Thursday, November 6, 2014


Interview with Ian Smith from Americana Speed Shop

1.) How in the hell did a company in Birmingham AL get involved with Escape to Hazzard County?-- I've followed the Lady Hump blog for some time, and met Allen on last year's (2013) El Diablo Run.  I started the initial plans for my event, The Catalina Wine Mixer, and reached out to various people, including Allen, for raffle items.  We decided on a "home and home" deal and supported each other!  I hope to make it out to (a) Hazzard County soon!

2.) You run Americana Speed Shop. Tell us a little bit about the history of your business/shop. When you started? Do you run it out of a garage/ shop/ vegetable stand? Do you run it by yourself, one man operation or maybe you have some trained helper monkeys?
--Americana Speed Shop has REALLY humble beginnings.  I began the "leather craft" out of necessity.  I wanted to go on The Big Mountain Run on my rigid Ironhead and needed some storage.  After looking around for saddle bags, and not finding any I liked, I decided to make my own. I took an introductory class at my local Tandy Leather, made the saddle bag, and haven't looked back. I'm hooked! I started making wallets, belts, leather covered whiskey flasks, etc. for my friends as gifts. I was looking for any reason to stay busy. From there I started an Instagram account and posted some examples of my work and started getting some interest for custom orders. I keep my prices pretty low, and strive for realistic turnaround times, unlike some other "crafters" out there who take a lot of your money, then act like they are doing you a favor to make your item. My goal is to make pieces for people, that are realistically priced, that get people stoked.

About a year ago, I joined forces with my best buddy Big Boss Ross, who is an accomplished machinist.  He has always been our crew's go-to-guy for awesome machined parts for our bikes. We designed a set of foot pegs that we were really happy with, and picked up Lowbrow Customs as a distributor. We have a "Big Cartel" site, but the majority of our machined products are sold through Lowbrow.

We brother-in-law it pretty well.  Me with the leather, and Ross with the lathe and CNC Mill.

3.) You tool some pretty cool wallets. What else do you/can you make? --Wallets and belts make up the majority of my custom items.  I have also been granted licensing from Biltwell, Inc. to make custom tooled Passport Wallets for next year's El Diablo Run.  I've already made several and plan on making several more over the Winter.  I also have made several saddle bags as of late.

4.) Tell me a little bit about the "chopper scene" where you live. Seems like Alabama has a high level of choppers / riders, say compared to Louisiana, etc., why do you think that is?--This is a funny topic. We always joke around, and my crew doesn't take itself so seriously, about the "scene" here. There definitely are a lot of choppers in Birmingham, more than most cities in the South from what I can tell. There's a big group of skateboarders/ex skateboarders that have there own thing going. Our riding club, The Inbreds RC, is made up of guys that have jobs and families. We don't mind partying with the younger crowd, and we take the occasional week long chopper trip. We just can't do it as much as we like to with our other responsibilities. Having the Barber Vintage Festival here every October also helps bring our buddies from around the country in for a visit.

5.) Tell me about the Catalina Wine Mixer. How long have you been putting this on?--The Catalina Wine Mixer basically started out of necessity. We had the Big Mountain Run in Tennessee for a few years, and it was a blast. A few bad apples spoiled that event and they moved it West Virginia. We also had the Dixie Roundup for 2 years but it fizzled out. I was having breakfast in Ensenada while on EDR and thanked McGoo for putting the event on, and being such awesome hosts. He told me the best way to really thank them was to put something on in my area. His point was that everyone bitches about not having fun stuff to do in their area. That California is Chopper Mecca. Well, California IS Chopper Mecca but that doesn't mean that with a little effort you can't have fun in your own backyard. I really took his words to heart and began planning the event in my head while still on EDR. I mentioned my rough idea to my new friend Shandra, whom I met on EDR. She said, "you should call it The Catalina Wine Mixer" so she gets credit for the name. I loved the movie Step Brothers, so the jokes kinda write themselves.  I get a few emails from confused Californians wondering when we will be on Catalina Island!

The first event was a success, even with a Tropical Storm that beat us up on Friday, dumping 3+ inches of rain in 12 hours. We had a great turnout in my opinion. This year's event is this weekend and I expect more of the same. Camping on an awesome piece of land, cool bikes, and friends partying. It's an easy recipe for a good weekend.

We are really pumped on all the support we have received for raffle items. People got REALLY excited last year and I expect we will have an awesome time again.

6.) What are you making for this years Hazzard County?--I'll be making another set of wallets to celebrate the 3 headed monster you have created! I love Alan Stedman's work, he designed my second logo, so I'll be using his artwork for the tooling.
Alan Stedman Interview HERE

7.) Anything else you want to add? 
I appreciate the support. I've had fun the past few years forging friendships through motorcycles and my leather work. I always look forward to the next adventure.

Ian Smith can be reached at:

Instagram: @americana_speed_shop



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