Outside the Normal Nine to Five: Turning Wrenches and Cranking Edits
We all have a project out in the shop, whether it’s a dream rebuild or just something that needs to be fixed. But for Westen Champlin—and the half million plus subscribers to his YouTube channel—the difference in his shop is the open invite to look under the hood of his projects. It's the feeling of laughing and swearing right alongside him and his buddies, while they put in the long hours and late nights to get big swaps and rebuilds done.
From turning wrenches to painting trucks, Westen and his childhood friend, Dom, tackle projects at scale, and have more fun than most of us in the process. From Cummins swaps on F350s to fixing up broken skid loaders, auction-find army trucks or even a big blue Peterbuilt—the rigs take shape one milestone at a time. Each one a bit of a rabbit hole—that’s why they call it a project—but Westen’s a natural on the mechanical side, as well as the art of conversation, which keeps us watching him work.
Raised a farm kid in Winfield, Kansas, he learned to back a trailer at eight years old and was taking apart four wheelers by age twelve. Wrenches and gears came easy to him, whether putting a Power Stroke back together while still driving on a farm permit, or just keeping a $181 firewood truck running.
“When I was young I would take stuff apart and I was hell on stuff—I’m not gonna lie—I took four-wheelers apart, I took all kinds of stuff apart,” Westen says. “The putting back together part, kind of took me a little longer to figure out. The taking apart, I had that down pat.”
Eventually, he discovered he had a talent for turning rebuilt vehicles into cash sales, training that sixth sense toward buying auction vehicles and making them go again. That led to filming his first Ford Cummins swap, some editing handiwork from his brother, and an unexpected rocket to YouTube fame.
Yet, even before the spotlight, he knew he wasn’t cut for an indoor nine-to-five. “I couldn’t be happy doing that—I would drive myself insane, I can’t sit inside. If it gets past 10 a.m. and I’m still inside, I feel bad about the day, I feel lazy.”
“Sitting in an office or at a desk or being in a cubicle all day was never in my mind as something I was going to do.”Indoors, outdoors or somewhere in between—like his diesel-heated, half-open shop—that get-it-done-yourself mentality comes through in every one of his projects and edits. “It’s one of those things, you got to get out there in the cold to get the stuff done or nobody is going to get it done,” Westen says, boiling it down.
Westen has backed Walls workwear long before cranking out big rig rebuilds and down-to-earth edits—because the gear is built to survive in the shop environment where grit, grease and grime are as common as frigid winter days or boiling hot summers.
“My shop absolutely destroys clothing,” Westen says. “You’re under a truck getting covered with transmission fluid, or I don’t even know how it happens, but you wake up clean and you come back from the shop absolutely just covered in grease from head to toe.”