In 1985 Custom Works owner Jerry Landgraff and his son Brian decided to build a car designed specifically for R/C dirt oval racing. They developed the first prototype Custom Works "Oval" car and as soon as it hit the track it was obvious that this car was in a class by itself. This revolutionary car had front and rear gear reduction, A-arm suspension, left side batteries, all graphite chassis components, drag link steering, chain drive, Delta shocks with 4-way adjustable ride height, an 11" wheelbase and many other new and innovative ideas. Many industry icons doubted the potential of Jerry's radical new design but little did anyone know that this first prototype car would change the course of dirt oval racing forever.

Custom Works quickly became a prominent name in dirt oval racing. From December 1985 to March 1986, the Landgraffs' consistent success with their still unnamed prototype chassis left their competitors begging them to build more cars. The second and third versions of the "Landgraff car," as it would become known, incorporated several new ideas such as nerf bars, full width front bumpers, and a front and rear chain drive with a centrally located reduction shaft.

Jerry and Brian built 26 cars between August and December of 1986. Every manufacturer had to have a Landgraff car in order to showcase their products. Car owners included Bob Novak, Mike Reedy, Kent Clausen and Gary McAllister just to name a few. During this period, each car was slightly refined until it evolved into the DOMINATOR IV that was introduced and began selling as a production kit in 1987. The DOMINATOR went on to win virtually every race it competed in for the next several years until the mid 90's when the changing technologies and expensive costs of the RC industry began to take their toll on the power hungry DOMINATORS.