David Lesack has been tinkering, painting and working on anything with wheels since his youth.
He became addicted to playing around with automobiles from the moment his father bought him his first set of Hot Wheels, Lesack said with a laugh.
He always has several projects on the go, the common theme being a constant drive to innovate and create a unique ride unlike anything in the world.
Lesack is currently working on a 1990 Chevrolet truck; like all his vehicles, it comes with a novel story.
He purchased the vehicle from his old boss in Carberry. He was drawn to it because it was a short-box Chevy and the make can be a rare find. It needed some work on the engine and a new paint job to create a brilliant orange beast.
However, issues with the truck continued to arise.
“This truck seems to be almost cursed,” Lesack said with a chuckle. “Partway through the summer, the old paint job was a lacquer paint job and it split through the new paint job, ruining it. I had to take it down to bare metal and start all over again.”
He is always thinking of ways to modify his vehicles, and the truck was no different.
“I get this itch; I never want to be the same as everybody else,” Lesack said.
He went on an adventure to the junkyard, hunting for a way to modify the dashboard of the Chevy, and came across a 2010 Camaro. The car had been beaten up beyond recognition, but the dashboard of the Camaro looked like it would be the perfect fit for the Chevy.
Lesack brought the Camaro dash home and is working on adapting it to fit in the Chevy — it has been stretched out with new panels to sit just right.
He is still tinkering away on the truck and hopes to have it ready in time for World of Wheels in the spring.
“I want this to be the highest quality of anything I’ve ever built. I want people to be blown away from it,” Lesack said. “It is a ton of work, but it’s going to be really cool.”
He estimates he has owned more than 100 cars over the years, and at this point has lost track of all the vehicles he has worked on. He has had just about everything and anything for a ride from the classics to the imports.
His latest interest is working with mini-trucks and Mazdas, along with restoring a Chevelle with his dad.
“It’s an addiction,” Lesack said. “I can’t leave anything stock.”
He is also modifying a 2006 Mazda 3 that was his father’s daily driver. Lesack said he loved the way it drives and is now working to alter the interior, slowly adding on projects to transform the car using 2010 parts.
He praised his dad Brian for the support he has given and his eager hands that are always ready to help with a project.
It’s an exciting time in the family, he added, because his son Alistair is also starting to dip his toes in automotive work.
The major work on the Mazda 3 includes a front-end swap with a 2010 of the same make. The chassis is not a perfect fit, he said, but the father-son duo is working to modify it so it slides on like a glove.
Lesack is excited to complete the front-end swap, he said, because it will look neat and has provided the opportunity to learn something new.
“I don’t care if anyone else likes it, I like it,” Lesack said. “The effort is worth it in the end. You just stick to it and eventually it pays off.”
For many years, Lesack’s bread and butter had been his ability to airbrush works of art onto the sides, interior and even the trunks of cars.
He ventured into airbrushing in his early teens when he set out to add pin-stripes to a treasured remote-control car. He found the shop in town was really expensive and decided to take on the task himself.
He got an airbrush for Christmas and did the painting himself. Lesack fell in love with the process and slowly began to hone his skills, upgrading his abilities and his equipment.
“Every time I come back and try to build something better, bigger and crazier,” Lesack said.
It’s exciting for him to walk through car shows because he’ll come across rides he forgot he worked on.
All his skills have been self-taught, learning through trial and error.
“I learned the hard way. I failed so many times, but by failing you learn,” Lesack said. “I learn to do by doing … If I screw something up, now I know.”
His mantra has become the more you take on projects and experiment, the better you get in terms of quality.
Lesack said he is never satisfied just slapping something together, and he would tear a car apart rather than settle for how it looks and drives.
Putting a car together is like a puzzle — only Lesack is making the pieces.
The real challenge when working on a project, he said, is knowing when to stop and accept when a vehicle has the best look. The goal is to have a vehicle that is unrecognizable from its original form.
“My biggest problem is I have too many ideas and only one vehicle,” Lesack said. “Rather than just sell it and buy a new vehicle, I just change it.”
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Chelsea Kemp, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Brandon Sun