Watch CBS News

Minnesota company transforms forgotten vehicles into businesses on wheels

Minnesota man turns ordinary cars into custom food trucks
Minnesota man turns ordinary cars into custom food trucks 03:09

NEW LONDON, Minn. — As a kid, Derek Otteson loved hot rods and race cars, and he always thought his career would involve working with his hands. He never imagined that food trucks would be his focus.

For five years now, Otteson and his Colfax Custom crew have been turning forgotten vehicles into businesses on wheels.

Their finished products can be found across the U.S. That includes a really cool custom job near Washington D.C.

"We did a project for Capitol One where we put a double-decker bus, an Airstream trailer and a city bus on top of their roof, 12 stories up,"  Otteson said.

On the other side of the country, you'll find their trucks parked at a casino in Reno, Nevada.

FINDING MINNESOTA: Becker County Museum contains several odd artifacts

As the food truck craze shifted into high gear, Otteson began hunting for has-beens on eBay and Facebook Marketplace.

"If you search long enough you can find just about anything, anywhere," Otteson said.

They found a 1926 Divco van from California online. While most people look at it and see one big eyesore, these guys see big-time potential.

A lot of times they find something in one state, but the parts they need are in another state.

For Jake Wangen , one man's trash is truly another man's treasure

When a project is almost done, a vision comes into focus.  

Most of the people who buy these food trucks are taking a stab at something new. It's their American Dream on w heels and Otteson hopes the road to success starts here.

"A brick and mortar restaurant or even a coffee shop is a huge, huge investment for most people, they can get their feet wet with something like this," he said. "I wake up every morning and I get to do exactly what I've been dreaming of doing my whole life."

FINDING MINNESOTA: Montevideo company makes custom-made fish houses fit for royalty

Colfax Custom makes anywhere from six to eight food trucks per year.

Their work can also be found on Twin Cities streets.

Not many companies do what they do, but they do work with another food truck designer, Chameleon Concessions, based in Minneapolis.  

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.