative builds to an industry that we truly love and respect” Miller said. Currently Cam and his crew, now up to 12 members, have some killer projects in the shop to watch for. Currently under the knife are several cool builds including a 1981 Squarebody C-10 truck sporting a Duramax diesel engine, a ‘34 Ford, and a ‘70 El Camino (which will debut at Hot August Nights later this year as well as a ‘68 Chevelle that will make its debut at the 2018 SEMA show).
“The hot rodding industry can be crazy and incredibly challenging just trying to keep the lights on sometimes, but I get to work with artists-not just co-workers, who’s passion rivals mine. That makes it very easy to go to work every day.”
HS Customs has many valued industry partners but wants to send a special note of gratitude to PPG Refinish for being there before any awards were won with incredible support and products. And last, but certainly not least, Bill Williams, owner of ASET, who found Cam in his backyard and has continued to give him and his crew the kind of support that keeps you moving forward and chasing your dreams. Dreams which indeed have come true for Miller and his team.