This Small-Town Iowa Shop Is Doing BIG Things
In the ever-changing and constantly evolving world that automotive has become, new shops with new and unique ideas are always popping up. Sometimes, those “new ideas” are not based on something that just came out or that they recently created. Sometimes they are based on evolved creations from history.
PRD Design happens to be inspired greatly by this philosophy. While the shop is not purely based around this idea, the owner and operator of PRD, Brycen Smith, is inspired by and has had a longtime dream to create a custom car that is based upon a famous World War II piece of aircraft. Not only did he want it to look era-appropriate, but he also wanted it to be properly hand-built like the airplane originally was, from the chassis to body panels.
Once Smith had formed the initial ideas for this build, he began fabricating the chassis. Fifty-plus hours later, he had the chassis design built. It has only come to be in stages after many years of work, design, labor, and long evenings of tinkering and changes—but only after he finished up builds that keep the lights on and bills paid.
If this car does not convince you of his craftsmanship and talent level, I am not sure what would.
THEY DO IT ALL—AND THEN SOME
To dive deeper into what PRD Design is and what the crew there does, we could give you a list of their builds and accomplishments … but we couldn’t even begin to cover them in this amount of space.
What do they do you ask? What don’t they do! From ’67-’72 Ford trucks (especially bump sides; they LOVE bump sides) to full builds from 1970s to older, engines, headers/exhaust setups, chassis building, custom sheetmetal work, wiring, engine swaps … this list just keeps going, folks.
While the Pella, Iowa, shop has only existed since 2022, Smith has more than 18 years experience in the hot-rod industry, and it shows clearly in the work he puts out into the world. He was formerly the shop foreman at well-known Scott’s Hot Rods for more than four years and has even built a custom side-car for motocross superstar Carey Hart. The most sought-after work he is known for, however, has come from time in his own shop—including the aforementioned World War II-inspired build named “Project Ruptured Duck” and a 1967 F-250 highboy build, which he called “Penny.”
My goal is that every project should have purpose, functionality, and comfort in mind.
“These are the two projects that are responsible for changing my career and leading me down the path of opening PRD Design,” Smith says. “I couldn’t have done this without the love and support from my, Christine. She’s a trooper who has continually put up with my dreams and crazy ideas over the years. On top of opening the shop, she brought my daughter into this world in November 2021, and I can’t express enough how much she does to make PRD Design a reality.”
So, from all of us here at the magazine and in the automotive scene around the world, we thank you too, Christine, because your husband’s work is phenomenal.
“DREAM. BUILD. DRIVE.”
One of the best things about hiring PRD Design is also that you have direct communication with the hands that are on your vehicle. Nothing will be lost in communication between employees or missed emails, because Smith is the business, and rest assured, he has the best of intentions in anything he puts out for you, from big to small.
“My goal is that every project should have purpose, functionality, and comfort in mind,” Smith says. “These things will lead to an enjoyable vehicle, no matter what custom touches get built into the project. Our slogan is ‘Dream. Build. Drive,’ and that simple philosophy is what I believe encompasses the scope of each project. I want to work with your dream build and help you realize its full potential as we create something personal you can confidently drive—and I’d love to hear from you.”
If you want to contact Brycen Smith and PRD Design, reach out to him via the company’s website, www.prddesign.com, follow them on Instagram at @fabrycatedmetal and
@_prddesign, and also on Facebook at @prddesign.