Who is
Ace Customs

Ace Customs is a group of companies that provide automotive and marine restoration, modification fabrication and customisation services to the South African market.
The Ace Customs group is led by four passionate petrol-heads:
Wayne
Undercover Paper Pusher
Exner

Serial entrepreneur and fanatical perfectionist

Shawn
Koosie
Welgemoed

Customisation and car audio guru

Grant
The Oracle
van Schalkwyk

Champion racing driver and fabricator extraordinaire

Vernon
Burnie
Bresler

Mechanical magician and all round Mr. Fix-it

Ace Customs was formed in 2013 by two of the four petrol-heads – Exner and Welgemoed

The Exner name was, in earlier generations, very well known in the vintage car restoration world. Welgemoed is also well known in the audio and customisation industry having worked at several large shops.

In 2015, the motorsport division of Ace Customs, Ace Customs Racing was founded – again by Exner but this time in partnership with Grant van Schalkwyk, the multiple championship winning racing driver and expert race engineer.

The van Schalkwyk name is synonymous with motorsport in South Africa with Grant himself being known in the USA, having spent time there as a NASCAR driver and race engineer.

And then, in 2021 Ace Customs Auto was born. Having needed a master mind to head up the mechanical side of the group, Exner was quick to identify a more than ideal candidate in Vernon Bresler when he came knocking at the shop door.

Bresler has been tinkering and modifying anything and everything on both two and four wheels since an early age. Bike racing, drag racing and international vehicle maintenance experience has resulted in a broad set of skills, ideal for the Ace Customs environment.

Together, the four of them share a passion for all things… petrol-powered… or perhaps loud and fast…or perhaps anything with an engine, or more likely all of the above! What is clear is that this collective passion and a desire to make the Ace Customs group stand out from the crowd is what drives them.

What do
we do?

The Ace Customs Group is a “one stop” custom car shop which differentiates itself by offering a range of specialist automotive services, not commonly found in South Africa.

Ace Customs is the banner company under which the group operates and is a full-service automotive and marine customisation company.

Ace Customs specialist services include:

  • Mobile audio-visual systems (including marine, motorcycle and ATV)
  • Custom van conversions
  • Interior customisation
  • Wood, fiberglass and plastic fabrication
  • Custom dashboards, centre consoles and door panels
  • Lighting
  • Upholstery
  • Electrical system upgrades
  • Gauge pods and mountings
  • Body kits and accessories (sourcing and fitment)
  • Wiring

Ace Customs Racing specialises in advanced mechanical, fabrication and motorsport related services, including:

  • From scratch race car design and manufacturing.
  • Complete race car builds (based on road car body \ chassis).
  • Race car preparation.
  • Race engine building.
  • Advanced metal fabrication (roll cages, suspension components etc.)

Ace Customs Auto is the group’s mechanical restoration, performance and maintenance division.

Services include:

  • Exotic, performance and custom vehicle maintenance and repairs
  • Mechanical restoration
  • Engine swaps
  • Performance modifications
  • Aftermarket parts sales (performance and specialised parts and spares)

Where did it
all start?

Exner was born into a car family and from the early days was involved in vintage and veteran cars with his father.

With over twenty vintage and classic cars in the Exner stable in the late 80’s, his father unfortunately passed away and it was at that moment that Exner decided he would need to follow in his father’s car collecting and restoring footsteps. His first car, the legendary Opel Superboss was soon joined by another Superboss, this time with a turbo charger and shortly after that another Opel and so his own collection started, with bikes soon joining the mix. Two of his first three cars are still owned today, one (the Superboss) is being restored, with the other Opel becoming a Time Attack race car.

Welgemoed’s passion for audio started at a young age, with him tinkering in his garage building his own car audio systems.

His first car, a beach buggy (with sound of course), was followed by a Jetta 2 with which he won 3rd place, 2nd place and then 1st place (in that order) in his first three sound competitions. By that time the bug had definitely bitten and car audio became a full-time hobby and was soon to become a full-time job. After climbing the ranks and eventually heading up the car audio division at a large retailer for several years, Welgemoed stumbled across an opportunity at one of South Africa’s best known tuning shops and was appointed as a sales rep. It was here that his fanaticism for the Rockford Fosgate brand began, completing a number of impressive installs based on the popular brand. From there he moved to a large car audio shop in Boksburg where he ran the workshop for a number of years, all the while building his knowledge, reputation as well as his own car’s audio system.

Van Schalkwyk started his racing career at 16, in 100cc karts and then moving on to 125cc.

He won numerous titles in both classes and then moved on to single seaters. In 1989 he won the Castrol 6 Hour Endurance race in Class D for Ford Motorsport. In 1990 he won the prestigious Autoquip ‘Driver of the Year’ Award as well as the Stannic ‘Most Improved Driver’. Between 1991 and 2001 and he won numerous titles (too many to list), in several different racing formats. In 2002 he set the South African land speed record at a startling 388.538km/h, a record which still stands today (for a non-jet powered car). From 2003 until 2007 he competed in the local Wesbank V8 series, winning another title in 2005. 2008 was van Schalkwyk’s last pro-racing year where he competed in six NASCAR ‘Late Model’ races. After retiring from racing, he managed the Nissan Dealer team (350z’s and a supercharged 370z) as well as the Williams Hunt team (Chevrolet Cruze). In 2013, van Schalkwyk retired from motorsport. Well… retired until Exner got him fired up about a new venture that is.

