Moal Coachbuilders, Steve Moal, Fuel Curve

Moal Coachbuilders, The Masters of Metal

The name Moal is synonymous with masterful metal works, European inspired speedsters and one-off roadsters as the art of metal shaping is taken seriously here at Moal Coachbuilders in Oakland, CA.

Moal Coachbuilders, Steve Moal, Fuel CurvePatriarch Steve Moal has been racing and rodding for over five decades and is joined in the family business by his sons Michael, David and his wife Theresa. Together they have put together an all-star cast of metal maestros and mechanics capable of turning out brilliant automotive artistry.

Moal Coachbuilders, Steve Moal, Fuel Curve

Moal Coachbuilders, Steve Moal, Fuel Curve

Moal Coachbuilders, Steve Moal, Fuel Curve

While many under the employ of Moal Coachbuilders are adept at shaping tin, the mad genius here is the elusive Irishman Jimmy Kilroy. He works way in the back, isolated from distraction where he can work uninterrupted focusing on creating one-off cars. As in the whole car – grille shell to taillights. Many of Moal’s creations are one-off aluminum-bodied machines made from scratch. Kilroy’s art is reflected not only in cars but motorcycles, airplanes and whatever other contraption he’s tasked to shape. His talent is off the charts.

Moal Coachbuilders, Steve Moal, Fuel CurveSteve Moal’s legacy is rooted in the bay area hot rod scene but he has always pushed boundaries in other forms of motorsport – open-wheel racing machines, Concours d’Elegance events, tether cars – we could go on for a while here. Roughly 20 years ago, Moal Coachbuilders began blending hot rods with European style coachbuilt cars, resulting in widely publicized one-off cars. Cars like TV star Tim Allen’s black roadster shaped to blend a ’29 Ford track nose with a ’32 hi-boy roadster with a Ferrari-esque interior. The late Gary Meadors had Moal build his yellow ’29 Ford hi-boy roadster which has a similar nose to that of Allen’s roadster (which sold at auction in recent years). There have been so many more one-off cars, including a shapely green roadster built and shown last year for Wayne Carini of the hit TV show “Chasing Classic Cars.”

In our estimation, Moal’s pièce de résistance is “Gatto” – Bill Grimsley’s semi-monocoque, hand formed, Ferrari powered coupe. From the arresting blue to the race-inspired interior to the Borrani wire wheels, Gatto is the pinnacle of automotive art. This is a car that stops us in our tracks every time we’re fortunate enough to lay eyes on it.

Moal Coachbuilders, Steve Moal, Fuel CurveMoal Coachbuilders, Steve Moal, Fuel CurveHow anyone can pull off such mind-bending builds almost seems unobtainable but there is a rich history behind Moal Coachbuilders. Moal’s grandfather William was a skilled wheelwright, who emigrated from France just after the turn of the century and began outfitting horse-drawn wagons with hand-crafted bodies and wheels. In the 1940s, Steve’s father George opened a body and fender business at their current location on E 12th street in Oakland, California. The reality is – Steve couldn’t and wouldn’t have done anything else for a living. Steve’s sons Michael and David ensure four generations of Moal’s will continue the family’s legacy of masterful metal works.Moal Coachbuilders, Steve Moal, Fuel Curve

Moal Coachbuilders, Steve Moal, Fuel Curve

Moal Coachbuilders, Steve Moal, Fuel CurveFor Steve however, it all circles back to hot rodding. His hands have touched AMBR winners, Pebble Beach winners as well as red-blooded good old American hot rod Fords. His blue deuce 3-window coupe reflects his passions – the perfect rake, reliable power, lots of details and hand shaped aluminum fenders covering both bigs and littles.

Moal Coachbuilders, Steve Moal, Fuel Curve

Moal Coachbuilders, Steve Moal, Fuel CurveMoal Coachbuilders, Steve Moal, Fuel CurveBut that’s not all here. In the last decade, Moal has begun to offer products. As with their coachbuilt cars, the products, ranging from their “T-Bar” rolling chassis, the aircraft style gauge bezels, mirrors, pedal assemblies, hot rod hats any other goodies are artfully designed, engineered and tested for the highest quality. To be honest – there is nothing Moal Coachbuilders can’t make for the automotive aficionado.Moal Coachbuilders, Steve Moal, Fuel Curve

Moal Coachbuilders, Steve Moal, Fuel Curve

The Moal family legacy, started all those years ago continues to evolve under the stewardship of Steve Moal, the Moal family and talented craftsmen like Jimmy Kilroy, Troy Morris, Robert Smith, Dave Wayda and the shop’s paint specialist Darrell Schneider.

Moal Coachbuilders, Steve Moal, Fuel CurveYou won’t find another shop in America quite like it.

Photography by Mike Christensen and the author.
Senior Editor, Digital Media

With three decades of automotive journalism under his belt, John Drummond serves as Senior Editor – Digital Media for Fuel Curve and Goodguys Rod & Custom Association where he has worked since 1990. Drummond got his start in motorsports reporting by making a fake press pass to gain starting line access. The ruse worked and he began covering auto races as far back as 1986 in Northern California, eventually getting his stories published worldwide. He has owned and driven everything from a 1957 Plymouth Belvedere to a ridiculously modded Subaru WRX as well as a string of Mercedes AMG’s, most of which had the warranties voided the day after leaving the dealership.

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