MATRIC employees – and brothers – Art and Jeremy Lucas epitomize innovation. Not only do they hold multiple Advance Auto Picpatents as chemical and process engineers at MATRIC in So. Charleston, W.Va., but they’re also nationally recognized as custom car builders.

In their spare time, the brothers own and operate their own car shop, Power House Customs, where they bring the art of innovation and technology into their custom machines.

In 2013, Art and Jeremy caught the attention of many when they ran cross country with Hot Rod magazine in their 1980 Pontiac Firebird. While most vehicles of this type are painted black to stay true to the significance in the Burt Reynolds and Sally Field movie, “Smokey and the Bandit”, the brothers took a totally different route. Synergy green was the color choice with a custom camel leather interior with green accents. The drive train was a nicely built 383 stroker with a six-speed transmission to help it cruise down the road, as well as custom suspension and braking components to complete the package.

The art of being innovative caught the eye of the Hot Rod magazine publishers, and it was featured in the Trans Am interior Pic 1November 2013 issue of the magazine. The car has quickly become known as “The Green Bandit”.

Additionally, the car has been regularly promoted by model, celebrity and host of Spike TV Powerblock and NBC Sports TV series PowerNation, Courtney Hansen.

“Courtney loves the Green Bandit, and we are so humbled that she enjoys the car as much as we have,” said Art.

True innovation never ends, and in 2014, it was time to raise the bar and complete the Green Bandit story. This time, an entirely new drivetrain and additional suspension components were added to build a competitive entry level track car. The Green Bandit now hosts an LQ4 motor netting 450 HP, adjustable suspension and a high performance braking system. The interior received digital gauge packs along with a custom air conditioning system.

“Nothing on this car is stock any longer and nothing will fit right out of the box, that’s the art of being innovative, that’s how we like it,” said Jeremy.

The Green Bandit made its farewell tour on the Hot Rod 2014 Power Tour where it made a pit stop on the Powerhouse Customs Bcard 1 copyCharleston Boulevard as part of the seven day cross-country extravaganza. “We will move onto another build later this year, and it’s time to let someone else enjoy the car. It will go to auction in the Fall, provided it doesn’t get an invite to SEMA in Las Vegas,” said Jeremy.

Art and Jeremy are very humbled by the fact MATRIC supports their entrepreneurial spirit and encouragement. “I have worked at MATRIC for eight years, and it has been the best decision of my life,” states Art. “We couldn’t ask for anything more from an employer. We are certain that choosing MATRIC has brought the best out of us and forces us to think more creatively than we ever dreamed imaginable. That creativity spills over into our car builds, it’s just in our DNA and our culture at MATRIC,” said Art.

“We’re proud of the work the Lucas brothers do both at MATRIC and in their spare time,” said Greg Clutter, Chief Operating Officer, MATRIC. “Art and Jeremy live the definition of ‘innovation’ every day, and we’re excited to see where their car careers take them in the future.”

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