Kennedy Boyz Bomb Factory – Early Ford Parts in Pomona
The Kennedy Boyz Bomb Factory is where hot rod history survives and thrives. Joe and Jay (Jason), had no choice, they were born into a hot rod family. Sure, they do other things; go surfing, ride bikes, collect stuff but mostly they build traditional hot rods for a very small but discerning clientele that knows the gate code. The place is not easy to find hidden behind indiscriminate fencing in a poor part of Pomona, a city where an imaginative Walt Disney once asked if he could build a theme park—the City blew him off.
The brother’s father is Bob Kennedy who is well known in the So-Cal region as a master car restorer and wood grainer. Bob had a string of cool rods including a ’34 Cabriolet that even in 1959 featured wide whites, rippled ’36 bumpers and a transplanted 265 Chevy.
Despite his love for Model 40 Fords, Bob had a knack for wood graining. Originally, many early Fords, and other brands, had a factory wood-grained dash and garnish moldings using an ink-transfer process. When people began to restore their early cars or resto-rod them as they did in 1960s, Bob was the go-to-guy to recreate the factory look. For many years he operated out of the Bomb Factory location at 1000 East End, just around the corner from the SO-CAL Speed Shop. Although semi retired, Bob still plies his trade working out of a shop in Whittier, California.
The Boyz got going around 1994 and have been building pretty much the same Ford-based traditional hot rods for almost 30 years. Sure, they’ll throw a SO-CAL chassis under a car if it warrants it or if the customer requests it but just as likely you’ll find them hammering original rails back into shape, weldin’ up holes and using original, un-split wishbones front and rear. And, even if they do use something as hi-tech as a Step-Boxed chassis or a tubular K-member they have a knack of making it their own and making it look like the factory built it.
What makes the Boyz interesting is that they don’t have funky haircuts, there are no visible tattoos and there is a distinct lack of arrogance or ego. They don’t take themselves too seriously. They don’t do any marketing or anything much that pertains to business. There’s no sign on the street or mailbox, they’re not listed in any directory, they don’t have a phone that’s listed that I could find and they sure don’t have a website. They don’t do Facebook. However, you can find them on Instagram @kennedybroshotrods.
Go through their Instagram archives and see the shop back in the day when it was Bob Adair’s Early Iron packed full of hot rods and salvaged rusty tin. Some people just have a knack for falling over cool stuff and Joe and Jay have that rare trait of finding and buying the right stuff. I’ve been going to their yard for more than 20 years and there’s always cool stuff to see from an original flathead-powered rail (for sale) to surf boards to Tiki stuff to model kits to vintage speed equipment. You want it, they got containers packed to the gills with stuff and most everything is for sale.
Of course, they are always coming across early Ford parts; everything from complete cars to garages full of those hard-to-find parts that you’ve been looking for for years. And you never know what you’re going to find. I once purchased from them an aluminum body from a road racing special that turned out to be a one-off, hand formed body that had been fitted to a Ferrari Tipo 166. I would never have found it but the K-Boyz did.
One of the best stories they tell is of a local Deuce aficionado who had a big yard full of cherry early Ford tin until a storm came through and blew a bunch of trees down. Yes, you guessed it, all over the tin. “It took 20 years before the owner would let us in there.” Said Joe. “And when we finally got there almost all the cars were buried under trees and twenty years of growth. We were digging for days before we could salvage anything. They’re auto archeologists, American Pickers before you ever saw Frank and Mike on TV.
Of late they’ve got into collecting old jalopy racers that are harder to find than hot rods because what didn’t get wrecked on the racetrack went to the wrecking yard or if salvageable got turned into hot rods. Nevertheless, over the last few years they’ve scrounged up a handful of genuine jalopys but they’ve also built a ’34 Tudor tribute that is period bolt correct and could have been running at Gardena in the 1960s. The Tudor was built for Texas hoodlum Jim Jard who has been a regular customer for many years.
They’ve built everything for Jim from traditional rods to a period-correct Metalflake dune buggy. Perhaps one of their most iconic builds for Jard was a tribute to Fred Allen’s drag racing 5-window coupe Satan, better known as the Devil Deuce. The car was as close as could be without being a total clone.
Besides Jim their list of customers is long and includes such guys as Dean Micetitch publisher of Dice magazine, Chuck de Heras and Bob Everts. They also built a stunning ’40 Merc convertible for Al Egelseer that was featured in Hop Up magazine and went on to be sold to John Mumford. Heck, they even allow customer Moises Vargas (below) to come work on his own cars. One day, Roy Brizio stopped by and hung out for a bit.
For all their builds the Kennedy Boyz continue to fly below the radar building what they want to build regardless of the prevailing trends. Ironically, it was a visitor to the Bomb Factory who upon seeing the old-school flames of Jard’s Devil Deuce recreation opined, “They look like it was done 50 years ago.”
“That’s how they’re supposed to look” said Jay, knowing then they’d nailed it. And that’s pretty much sums up the Kennedy Boyz Bomb Factory.