Chris Kiernan –– Gunning It at Gunslingers

  • story by David M. Brown
  • posted on 12/2013
  • posted in: Great Garages

Scottsdale’s Chris Kiernan enjoys speed on two wheels or four. Either way, he likes to go, and he likes to go fast.

The owner of Gunslingers Offroad & Customs in north Phoenix has loved cars since he was a boy in native Kansas City, Mo., where he dreamed of owning a Lamborghini. “Unfortunately, a person of my size (I’m 6’4”) can’t fit in one of those cars,” he says, smiling. “That dream was shattered much like the ugly step sisters in ‘Cinderella’ trying to fit in the glass slipper.” 

His first shimmering steel slipper was dad’s 1988 Lincoln Town car; the keys were available when he wasn’t using it. Kiernan’s first owned car was a red 1988 Chevy S-10 pick-up –– a repo that pop asked one of Chris’ friends to find as a Christmas gift for his son.

“The paint was so oxidized I had to use rubbing compound, polishing compound and coat after coat of wax to make it look bright red again,” Kiernan recalls. “It was a proud day when I drove my new truck to school after Christmas break that year.” 

Before he moved to the Valley three years ago from Colorado Springs, Colo., he was a resident athlete at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado for 12 years and then worked in the oil fields. Today, he also owns Impact Global Resources, the Scottsdale-based oil and natural gas exploration company.

“The soft real estate market brought me here to buy a vacation home, and, after a few months, I relocated to become a Scottsdale resident,” he says. Here he spends time with his son, Luke, plays golf, shoots, hunts and rides his motorcycles. 

Kiernan maintains some of his 10 cars, trucks and motorcycles at his Pinnacle Peak-area home, which has a five-car garage for them, although the lifted trucks just won’t fit inside. Others, including his boat and trailers, are kept at the 10,000-square-foot Gunslingers Offroad and Customs, which includes three lifts and the finest equipment for his customers’ automotive needs.

Designed for offroad and custom car enthusiasts, the shop sells premium aftermarket parts, such as lift kits, leveling and lowering kits, shocks, shock absorbers, suspensions and suspension components, solid axle conversions, custom exhausts and bumpers and wheels and tires. Gunslingers also provides alignments, installation and fabrication, and customers’ vehicles can be stored safely while being repaired or customized. 

Let’s look inside at both locations, hosted by him.

•2013 Dodge Ram Mega Cab and 2011 Ford F-250 –– “I have always loved lifted trucks, so the Ford and Dodge trucks are tricked out as much as possible. The best toy I have had in my life is the mega-blaster train horn on the Dodge Ram. It is so loud it literally scares people.

“This truck also has huge 22-inch wheels, Fab Fours Bumpers bumpers and grill. From the folding steps to the 8-inch Fabtech custom lift, this truck is a head turner. It’s a large statement when rolling down the street.”

The Ford F-250 also rolls on 20-inch rims, 37-inch tires and uses all Pro Comp lift parts and a pre-runner Iron Bull bumper.” For other moods and venues, he also owns a 2000 Jeep Wrangler Custom: “It’s a rock crawler/street 4 x 4 with all the best parts for four wheeling.”

•1967 Resto-Mod Chevy Camaro –– “This is a 383-cubic-inch stroker motor with 475 horsepower and has less than 500 miles on the car since full body-off restoration. I had not even thought about buying a Camaro or even looked at one before this car rolled on the auction block.

“I purchased the car at Barrett-Jackson in 2013, and it was one of the best car moments of my life. This was a total impulse buy, but I love this car. And, the pulse and the action of the stage at the Scottsdale Barrrett-Jackson cannot be replicated anywhere.” 

•1968 Resto-Mod Chevy Chevelle –– “Thirty minutes later, I was overwhelmed by the car I actually wanted: The Chevelle came on the auction block. I had looked at the Chevelle two dozen times during Barrett-Jackson, but each time I went to look, there were 10 to 20 people also looking, so I wasn’t sure I was going to get it.

“But I was not going to lose it either. And I didn’t. It is by far my favorite, with 650 horses, a four-speed tranny and an exhaust note that screams. It turns heads more than any exotic car on the road.”

•1967 Cadillac Coupe Deville –– “This is also a resto mod, with Full Static lowering kit, 20-inch rims, all new interior and Bluetooth stereo and A/C! This car was built by a friend of mine, Mike Taylor, and isn’t the most expensive but is a looker and a head turner and just a joy to cruise slow. Turning this car around is tough, too, though most people now have no idea how long these Caddys are. Parking takes tons of prior planning.”

•Mercedes S550 –– “That’s my daily driver, and with custom Asanti rims, it looks great. It’s just a great sedan to go fast or take my son to school. An awesome car.” 

•2012 and 2013 Custom Harleys –– “Both of my Harleys are from Scottsdale Harley, one with a custom paint job from Spooky Fast Customs, also in Scottsdale. I currently have a custom chopper being built, but it will be a few months before it’s finished. Both are modified to fit my height; the standard bike just doesn’t work and isn’t near cool enough.” 

“The 16-inch bars on the 2012 Road Glide are custom built from a company in Ohio, and they are the only ones I have ever seen like them, with the double lightning bolts going to sharp point above the windshield. I have the footboards and all controls stretched as far as possible with OEM Harley parts.

“The 2013 Street Glide was another impulse buy. I had a 2012 CVO Softail, and when I saw the Spooky Fast Paint job, it blew me away. I had to have it. It now has 12-inch Yaffe bars to make it fit better. It’s all dyno-tuned and runs awesome.” 

•2014 Corvette Stingray –– “My favorite cars are Corvettes. After coming to Phoenix for a shooting tournament with my father many years ago. He had heart issues while we were here, so he decided to buy his dream car when we returned home, a 1992 Corvette. I loved that car as much as he did.

“When he passed away, my family was forced to sell the car, and on that day I promised myself I would always have a Corvette as long as I could afford it. The new Corvette Stingray is by far the best of the four different ‘Vettes I have had, including a 2003 ZO6, 2006, 2009 ZO6 and now a 2014 Stingray.

“I’m sure there will be more to come as they are always getting faster and faster. This car flies and gets 30 mpg. With the acceleration and the creature comforts of A/C and 10-speaker Bose stereo, driving this car is a joy. Simply the best Corvette ever made.”

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