Trucks at Work

A peek inside Outcast Kustoms

By fortunate circumstance last week, I got a backstage glimpse of Outcast Kustoms’ one-of-a-kind chrome shop and collision repair facility located in Mooresville, NC; a town located just off I-77 on the outskirts of Charlotte, NC, which is home to the Carolina Panthers NFL football team as well as the NASCAR Hall of Fame.

Outcast, by the way, is the brainchild of April and Kelvin Locklear who both grew up in trucking families (that's Kelvin on the left ... obviously!). They opened their first chrome, fabrication and repair shop down in Florence, SC, back in January 2000, followed by the Mooresville location in July 2011.

[To view more photos of Outcast's Mooresville shop, just click here.]

Reality TV fame in no small part helped April and Kelvin expand their chrome shop business – Kelvin served as the lead designer for a time on the Country Music Television (CMT) show Trick My Truck, as well as stints with Speed’s American Trucker program and the Travel Channel show Outrageous Rigs – but they remain very much down-to-earth folks, more than willing to open the doors of their business to even lowly trade reporters like myself.

The Locklear’s Mooresville shop – officially called the K&L Chrome Shop and Collision Center – is a 46,000 square foot facility that includes two paint booths (one large enough to hold big rigs, the other a smaller unit for painting body components), a plasma cutting machine for sheet metal fabrication, and all sorts of other truck repair equipment.

[Below you can watch Outcast’s team in the big paint booth start work on a “pink fire truck” built for the nearby Lake Norman Fire Department to promote breast cancer research. You can view a photo gallery of the finished vehicle by clicking here.]

As one would suspect, while crafting custom trucks and conducting assorted chrome work is what fires the creative juices of the Outcast team, it’s not always steady business.

The real bread and butter of Locklear’s operation, then, is collision repair work for truck owners, carriers, municipal fleets, and just about anybody else who walks in the door.

Indeed, Outcast is also now looking to get into front-end alignment work to further diversify its service offerings as well as its customer base. That's a smart smooth, especially in these unsure economic times.

[Kelvin also isn’t above poking a little fun at himself, either; the hallmark of good leadership in many respects. In the clip below, during filming for one of Outcast’s latest reality TV episodes on the Discovery channel, a costumed Sasquatch stops by to admire Kelvin’s beard.]

Needless to say, I always enjoy the chance to get a behind-the-scenes glimpse of the inner workings of any truck chrome shop and it’ll be interesting to see what new creations Outcast Kustoms comes up with in the months ahead. 

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