Autobody Metal Work and Custom Restoration
Kent Writtenberry owns and operates Kentz Kustomz, a full-service custom auto and restoration shop in Gasburg, Virginia, on the same plot of land where he was born and raised. It was here that his father, Robert Writtenberry, once owned a used car lot and general store. “All the street racers and drag racers used to hang out at my daddy’s store,” Kent recalls. “They’d work on their cars, then race them up on Eaton Ferry Bridge on Saturday night.” As a young boy, Kent would hang around as the men worked on the racers’ bodies and under their hoods, absorbing all he could. “First I’d be their gopher, holding wrenches, whatever they needed, but I learned quick. By the time I was 10 years old, I could take a motor out of a car and put it back.”
In the years since, Kent has developed into one of the premiere custom car builders in the country. Each one of Kent’s cars is completely unique, each with its own name, including MayBline, JoLine, and Onadine, among others. He has collaborated with automotive customs legend Gene Winfield, a seminal figure in the history of automobile customizing. Kent has a particular affinity for Chevys, and has won more than 50 awards for his work, both national and international.
While he is perhaps best known for his exquisite work in custom paints and designs, Kent says his favorite part of the restoration process is working with metal. “Metalworking makes things happen,” he recently told Hearth and Vine Magazine. “I create things. You can buy things but when I was coming along I didn’t have enough money to buy it but I could get a piece of old sheet metal and cut it and create what I wanted. I can take a piece of flat metal and make 10 curves. That’s what I really like. I want people to look at what I’ve done and instead of saying, ‘That’s nice,’ I want them to say, ‘How the hell did he do that?’”
Kent will demonstrate his metalworking prowess and other myriad talents at the 2019 Richmond Folk Festival.