Car Builder>> So-cal Speed Shop Update

While I was in LA last week, I made a point to pop back over to the SO-CAL Speed Shop to see how their various Hot Rod projects were developing. Some of you will remember that we visited them last October and were very impressed with the in-progress builds we saw that day. So you can imagine, I was feeling very eager to swing by their Pomona facility, to check in and see what’s up.

I ended up bringing a few people from the import scene with me too…. It was fun to take these guys and drop then into the heart of hot rod culture.

On the left we have tuning scene consultant RJ De Vera; if you are in the US aftermarket industry he’s hard to miss… while on the right is Ernie Manasala from NOS Energy Drink. He’s the guy who oversees a lot of the NOS Energy Drink motorsports programs like Chris Forsberg’s and AMS Performance’s sponsor deals.

The first order of business was to check out the development on Jimmy Shine’s 1929 Model A project. We did a full post about this car last October, and saw that much progress has been made since then.

The headlights are real objects of beauty….

It’s quite a different cup of tea, to compare a Hot Rod build like this, to a carbon fiber shelled track or drift weapon. You get an overwhelming sense that the craftsmanship (craftspersonship?) and metalwork are approached like a sacred art form. These are the elements that the car will ultimately be judged on, so a great deal of attention goes into every single area.

Case in point: just look at the headlight mounts! The tactile qualities of the mechanical dominate your perceptions in the SOCAL Speedshop world, especially with a highly crafted project like this ’29.

I know I’ve already gone on about the purity of details with this build, so you don’t need to hear me talk about this again do you?…. but just check out the perfection of these engine cover louvers….. This is automotive construction elevated to uncompromised art isn’t it?

The flathead engine is looking fairly plumbed in at this stage. Jimmy told me last October; he wanted this car to look like it rolled off an assembly line in 1929 looking like a traditional style rod and I think he is well on his way to achieving this goal.

There are some Art Deco cues in the removable steering wheel… It’s a perfect, period specific design reference.

The wheels are handmade one-off designs. They the look like they were sourced from a 1930’s luxury car don’t they?

Christian from SO-CAL Speed Shop tells me the car is due to go into paint soon…. it will be a blue colour apparently… I’ll have to arrange a shoot with the finished car as soon as it’s done. Perhaps we’d like to see it shot with Linhbergh-Vision?

The ’34 three window coupe is a new Jimmy Shine project. He’s building this car for his dad… Apparently his father had previously owned this very car in his youth, and somehow they managed to find and purchase it after all these years. I wish I could do something similar with the ’63 Cal Look Bug I had when I was 16!

Unlike some of the other Hot Rods we just looked at, this ’31 Model A is not awaiting a trip to the paint job… it’s been completed with a bare metal look in mind. Some of you may remember that this very machine was featured in The Rodder’s Journal last fall.

There’s nothing quite like ton of chrome to bring a smile to your face is there? Well, at least as long as it’s bolted to a rod or a custom!

The body of the HHR land speed record car has been removed since our last visit. Doesn’t look like too much else has been done on the car though….

Moving over to the next building we were greeted by this drag styled ’32 roadster.

For some reason, the 1970s visual look of “Big ‘n Little” tires is really working for me… Perhaps the time has come for 1970s style to be cool again? What do you think?

I would imagine that’s too radical a feeling for a lot of people in the Hot Rod world though…. The current mainstream fashion is still towards tasteful traditional styles…. Fine by me!

This ’32 Ford Roader is definitely representing the traditional side of things…. I took a moment to admire all the rare vintage go-fast goodies bolted to its Flathead V8.

Yeah more 70’s style wheels and tires! I hope they add more white to the letters when this ’32 Roadster Pickup project is completed.

You can see by looking at the front tires that we again have a big ‘n little rear-to-front tire setup going…. What do you think?

The Billy Gibbons ’58 Thunderbird project has now come on song. The car was in its final stages of pre-paint prep. It’s going to get a crazy early 60’s custom style paint job. I can’t wait to see the results!

