Mr. Jerry Sherrod, the face of Sherrod Vans at the 2016 Philadelphia Auto Show, relied on self-learning to build a car company that now employs many.
At the 2016 Philadelphia Auto Show, where outdoor and indoor driving ranges, as well as racing simulators, will be showcased along with 700 vehicles from 40 different manufacturers, they’ll be at least one product specialist in attendance who hasn’t studied the brochure of the vehicle(s) he or she is expected to pitch, but has, instead, built the automobile on display and can readily explain everything about it, including the custom moldings in the interior. The man who I’m referring to is Mr. Jerry Sherrod, an older man with grayish-white hair who wears glasses and speaks with an unmistakable southern accent.
Before becoming the co-founder of Sherrod Vans, a more than 30-year-old designer and manufacturer of luxurious conversion vans, off-road trucks and performance cars, Mr. Sherrod, who stands above six feet, was a baseball and football coach. His older brother, Jack Sherrod, had the passion for cars and was the catalyst behind the family dynasty that started in August of 1979 and now employs 50 people in a Georgia production plant.
And the younger Mr. Sherrod – whom I interviewed for nearly five minutes this afternoon while sitting in the trunk of the navy blue seven-passenger van that’s parked adjacent to the Subaru exhibit – had a passion, not for cars, but for his brother, so he, already desiring a change in career, jumped on the proverbial bandwagon.
The luxury van displayed at the auto show here, which is, according to Mr. Sherrod, most appealing to soccer moms and businessmen, is the “bread and butter” for the company and it’s the vehicle the former coach is most proud of. As Mr. Sherrod and I talked, his associate was inside the $75,000.00 vehicle aiming to sync his smartphone, which had movies loaded on it, to the television that hung from the vehicle’s ceiling. Mr. Sherrod, during our conversation, grabbed a portfolio that sat beside him and showed me all the different custom jobs his company has done on Ford Mustangs and pick-up trucks.
The designs, like the van showcased on the auto show’s floor, were marvelous. But cooler than the cars was Mr. Sherrod’s story: he entered the business with zero experience, taught himself car manufacturing and, along with his brother, attracted the biggest automobile companies in the world as clients, most notably Ford.
The vans, in particular, come to Mr. Sherrod’s company has hollow shells and within two weeks, they’re a lavish product – some with hardwood floors, tablets in the head-rest and full-scale bars to entertain passengers – ready to market.
“Blood, sweat and tears,” go into building a Sherrod Van, and no matter how many different types of cars the Sherrod brothers work on in the future, the beautiful behemoths – many whose third-row seating serve also as a bed – will always be the flagship.
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