Meet The Crew
Scott Bonnell – Owner
Scott’s passion for cars started years ago as he watched his uncle, Rich Bonnell, race open-wheel dirt cars. Scott, after building his collision business, began racing sprint cars at the local dirt tracks. When Scott broke three vertebrae in a racing incident during the summer of 2010, he put his racing career behind him and began focusing on the hot rod portion of his business.
Scott opened Bonnell’s Rod Shop when the demand for quality hot rods outgrew his state of the art collision business. Since opening his collision shop in 1985, Scott has provided his customers with only the very best. Known best for quality and excellent service, Scott knew the best way to continue to provide the services his customers have grown to expect was to separate the Rod Shop from his collision business.
Scott’s vision for the future of the business is to produce quality, one-off hot rods, unique to the Bonnell’s Rod Shop team. He hopes to one day produce a vehicle capable of contending in the ‘Great 8’ at the Detroit Autorama and possibly winning the Ridler Award. Scott hopes to provide local Rodders with high-quality, economical options for all their hot-rodding needs.
Phil Palmer - Shop Manager
Joining the Bonnell’s Team in 2009 Phil brings a blend of talents ranging from metal shaping to custom paint. With a design background and over 20 years of hot rod experience Phil will tailor the repair process to you and your vehicles specific needs.
Adam Nicholson – Production Manager
Production manager, Adam Nicholson, joined the Rod Shop in April of 2012. Growing up he always had a passion for working on cars and is an extremely talented painter. Adam, along with Phil, oversees all aspects of each job going through the shop. He is a class 1 certified inspection mechanic and takes a great deal of pride in his work.
Anne Schwartz – Operations
Anne began her career in December of 2011 at the front desk of Bonnell’s Collision Center in Erie. After one year at the collision center, she was moved to the Hot Rod Shop in order to help us keep up with the growing hot rod portion of the industry. Anne helps with everything from customer service to marketing and parts.
Bob Kraus – Master of All Things Mechanical
Bob has been working for Scott for over 16 years. For many of those years Bob provided the mechanical work needed to complete the numerous collision jobs that the collision shop repaired. With a successful 23 year racing career of his own and countless hot rods under his belt, Bob now handles all aspects of your cars mechanical systems. Bob is also a class 7 certified inspection mechanic, and he specializes in driveline and suspension. Bob knows how to make your car operate correctly and dependably.
Zach Arlen- Body Tech, Polisher, and Fabricator
In his short 3 years at Bonnells, Zach’s love of hot rods and his attention to detail helps make him one of the rising stars in the industry. He is responsible for the fine detail work required to finish prep your vehicle for paint. He is also responsible for body work and all the shiny polished parts of your vehicle.
Brian Palmer- Body Tech, and Upholstery
Brian started at Bonnell’s Rod Shop in June of 2011. He is a recent graduate from the local Vo-Tech school. Brian grew up around/working on cars in the body shop, and he is in training to be one of the Rod Shops premiere auto body technicians. Brain also does upholstery at the rod shop.
Donny Shaner – Mechanic
Donny is another one of our Class 1 Inspection Mechanics. Donnie relies on over 10 years of drag racing and 20 years of experience building classic cars and hot rods to perform the day to day repairs that come into the shop. He is also heavily involved in all aspects of assembly on the cars built here at the shop.
Jared Vogel – Body Tech
Jared has been with Bonnell’s since 2005 working at both the Erie and Fairview Collision Centers. He specializes in body work and collision repairs giving the body even gaps and straight lines. Having over 15 years of professional experience and always been around and working on cars throughout his life he is also skilled in almost any aspect of the build.
Jordan “Casper” Bryant – Finisher / Detailer
Casper has been a part of Bonnell’s Auto for three years. He also worked at the Erie Collision Center and often helped out at the Fairview Collision Center before moving out to the rod shop. Casper is a very hard worker, and he is the man responsible for bringing your vehicle to a beautiful flat mirror-like finish!
Robby Hayden – Painter and Auto Body
Robby graduated from Vo-Tech in 1981 and left Erie to head up multiple paint departments in Florida. He is certified and familiar with numerous paint brands. While in Florida Robby is most proud of painting the Hooter’s Jet Car. The experience and motivation he has makes Robby a very valuable addition to the rod shop team.
Paul Shallenberger – Artist, Polisher, and Body Tech
Paul is the newest addition to the rod shop team. He is a 4 color process printer and sign maker. He spent most of his career in publishing and advertising at the Erie Times News for 12 years. Paul is a life-long car enthusiast, and he is extremely knowledgeable in car history and culture. He enjoys working on miniature car models and restoring vintage toy cars. Paul truly has a passion for his job, and his skill and diverse knowledge makes a great asset to the rod shop.
Ryan Boutwell- Metal Shaper and Electronics Specialist
Ryan started over 5 years ago in the body shop. Over a short amount of time he has developed into a top notch metal worker. He has been trained in metal shaping and forming. Ryan brings an extensive electronics background, due to his 15 years of car audio experience. Ryan brings all the gadgets in your car to life.
Kenny Prather- Retired Fabricator
Kenny retired a couple years ago from Scott’s collision shop. He has an extensive knowledge of building hot rods. Kenny comes in from time to time to show the young guys how it’s done. He’s a valued part of our team. Kenny’s wealth of knowledge helps us ensure that the art of car building lives on.