And on to the next bay….. We’ve seen a few of these cars previously…. but the Monza Funny Car was a new addition to the stable.

The owner wanted the paint job to look period specific… in this case a mid ’70s style. They’ve done a good job don’t you think? We’ll keep an eye out for this Monza at the next nostalgic drag meet we attend.

It appears that Billy Gibbons has a thing for Scion tCs doesn’t he? I wonder if Scion knows about this?

Looks like the car has been developed further into a custom direction.

It’s received a louver treatment to its hood/bonnet too.

This ’66 Chevelle has received a full range of nickel platting to its trim and bumpers. It’s quite an interesting effect as it makes the parts look like they’re machined aluminium.

This car really got my guests excited. You can’t quite see the puddle of drool just out of frame under Ernie….

Each time I visit the SO-Cal Speed shop I can’t help but marvel at a their commitment to detail and quality…. Everything they do has a strong sense of tastefulness and aesthetics, I can find nothing to fault, no style decision to disagree with. It’s no wonder their facility is chock-a-block full of customer builds!

Ok next up we’ll do a shop tour of Twins Turbo Motorsport, to see what kind of craziness they have been brewing up recently….



SO-CAL Speedshop Stories on Speedhunters

SO-CAL Speedshop Website



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(O_o).... that xb looks creepy, as well as all those other cars in there


I wanna see one of those ford's sideways.


I have to say, not one single thing on any one of those pictures appeals to me. I'll go so far as to say that I hate cars like that. Ugly as hell.

That being said, I do have to say that the people building these things are extremely talented.

Just IMO, keep things like this off of speedhunters, doesn't really have a place here.


great article and coverage! I appreciate the artwork these guys are churning out, and Jimmy and the crew over there are masters of their craft.

These cars fit nicely with the theme of the site, as they are both art and speed-producing machines. I say keep em coming!


How does this not belong on Speedhunters? "Car Culture At Large" means ALL car culture, regardless of time period and whatever is considered fashionable by the masses, and that's something that's been missing from the automotive journalism world for far too long. Its refreshing to find something like this site, where anyone who is passionate about cars and the culture surrounding them can find something to their liking.

If anything, i think articles like this are extremely relevant in that they remind us of the roots of our hobby and passion; not to mention they introduce people who might have never even thought to look for inspiration in places like this. The craftsmanship especially is something amazing.

So in short, Speedhunters, keep up this kind of thing and true car people will keep coming back.


I love coverage like this. Flavor from all angles is never a bad thing.


hell yeah, some hot rod stuff! Keep up the variety guys. Don't exclude certain sections of car culture just because it's not someone's cup of tea...otherwise you would have no content whatsoever. I'm not too into drifting, but hey, you don't see me asking to get rid of it. I'd like to see as much content as possible, honestly.

hey Rod, I don't know if this is too much to ask, but do you think you could stop down a couple stops when you shoot? a shallow depth of field is great, but it seems like you shoot literally almost everything wide open to get selective focus. It's an excellent effect in, for example, pic 10, but you take lots of pics like #13 where IMO a deep depth of field would really help out. haha I finally decided to bring it up but in this one you didn't even do it that much. It bugs me more in your car show pics where it looks like you're using a macro lens and all the cars look like toys. Anyway, I'm just nitpicking, the DOF is a small negative to otherwise interesting photos and writing.


love the work you do aimed at SoCal speedshop! These cars are amazing and the guys there are true artisans. Its so cool to see people still creating with their hands no matter what type of car/bike it is. Nice job!


Ben: If this wasn't your cup of tea. Why drink it?

Chris pretty much said what I wanted to say.

By coming to this site, you should have already been aware that they cover every car culture in different parts of the world that will or won't appeal to you. Sure, you may not like it but keep an open mind about it.

Where do you think Nakai got his influence for his Porsches? Rat rods.

Sometimes inspiration for car guys come in different places that we would least expect.

