Eric Bardekoff – 1409 customs – A young mans dream, becomes his passion
Eric Bardekoff, a 19 year old with skills beyond his years has always been around cars. Spending as many hours as he could with his dad, Eric learned from, and honed his craft helping his dad with everything from building his dad’s race car engines to welding brackets. Eric was never much into the party scene like the average teenager, he had more fun hanging out with his dad and learning as much as he could about race cars.
Eric has been racing since he was 8 years old. He got his first job working for Jay Mchugh, a Top Sportsman driver in Commack, LI. Jay Mchugh taught Eric the basics on auto body work. Eric also attended a automotive tech school while he was working with Jay developing the skills that would bring him where he is today
Eric’s inspiration to work on cars goes as long back as he can remember. His days would be going to tech school, then go to the shop and work on the cars Eric tells us. Even better he says, “I learn about cars in school and than take that knowledge and apply it to what ever I was working on.”
Eric is always trying to improve his work and perfect it. So when he got his first street car, a 68 Barracuda, he striped it and then started welding. He decided he wanted to do a full chrome moly cage, so he bought his first tig welder. There was a learning curve, but after a lot of trial and error and going through two cages that he had to cut out, he finally got the look and results he was after. When talking to his dad, Jeff Bardekoff about his son, Jeff tells us Eric is a perfectionist, and will not settle for anything less. Fortunately and unfortunately, right when Eric started perfecting his craft, work from clients started to come in, his project was pushed to the side, Eric’s career begins.
Eric was always try to keep busy, like welding a formula drift roll cage in a fox body mustang or painting a front end on a everyday street car. Now that he was getting more work, Eric decided to start his business, 1409 customs. This year he finished restoring a few cars, Doc Horn’s 67 Plymouth Satellite and Fred Palumbo’s 64 dodge 330. Eric’s plans are to keep it small, and pay attention to the small details, he will not let a car leave the shop if its not right. Eric’s biggest concern is taking on too many jobs at once. “When most people get their car painted it just sits in the shop for a couple of years. I completed a full restoration on Palumbo’s 64 dodge in 5 months, paint, cage, interior, everything.” Eric tells us they have a nice operation going now. Its a one stop shop with Bill Marshall building engines in house, Eric and his good friend George Schwertl do the body work and paint, Eric does all the fabrication, and his dad does the interior work.
Eric assures us he will always be racing, “Their is no question about it”, I will be racing until I’m dead”. It’s in his blood and he is addicted. His schedule is racer friendly, his passion is obvious. This young man from long Island New York seems to know what he wants and were he is going. At 19 years old you can only be impressed with Eric’s work ethic and drive. Having the skills for your business to succeed is a must, but having the passion and drive is what makes it a success.
Eric Bardekoff – 1409 customs (516) 780-5039