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Preserving hot rod culture at the Speed Shop in Kenosha

“I look at it as just being a steward of the hobby. It’s helping preserve and keeping these cars alive.”
Posted at 10:45 AM, Jan 19, 2023

KENOSHA, Wis. — Hot rods, hot rods, and more hot rods. A Kenosha man's collection of vintage cars is enough to make even the none 'car people' jealous.

Welcome to the Speed Shop. It's a garage in Kenosha dedicated to preserving hot rod culture. The Speed Shop opened in April.

“Something about it. You walk to a car and you just get that gut feeling that you really like it, and you can’t understand, you know, why," Jerry Markiewicz, a car enthusiast and owner of the Speed Shop, said.

Jerry Markiewicz
Jerry Markiewicz is the owner of the Speed Shop in Kenosha.

Basically, everything inside the Speed Shop Markiewicz bought himself or got from his wife's antique shop, the Flat Iron Vintage in Kenosha.

There are seven different classic cars inside the shop with more inside his vintage car workshop. There are also tons of old car ads, Elvis on vinyl, neon signs, vintage hood ornaments, movie posters, and an old-fashioned diner display with a light-up menu, table, and booth seating.

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For Markiewicz, it was all about giving others the opportunity to step into a time machine and experience 1950s car culture.

“I look at it as just being a steward of the hobby. It’s helping preserve and keeping these cars alive.”

Speed Shop
Here is a 1930's Ford pickup truck, a deconstructed hotrod, and vintage memorabilia.

Markiewicz already hosts coffee get-togethers for his club the Vagabond Car Club. He also wants others to enjoy it but in a supervised way. Jerry has spent many hours fixing these cars and collecting all the items inside. He doesn't want to treat it like a free-roaming museum, but he does believe people should be able to see what's inside. You can reach out to him or the Vagabond car club on Facebook for tours.

“Cause I wanted to make a fun atmosphere for the car community, friends of mine, hot rodders. In the wintertime in Wisconsin, there’s nothing to do," he said.

The Vagabond Car Club also helps host the Symco Hotrod and Custom Weekend in Symco, Wisconsin. Thousands of people come out to celebrate vintage cars for three days. There are multiple raffles with the proceeds going to veterans organizations.

Speed Shop
One of the many vintage cars inside the Speed Shop.

There is just something mesmerizing about these cars - maybe it’s the paint jobs or the unique grills, or the white wall tires.

“If I’m driving down the road, and I have a two-year-old I drive by and they give me a thumbs up or a three-year-old, what makes them do it? You know, it makes people happy. It puts a smile on their face. Like this building is going to be the same thing. It’s going to put a smile on people's faces," Markiewicz said.

It makes you think - what cars today will one day be looked at like classics the way these are?

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