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Gunner's Garage - Cowboy Bob

Gunner's Garage - Cowboy Bob
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One of Bob’s friends sold him this never-touched-since-the-‘60s Tudor.
 
"Cowboy Bob" was born in 1943 as Bobby Joe Norris. He grew up in Southern Illinois. As luck would have it, starting out in the early ‘40s, the stage was set for Bob to form an interest in cars. In the early ‘50s, the hot rod scene exploded on the West Coast and Utah’s Bonneville Salt Flats swarmed with people driving flathead-Ford-powered Track Ts. That was about the time that Cowboy Bob started buying hot rod magazines for 25¢. Although he was isolated in the Midwest, Bob did his best to keep up with the West Coast trends.
 
Cowboy Bob Norris in the flesh.
 
Bob’s first home-built ride was a Briggs & Stratton HEMI-powered, rear-engine rail job. He built it when he was about 12 years old. Bob’s dad then bought a stylish Studebaker sedan, but his first real “ride” was a ‘46 Ford convertible. He bought it on his 16th birthday for $100 cash that he earned with a paper route. 
 
Note the “office decorations.”
 
Bob's high school project was a ’32 Ford “Deuce” pickup. Bob and his friend Dan had fun with a '57 Ford hardtop, too. Bob bought the Ford in 1961. Dan was much cuter looking, but Bob got the girls with his “hardtop convertible.” 
 
Here’s Cowboy Bob’s favorite rod.
 
By the next year, Bob was hooked up with the Fondy Rev Masters in Fond du Lac, Wis. In high school, he turned out to be a fair welder and he stuck with that trade to earn a living. He also managed to keep interesting cars in his life. These included a 327-powered '57 Chevy and a Deuce five-window coupe that he also drove to high school. It was known as “Junkyard Dog 32.”
 
As time went on, Bob kept his interest in traditional hot rods. He also kept nearly all the cars he owned. But, he got totally turned off by the era of “billet aluminum and $5,000 paint jobs.” He left street rodding until 9-11. After that, he realized life is too short and he knew what he wanted to do — play with rods.
 
Some of the old cars hanging out at Bob’s welding shop.
 
Naturally, Bob is enjoying the current resurgence in “rat rods” or “old skol” rods. Cowboy says "Call them what you will, I call them great!" He now operates Grade-A-Welding in North Fond du Lac, Wis., on the shores of Lake Winnebago. The place is loaded with old cars, old trucks and car parts both inside and out. Bob is even building a half dozen flathead-powered Track Ts.
 
Some of the older cars hanging there, too.