Bringing character to car parts

Pure Nebraska
Published: Jan. 19, 2023 at 10:21 AM CST|Updated: Jan. 19, 2023 at 10:27 AM CST
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SOUTH SIOUX CITY, Neb. (KOLN) - A man in South Sioux City made a career out of being a mechanic, and now he’s taking car parts he worked with for years, and turning them into pieces of art.

We caught up with Larry Doerr, who says he takes motor parts and makes “people” out of them. “I use the pistons, the timing chains, the lifters, the valve springs, and all kinds of parts,” Doerr said. “It all started with spark plugs. I made some airplanes out of them, and then it kept going from there.”

“Some of the highlights include an armored guy with a shield and spear,” Doerr said. “I do robot pistons with big drill bits, some are smoking a spark plug cigar, and some are holding an American flag, they are patriotic ‘people’ with hands over their hearts. I even made a handy man with three arms and a different tool in each arm. I just see things. I’ll pick up a part, and make something out of it. For example, I made a speed boat out of a utility knife. Sometimes you just see it and you know. If I find a cool part, I’ll lay it off to the side where I can look at it, and eventually an idea for it will come to mind.”

Among the piston art pieces, you’ll find some restored old-time gas pumps. Doerr has been known to restore these over the years. And, he’s proud of a couple of cars he’s restored.

“I’ve got a 1966 Dodge Charger and a 1967 Plymouth Satellite convertible that we’ve driven all over the country. It’s just fun getting out and running around with other car enthusiasts.”