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Giving life back to cars

They sit around in various states of disrepair — doors missing, fenders with holes — but a new Orland fabrication shop will bring them back to life.

Jeff Ball Fabrication has a number of old vehicles ready for restoration, whether for “hard top” racing or car shows.

Ball and his racing partners decided to turn a hobby into a business with the August opening of his shop at 427 Colusa St.

He said his goal is to “join metals together” to make old cars or motorcycles go fast, or to create interesting iron work like decorative wrought iron pieces.

Ball said he began working on his first Harley Davidson motorcycle when he was 15 and he’s been working with metal ever since.

The shop is open Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., but Ball said he is often there to 9 p.m. working on different projects.

“When I play with the toys (cars), it brings people out (to watch),” he said.

Ball explained he repairs mufflers, catalytic converters, radiators and transmissions in addition to restoring car and bike frames and bodies.

He also makes decorative iron gates, awnings and other iron goods.

One such project was a wrought iron dog bed for a customer in Rocklin, who needed a fancy place for his Chihuahua to sleep, Ball said. He sold that for around $300.

The shop rate is $75 an hour, but project prices are negotiable, he said.

His girlfriend, Stacey Redenius, helps with the office work and sells collectible toy cars and motorcycle wares in the front showroom.

There are walls of Hot Wheels and Die Cast vehicles for sale priced from $5 up to $100, she said.

So far, customers have come from Orland and the Sacramento area along with some from Los Angeles, the couple said.

Ball’s racing activities, both at the Orland Speedway and at a track in Roseville, have gained the notice of racing enthusiasts from all over the state, he said.

His primary race car is a 1933 Chevrolet five-window coupe that is popular with almost everyone who sees it, Ball added.

He is proud that legendary Orland racer George Vanosek allowed him to use his old racing Number 31 on the white Chevy coupe.

Vanosek used to drive in races at the Horseman’s Track in Willows back in the 1950s – in the early days of local car racing.

Other vehicles in Ball’s collection include a 1949 Chevrolet business coupe that he used to race and show, and a 1927 Dodge five-window coupe – currently a rusted hulk.

The old Dodge was pulled out of a 100-foot canyon, he said.

“It was like finding the Titanic for me,” Ball said.

Ball added he likes resurrecting old cars and dealing in ghost stories about them.

The new shop also has worked on motorized bicycles and scooters – needing muffler or chain work.

One current project is rebuilding a 1949 Panhead motorcycle that had broken many years ago and is now being rebuilt, he said.

Ball said he is certified as a welder having completed bridge projects and a host of other work through the years.

Contact Rick Longley at 934-6800 or

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