DeFew's Custom Painting & Body Shop - Benton, KY - 1 of DeFew

History

Remember the scene in the movie American Graffiti, where John Milner is cruising the streets, runs into a car full of girls, and asks if any of them want a ride. Well, truth being stranger than fiction that is exactly how Jim and Pat Defew first met.

           Fast forward to 1968, and we find Jim and Pat Defew seeking out a living by punching the time clock at an aluminum chair factory in their hometown of Benton, Kentucky. When Jim and Pat were first married, they set up house in an old school bus. As funds became available, they moved up to a place that included a burnt house and a small one-car garage. They tore down what was left of the house, and purchased a well-used house trailer. The garage was left standing.

They came into possession of a slightly used motorcycle by scrimping, horse trading, and generally just being in the right place at the right time. Jim decided that what their new motorcycle needed was a custom paint job. There was only one problem; there was no money available for the new custom paint job Jim felt the motorcycle needed.

Jim had grown up just two blocks from the local Auto Body Repair Shop. Jim and the owner of the shop rode motorcycles together, but the owner was not a custom painter. Jim got a quick lesson on paint preparation and application, borrowed an air compressor, a paint gun and some leftover paint and painted his bike over Thanksgiving in his one car garage. It took him four tries, but it finally turned out the way he wanted it.

The shop owner saw the work Jim had done and he wanted Jim to paint his motorcycle. One day they were at a bike shop, with their newly painted bikes, and someone saw the motorcycles and asked, "Who painted that?" A few hours later, Jim and Pat had their first job as custom painters.

Jim and Pat Defew still live on the same piece of property where they painted that first motorcycle. The used trailer is gone, replaced by a modest sized, custom, cedar home. A son, Jeff, was added to the family. Jeff grew up in the shop, first playing, then learning, then working, and now handling every day operations of the Body Repair part of the family business, which has become a full service Custom Painting and Body Repair facility.

The one car garage was first added onto, then replaced with a metal building in the back yard, which in turn was added onto several times. In 2006 the decision was made to move up the road, all of a quarter of a mile, and into an ultra modern, state of the art facility.

Jim, Pat, and Jeff still build and custom paint motorcycles. They also work on Street Rods, Trucks, Race Cars, Golf Carts, and many other items that customers bring in the doors of their shop. Items have included everything from a mailbox to an artificial leg, and everything in between.  'Canvases' have included the dance floor of a nightclub; the interior of a skating rink, airplanes, semi trucks and trailers, and the list goes on to this day. The results upon completion are generally far above and beyond what the owner of the 'canvas' envisioned before becoming acquainted with the talents of Jim, Pat and Jeff Defew.

People still see the Defew's work and ask, "Who painted that?" Only today, those people are just as likely to be reading a Magazine, seeing it at some National event, or driving down the streets of the small town of Benton, Kentucky.

 
 

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