Roseville Rod & Custom, Fuel Curve

Roseville Rod and Custom – Flying High Under the Radar

You have heard the Roseville Rod and Custom name before. Being tucked away in the foothills above Sacramento, California they don’t enjoy the mainstream press of the Southern California shops but owner Ben York likes it that way. A quiet man, he lets his builds do the talking. And talk they do.

Roseville Rod and Custom, Fuel Curve

York and his ten man team build perfect hot rods. Using hot rod as a broad term, they have turned out perfect pre and post-war coupes and roadsters, powerful pickups, customs, custom rods and mighty muscle cars. They have even been known to restore or upgrade a few foreign cars on occasion.

Roseville Rod and Custom, Fuel Curve

Everything is right when they roll out of Roseville Rod and Custom. York learned attention to detail from his father Ben York Sr as well as his step father Duane “Poncho” Fender. Over the past 25 years of car building, he has made them proud. The shop celebrated their 25th anniversary last year.

Roseville Rod and Custom, Fuel Curve

Roseville’s builds have won countless awards around the west. The shop’s first “big build” was a 1946 Buick that impressed the troops at the Goodguys West Coast Nationals back in 2002. The first time they ventured east of the Mississippi in 2016, they brought home the Goodguys Hot Rod of the Year award with Brian George’s AV8 roadster. The car, styled in 50s hot rod trim with Ardun power, blew away the field. Famed builders walked by the car and were stopped dead in their tracks. “That’s a damn nice car,” was heard over and over.

Roseville Rod and Custom, Fuel Curve



But that wasn’t York’s first breakthrough in winning a Goodguys Top 12 award. Back in 2009, a candy burgundy 1939 Ford convertible he built for Indiana’s Marvin Bok won the Goodguys Street Rod d’ Elegance and America’s Most Beautiful Street Rod in the same year. The hits kept coming later that fall when Kirk Johnson’s silver ’68 Ford truck won Goodguys Truck of the Year Late. Its fair to say these builds put him on the map nationally. Its also worth noting that Ben was on the front burner of the recent 60s Ford truck craze.

Roseville Rod and Custom, Fuel Curve

York didn’t get into building hot rods to win awards. It was his passion that drove him, a passion passed down from his father’s. His first hot rod was a ’53 Ford pickup – a truck he drove daily to Roseville’s Oakmont High School which in turn led to inquiries which led to side work. When he was in his 20s, he worked for the post office as a line mechanic by day and built cars in the evenings and weekends. He hung out his first shingle during the post office days maintaining his day job and his new hot rod shop. It was that work ethic that propelled him to the top.

Roseville Rod and Custom, Fuel Curve

When Ben Sr retired, he went to work at Roseville full time adding not only a confidant, but a top line mechanic and machinist. Roseville’s shop foreman Mike came along later and Ben’s mother plays a vital role as well. “When Mike and my dad retired in 1999 it was the perfect time for them to join me full time. Mike is our shop manager and has been by my side for 18 years. My dad is our machinist and the two of them, along with my mom, have backed me since day one” York said.

Roseville Rod and Custom, Fuel Curve

But like any path in life there are obstacles. The most turbulent time in the shop’s tenure was during the economic downturn of 2008. It crippled Roseville Rod and Custom but didn’t break them. “Customers who we had been building half a million dollar cars for began to disappear,” said York. “We did what we had to do to weather the storm. Letting a good chunk of my staff go was one of the hardest things I’ve had to do. Thankfully we made it through and the shop is full again. Most of my guys returned.”

Roseville Rod and Custom, Fuel Curve

Roseville’s 13,000 square foot shop is a fully stocked, blue collar working man’s haven. Fabrication, sheet metal work, mechanical work and body and paint are all done in house. The CNC machine runs daily whittling unique parts. Only upholstery work is sent out.

Roseville Rod and Custom, Fuel Curve

Now humming along and turning out more stunning builds, York has had the opportunity to get his son involved in the scene. James York is now running “York Speed Shop” – a co-brand to Roseville Rod and Custom which specializes in selling shop-made speed parts as well as rare OEM parts from the collection of Ben’s step father Poncho. Like the hot rod shop, the relatively new venture is enjoying success.

Roseville Rod and Custom, Fuel Curve

Roseville Rod and Custom, Fuel CurveRoseville Rod & Custom, Fuel Curve

Just take a look at these pictures from our recent visit. They give you an idea of just how busy the shop is these days. The vehicles under construction show the depth of their range. Several of the cars and trucks you see here will be out in the summer and fall. And you know they’ll find the winner’s circle.

Roseville Rod and Custom, Fuel Curve

After 25 years and a lineup of finished builds that rival any shop in America, Ben York is poised to stay at the top by humbly going about the business of building the best.

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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