5 Minutes With Boris Maryanovsky of Street Machinery
Boris Maryanovsky might not be a YouTube star or TikTok phenomenon, but he can definitely be considered an influencer in the hot rod and custom world. His Cleveland, Ohio-based Street Machinery shop has been cranking out cool rides for two decades, and while his team has built its share of finely finished street machines and hot rods, many people know them for their perfectly stanced survivor-style ’50s and ’60s cruisers and patina rods and trucks.
Street Machinery also buys and sells vintage cars and trucks – both turnkey cruisers and project vehicles. The shop always seems to have a strong inventory and many vehicles get mechanical and cosmetic updates before being sold – including Boris’s signature “stop, drop, and roll” treatment consisting of air springs, disc brakes, and new wheels. It’s led to a big social media following, including a very active buy-and-sell page on Facebook.
We caught up with Boris recently to talk about what makes a cool survivor rod, the allure of patina, and the keys to making old car deals.
Goodguys Gazette: How did Street Machinery get started?
Boris Maryanovsky: I started out doing general repair. I met Bret [Voelkel] from Air Ride on a Power Tour back in the ’90s and bagged my truck. I had a few other people asking me to do air ride suspension on their vehicles. That was one of the stepping stones to get away from working on regular cars. It got to the point where the hot rods were overtaking daily drivers.
GG: You were an early proponent of survivors and builds with patina. What led you to embrace those types of cars?
Maryanovsky: In the late-’90s at the Street Rod Nationals, it was pouring down rain when this guy pulls up in this ’48 woodie. It had patina’d fenders and rotten wood and a thumpin’ small block. Everybody’s rushing to cover their cars and get them inside trailers and this guy just pulls up and I go, ‘how cool is that? Everybody is absolutely sweatin’ about getting their cars wet, and this guy is embracing it. Two or three years later I went in search of a patina car and did a ground-up build on it with a big block and the whole nine yards. I took it to a Goodguys event and people were just going nuts.
I certainly won’t take credit for having the first patina car. I think we may have taken it to the level it is now, with the frame-off chassis and detailed engine compartments. I was doing that 20 years ago.
GG: Why do you think survivor builds continue to be so popular?
Maryanovsky: Because of the character. Everybody loves vintage stuff. When the finish is distressed, no two are ever the same. People appreciate these cars more when they’re not worrying about nicks and scratches, bugs, and everything else you get from driving.
GG: What original elements do you strive to retain on your builds?
Maryanovsky: I’m a big fan of stock interiors. Some of these ’50s and ’60s cars had the most killer original upholstery. No matter what you come up with, you can’t beat the look of the stock stuff, especially when you get into the Buicks, Cadillacs, Oldsmobiles in ’57, ’58, ’59. It’s just unbelievable the styling that went into all the little trinkets.
GG: What’s the most challenging part of updating a patina vehicle?
Maryanovsky: We’re lucky. A friend of mine locally is an absolute artist. Being a bodyman and painter for 30 years, he’s taken off every kind of rust or distressed finish to put on shiny paint, so he knows exactly how to put it back on. Though I like distressed finish, I don’t like rust. Rust to me is a hole in the metal. We do repair that. For the most part we even restore the trim and bumpers and chrome.
GG: You have a knack for finding great barn finds and older restos. What secrets can you share for finding new projects?
Maryanovsky: There’s no secret. It’s 30 years of networking. That’s really it. I’m not a BSer. I make [stuff] happen quick. I no longer have time to actually go out and look for anything; it’s mostly people calling me and telling me about it. Other than that, I find my cars at events and have the same opportunity as anybody else.
GG: How many cars did you buy at the Summit Racing Nationals in Columbus this year?
GG: Do you have any ‘keeper’ cars you won’t sell?
Maryanovsky: In the last two years I’ve assembled a really badass car collection. I’ve got four 409 bubble tops. I bought my high school car back that I sold in 1993 – a 1979 Trans Am, 400 four-speed. I sold it in 1993 with 33,000 miles and I bought it back in 2020 with 34,000 miles on it. I’ve also always wanted a Brewster Green ’73 Trans Am, and I finally found a survivor.
GG: What’s mistakes do you see people make when trying to sell vintage vehicles?
Maryanovsky: Guys asking the moon, when they don’t really want the moon. They expect people to chop them in half, and that’s just not how it works. In the real world, most people don’t come down more than a couple thousand dollars.
GG: Based on what you hear from customers, what trends do you see coming in hot rodding?
Maryanovsky: Old trucks. If I had ten ’68 short bed pickups today, that were solid with patina, with air conditioning and overdrive transmission and lowered, I could sell them by the weekend. It doesn’t matter if it has a lot of patina or a little patina, as long as it’s something that they don’t have to worry about getting damaged or getting caught in the rain.
GG: What’s your current driver?
Maryanovsky: I have a worn-out, 250,000-mile, ’93 Indy OBS truck that’s hammered down on Corvette wheels. It’s got cold air, I have no money in it, it’s killer looking, it runs and drives awesome.
Photos courtesy Boris Maryanovsky / Street Machinery