Personally, I enjoy seeing different segments of car culture that I haven't been exposed to.


Ben : Official word around is that they will NOT be changing the name to


So, until that time, they'll be covering all aspects of car culture.


That is all.


i so was drooling !! good time sir .. many more to come ..


Man, those aren't cars.... They're friggin' automotive works of art!

Like you said Rod, everything is taken into account and every little part has a slight detail you might not notice at first, but it's definetely there, and then they just make it come together... Genious...

Also, @ Ben - STFU or GTFO, if you want to comment, be it positively or negatively, do it in a contructive manner - we get it, you don't like Hot Rods, that doens't mean it doesn't belong here - this isn't "" and DEFINITELY not "" either - as long as it's part of car culture, it belongs here. I rest my case.


Ben? What? This is the reason Speedhunters even exists. This is speedhunting at its finest! This isn't drifthunting or timeattackhunting. It's cool if you don't dig every single post here. I do! I can appreciate it.


Awesome cars and work from these guys as always. I would have never expected to see an xB in there, but I would love to see more of it now!


Heyyy thats my brother haha. and my favorite kuya too.

those cars are awesome. very creative as well.

is that an ecotec motor in the landspeed car? no idear...


I'm sorry, I thought this month was "drifting" month??

The only thing "Drifting" related in this post is RJ DeVera and Ernie ManSalad


Nice Starlingear bead on the Scion!


man, So cal never fails to deliver, and louvers are becoming a lost art....good to see a few.


I have learned that even if I don't like a certain type of car, I don't focus on that. I focus on attention to details and build quality. This is something I think should be universal for all cars.

I may not like Hondas, but that doesn't mean I get pissed about seeing them in a parking lot/blog post/ forum. I admire any car that is built well and looks clean. Truck, lowrider, hot rod, drifter, etc.

Just because a '32 ford is not a 240sx, does not mean it deserves less respect.


do they do the louvers in house?


Awesome coverage! Socal always builds amazing cars. I'm loving the Willys 4X4 in the background of the second and third pics. My dad had one just like that when I was a kid.


Love pic 14. There's something so beautiful and artsy about those old Buick finned aluminum drum brakes! Love that bare metal A-bone, too! Cool stuff, can't wait to see how that funny car turns out, "Asphalt Gigolo" Luvvit! And BTW, I think the majority of readers will agree that the thing that makes SpeedHunters great is the sheer diversity of automotive topics and styles covered. I can say I'm not big into professional drifting like FD or D1, but I still can admire the craftsmanship and engineering that goes into those cars. Speedhunters has also made me grow to like scenes in the automotive culture that I didn't care or know about before, like grassroots drifting and time attack. Thank you SpeedHunters for continuing to provide balanced, quality coverage on ALL automotive subjects!


I really like the shop tour posts. Keep up the diversity of coverage.


I was under the impression that it is "SPEEDhunters" not "SHOWCARhunters"

I'm really not much into drifting at all, but it's cool to look at some of the cars since they actually have to be set up to make power, go fast, and be nimble. Not sure when everyone decided that I was a drifting fan-boi.

Timeattack, of course, is the most interesting, right alongside all of the other racing series covered here.

So when something like this pops up, it seems quite out of line with the rest of the coverage.

And I apologize if I offended the SoCal elitist fan-bois...I keep forgetting, it's either the SoCal way, or it's GTFO...


You dare to call you an true car nut?

Well i realized after years i like every sort of car scenes.

Sure i liked hot rods and muscle cars before i starded to like JDM driftcars but i think this would be also the same on the oposite side.

Well i prefere functional mods over show, but can not overlook pure quality of craftsmanship and style.

And then hotrods are true speedhunters of their time, same sort of cars as tuned JDM cars today, cars build to excite car nuts. Its nice to see someone build them in the same manner as they were build years ago.

No 1 stuff from speedhunters, i hope this big variety of car cultures stays here.


Does the name Andy Sapp ring a bell to you? People in the US drift scene will know him for his Atlanta