Bresler started at the tender age of 6 with quad bikes and soon progressed to dirt bikes and then street and track bikes.

By 13 he was already tinkering with cars and performance enhancements. By 16 he had built his first car, which he was known for tearing up the streets in. After high school, the car interest soon became a business when he started MAS (Masters at Speed) Import, importing high quality aftermarket performance parts. MAS import quickly became a successful little business but when the opportunity to work in New Zealand presented itself in 2015, off he went. During his 4-year stay “down under” he worked in fleet management and owned and modified several performance vehicles including a Polo GTI and a Mk4 R32 Golf. Upon his return to SA in 2019, he started a mobile mechanical service business, which in turn lead to him visiting Ace Customs. And the rest, as they say, is history.

Ace
Customs
Origin

Exner and Welgemoed met after Exner had spent many months trying to find the right shop to install an audio system into his daily driver, a modified Opel Kadett, his fanaticism for perfection dictating that not just any shop and any installer would do.

After visiting a well-known shop in Boksburg, where Welgemoed was working, Exner decided that Welgemoed was the man for the job. After that install, there was another and another, all into Exner and his wife’s growing car collection with Welgemoed being the only one entrusted with working on their pride and joy.

When Welgemoed announced, early in 2010 that he would be opening his own shop, Exner’s interest was immediately peaked with owning a custom shop being a long-time dream. But as Welgemoed already had a partner, Exner did not pursue the opportunity. The two did however stay in touch and after the initial partnership did not pan out, Welgemoed “went solo”. It was at this moment when Exner’s entrepreneurial spirit kicked in and the arm twisting began. After many months of discussing and much convincing, the then very sceptical Welgemoed finally conceded and Ace Customs was born!
In 2013, Exner was looking for someone to assist him with turning his Opel Kadett into a Time Attack car. After going through several suppliers, none of whom managed to get the car to where Exner wanted it, he was introduced to van Schalkwyk by a mutual friend in the motorsport industry. There was an instant synergy between the two of them with a master plan for the car being defined. The project was then unfortunately put on hold due to Exner having other (capital spend) commitments and the two of them lost touch for just more than a year. Then, when it was decided to reignite the Time Attack Project, Exner’s wife’s 350z track car as well as the long awaited (by van Schalkwyk) Ferrari 312PB replica, Ace Customs Racing was born!
In 2021, who knew that a knock on the shop door would result in a new Ace Customs division. Bresler, who was at that stage operating a mobile mechanical repair business had seen the Ace Customs Edenvale shop signage, stopped by to see if perhaps the business was in need of his services. As luck would have it, some mechanical jobs were awaiting completion and Welgemoed got him going sorting those out. Exner, who had for some time been looking to expand the Ace Customs mechanical capability immediately Bresler’s skill set and attention to detail. Exner could sense that Bresler was apprehensive when he first approached him about joining the Ace Customs team, but once he started to understand Exner’s passion and vision for the Ace Customs group he knew he would be joining a close-knit team dead set on building something special. He now heads up the Ace Customs Auto division.

Why the 'Ace'

in ace customs?

The Ace itself has many meanings, but the key ones relating to the decision to use ‘Ace’ were “referring to holding the trump card of all” and “not caring for anything lesser”. The Ace is also traditionally the highest and most valued card in the deck of playing cards and is most often associated with ‘high-quality and \ or excellence’.

The Team

Nothing would be possible without the team of legends that work behind the scenes building, restoring, fabricating and creating anything and everything required to make the builds that Exner, Welgemoed, Van Schalkwyk and Bresler come up with a reality!
The small team, big on skills and heart comprises of:

Eva Scooby Girl
Mattinson

Ace Customs fabricator, event coordinator and content creator.

Mike 2J Duke

Ace Customs mechanical tech, parts restorer and take things apart, fix them and reassemble them guy.

Quinton Bush Mechanic Badenhorst

Ace Customs fabricator, parts finder and general get stuff done guy and the shop joker.

Tremayne Mad Skills May

Ace Customs fabricator, apparel designer and all-round go to guy.

Nelis Mr. Bru Rossouw

Ace Customs Racing mechanical tech and bodywork guy.

The team works tirelessly, always giving 150% to ensure that every build is of the highest quality!

In addition, the “team” that does the heavy lifting, working day in and day out without so much as squeak or a creak, is comprised of:

What's
Next

All we can say is – watch this space, big(ger) things are coming. With a race shop (parts sales) opening soon and a tuning division on the horizon the group is growing quickly. This growth has resulted in the requirement for more space, so if everything goes to plan a 1000m2 plus facility incorporating a dyno, spray booth, bigger race shop and showroom will be the next BIG step.

For more information and to stay up to date with us, visit us on social media.