Farrell Hurt is known among his friends and neighbors for being able to transform any piece of junk into a functioning piece of a hot rod.
“They’ll drop off a rusty fender or an old truck that doesn’t run,” he said. “Somebody even gave me their old trampoline. It turns into a community build because they want to see what you can do with it.”
And he rarely disappoints.
“The tubing from the trampoline is the cooling system for my Maserati,” Hurt said. “I have some of that trampoline in my golf cart. Tubing’s tubing, it don’t know the difference.”
Hurt’s reputation extends beyond his inner circle.
“When anybody talks about rat rods, his name comes up,” said Paul Sampson, event promoter for Rockabilly Riot. “Farrell is one of the original rat rod builders.”
Hurt moved to Carson City at 8 years old in 1972. At 14, he fell in with a local family who raced T-cars and stock cars.
“I was always into cars, but I couldn’t afford a nice one,” he said. “We just started building what we could get our hands on.”
“Fat Gary” helped Hurt rebuild his first 1957 Chevy.
“He said, first take that stack of rocks and put them on the other side of the yard,” Hurt recalled. “I asked him what this had to do with working on the Chevy. ‘Nothing, I just need the rocks moved.’”
It continued the same way.
“I remodeled his house over the next two years,” Hurt said. “I learned how to work on the house, but I also learned to work on cars.”
Hurt, who now lives in Stagecoach with his wife, Teri, will be participating this year for the first time in the Rockabilly Riot on June 22-25 in Mills Park and downtown Carson City.
The Riot will feature the car show along with drags, burnouts, bands, a pinup contest, hot wheel and valve cover races and a downtown cruise.
The Rockabilly Riot will coincide with the T-Buckets Car Show, featuring Model-T cars, and the Wild West Motor Officer Challenge, a motorcycle obstacle course for law enforcement officers. All of the shows will be in Mills Park, with a fourth show, Karson Kruzers Run What Cha Brung, in Fuji Park.
All participants will join in a cruise that Saturday night.
Hurt will be bringing four cars, including a 1959 Marketeer golf cart fitted with a Chevy big-block motor, a 1930 Maserati coupe with a V-8 engine and a 1932 Chevy five-window coupe.
It will be his first show after taking time off to care for his ailing mother-in-law then nursing his own health issues.
“I’m excited to get back out there and start going to car shows,” he said. “As soon as you meet each person, you’re family. It’s like meeting people you already know, you have this shared passion.”
Part of Hurt’s passion is preserving the original intent of creating rat rods, or dirty hot rods as he also calls them.
“It’s an inexpensive way of making cool pieces of art,” he said. “Some people spend $30,000 on parts then call it a rat rod because they put a patina paint job on it. That’s not it. These guys build whatever they can get their hands on, some rusty old thing they find out in the desert somewhere.”
Really, it comes down to a pretty simple objective.
“We just want to go fast and look cool,” Hurt said.