By MIKE CORN

mcorn@dailynews.net

WaKEENEY -- Living on the outskirts of WaKeeney, Alan W. Owens is loathe to tinker around his shop.

No, he avidly spends his time there, constantly building something. Most of it from castoff items he's been given.

The fruits of his labor -- pink and purple rat rods of all things -- are on display in an open lot just west of his house.

And they're both for sale.

One is a 1949 Chevrolet pickup while the other is a 1956 vehicle that's now a wrecker.

"I built it all," Owens said.

And he means it.

He'll start from scratch and simply let his imagination run wild.

That's what he's undertaking right now.

Sitting on a wheeled frame, so he can move it around, is the body of a long unused vehicle.

"It's a '26 to '31," he said of the age, "what they called a Model A Ford."

He's just getting started, but already has chopped the top, so to speak, lowering the height of the roof, and welding it back together.

A rat rod, you see, reflects the vision of its creator.

"You take an old cab and build whatever you want out of it," he said.

He's more than simply building rat rods, however.

Owens has made lamps out of old wagon wheel hubs. He even draws or paints.

He also has a tire machine in his shop, making repairs for oil field workers.

"A lot of folks can't afford $18," he said of what some people are being charged to repair a tire. Owens charges $8.

That's his job, working away in his shop. He used to roughneck in the oil field, but was hurt and couldn't do it anymore.

The rat rods to the west of his house?

They're both for sale, at $8,000 each.

"That's cheap," Owens said. "That's pretty borderline on my labor and stuff."

The 1949 pickup, he said, he owned for about 20 years.

"I didn't know what to do with it," Owens said.

Converting it into a rat rod probably took about five years.

"The wrecker," he said, "I had it done in a year."

Most of what he builds springs from what he's been given, such as the wrecker body.

"My biggest expense is the wiring harness," Owens said.

He's not yet sure what form his current project will take.

"As I go," he said of deciding what to do. "That's what makes it fun."