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Greg's Speed Shop


Words: John Gunnell

Last September 7 we were driving down State Highway 10 just south of Waupaca, Wis., when we saw a lot full of old cars parked at a business on the service road, across the highway from the local airport. There were hot rods, ‘50s finmobiles and big tuna boats from the ‘60s. We didn’t need an invitation to hop off the highway, drive down the service road and stop in at Greg’s Speed Shop.

At that time the business consisted of a single, worn-looking steel building. Some workmen were putting a brick façade on that structure. Inside, it was kind of dark with just a sprinkling of automobilia decorating one room, plus a larger open space that was pretty much empty. The owner — a 46-year-old man named Greg Stelse — said he was building a hot rod shop that would open in the spring.

Last week — only eight months after that first visit - we returned to the same location to find a thriving new hot rod shop that had gone through a total transition. The original building looked bright and colorful, with a handsome façade made of century-old Chicago bricks decorated with genuine oil company signs from the past. There was also a new steel shop building with large oil company signs mounted on poles. Greg’s Speed Shop was open for business and looked busy.

Inside the first building (the one we had visited in September) were three hot rods, restored gas pumps, wall signs, a café, a vintage clothing shop and lots more cool stuff, including a mock Texaco gas station. Everywhere we looked, there were collectibles and nostalgia items. The new shop was filled with tools and equipment, plus 4 or 5 vehicles that were being restored or reconditioned.

Greg Stelse and his wife Leah were there, as they are almost every day from nine to five.

“We don’t view this as a job, and love coming to work here every day,” said Greg. “We are open seven days a week, except five dates when we’ll actually be drag racing with our ’57 Pontiac. Our goal is to bring you the lifestyle of a day gone by, with classic rock music, old cars and good memories.”

According to Greg, the Speed Shop specializes in custom fabrication work, custom frames, installing air bag rear suspensions, rebuilding engines, full restorations, suspension work, transmission rebuilding, electrical wiring and mechanicals. He said that the main building could also be rented for events.

Greg will also be selling affordable collector cars. “It’s not so much about making money selling cars as it is about putting a car into a customer’s hands with enough left to spend a little more money on it each year, then pass it on to kids or grandkids who grew up riding in the back seat of that car,” he explained.

Greg’s Speed Shop has no website set up yet, but you can call 1-920-867-2939 or send an email to [email protected] to get additional information.