Local handyman turns classic cars into works of functional art

The buzz at the newly remodeled Buzz Inn Steakhouse in South Everett isn’t just about the pot shop opening next door.

Though, for sure, that is pretty funny.

What’s turning heads is the front end of a 1959 Edsel hanging in the entry.

What’s up with that?

It’s the handiwork of Josh Seaburg, a self-employed handyman who repurposes old cars to make art.

“It’s a hobby gone wild,” said Seaburg, 38. “The junkyard is my candy store.”

Most of his car art doesn’t end up on the wall. It ends up on the ground as benches for patios, decks and man caves.

“It’s functional art,” said Seaburg, a Marysville native who recently moved to Stanwood with his wife, Anastasia, their toddler, Laraine, and about 10 benches.

The hobby started two years ago when he made a few benches out of truck tailgates for family members. Other people wanted them, so he expanded to front and back ends with working lights. Sometimes he uses golf clubs instead of car parts.

“I’ve always been that MacGyver guy,” he said. “I fix stuff. I went to the Art Institute. I never did graduate. I liked the idea of think and draw and build it.”

He’s been turning a wrench since before he could count, thanks to a grandfather and uncles who were mechanics.

“I was always out there watching them, handing them tools and digging though dirty bolts,” he said. “Even as a kid I thought I’d build a bed out of a car. I was always hounding my dad. Of course, he’d never let me do it.”

Neither will his wife, but he’ll gladly make a car bed for you.

Seriously. You name it, he’ll make it.

A Jeep bench has all-terrain tires as arms for tailgaters on the go. A 1955 Ford pickup was tricked out as a bar in Seahawks colors. He’s looking for a Volkswagen bug to turn into a barbecue.

Seaburg sells the benches through Facebook, word of mouth and at car shows. He’s donated them to fundraisers for cancer and cystic fibrosis research.

Benches range from $300 to $1,000 — character intact.

“I think the dents are part of the appeal,” Seaburg said. “I’m not out there making $10,000 benches.”

He keeps the cost down by hunting for bargains. He rescued a ‘57 Nash Ambassador from the scrap yard. “It was about to go squish. I got the grill and the whole back end.”

He scored the ‘59 Edsel on Craigslist. It was in the seller’s backyard for 20 years and too far gone to restore, so Seaburg cut it in half and gave it a new life.

Want the back end? It’s available with a cushioned seat for luxury lounging.

At the Buzz Inn, the art deco Edsel front is getting lots of admiring glances.

“It’s gorgeous,” said Tony Buckingham, Buzz Inn corporate kitchen manager. “The old guys like to talk about, ‘I remember them when …’ ”

Buzz Inn customer Pam O’Hara couldn’t contain her enthusiasm.

“Isn’t that neat!” she remarked. “It caught my eye. I like the lights.”

Car buff Steve Meeker gave it the nod. “Not bad for a car considered a flop when it came out,” he said.

Find Seaburg on Facebook at J.S. Affordable Customs.

Send What’s Up With That? suggestions to Andrea Brown at 425-339-3443; abrown@heraldnet.com. Twitter: @reporterbrown. Read more What’s Up With That? at www.heraldnet.com/whatsup.

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