After finding the car through a friend in Louisiana, Johnny began by replacing most of the panels which suffered the usual rust that comes along with sitting in that area. Once the body work was complete, Johnny laid down the paint himself, choosing this striking PPG Factory Sierra Gold color, which of course was supplemented by adequate amounts of clearcoat. Johnny restored, rewired, and refurbished the Crate 350 engine himself, using a Matson Radiator and a bevy of Street Performance products, which were chromed by Supreme Plating in Inglewood, CA. “For fifteen years we’ve always sent all of our chrome out to Supreme Plating in Inglewood, we have a great relationship with them,” Johnny explains. Some of the rare accessories Johnny added to the ’58 come in the form of the following stock products: a Continental Kit, cruiser skirts, Trail Master Spotlamps, compass, Autronic eye, Wonderbar radio, floor mats, power windows, power vents, and power seats.
As if adding these hard-to-find parts to the build didn’t uphold tradition enough, Johnny really went the extra mile when it came to the hydraulic set up. He chose to build an old-school aircraft setup. “This was my first aircraft set up, I’ve built many hydraulic set ups before, but this time, I had my work cut out for me,” he says with a laugh. Johnny began experimenting with the parts and using his telephone as a lifeline between some veteran builders for assistance. “I called on John Kennedy and Ted Wells for help, and I also reached out to Andy Lodi, who was particularly helpful to me in building the set up.” In the end, the kit Johnny assembled features four Pesco 777 pumps, four oxygen tanks, four Adex Dumps, four water faucet slowdowns, four filters, and six Optima batteries, which power the system. He also assembled the stock suspension; which uses an ABS four-wheel disc brake system and features moldings and custom engraving from David the Engraver. “I did all the installation, plumbing, bent my own hardlines, wrapped my frame, molded and extended my arms, pretty much everything,” Johnny says exhaustedly. When it came time for the final touches, Johnny called on veteran mural master Fonzy to cap off the build. “We flew Fonzy out to our shop and he lived with us for two weeks while he did my trunk lid and one of my customer’s trunk lids,” Johnny says with a smile. “I’m a guy that goes to church and really respects God, so Fonzy painted a cross scene with my two kids’ pictures and the likeness of Jesus with a picture of the car, it’s just beautiful,” says the South Carolina mechanic.