"In the very beginning, my plan was to have a mild custom. You know, just some shaving and lowering, maybe different taillights and grille, round the door and hood corners on it, paint it real pretty, and then call it a day. This was finally going to be the first completely finished car for me. It was going to be done 100 percent-no 90 percent then sell it so I can do another car-I was going to finish every detail!
"So as the planning began and I figured it out, I realized that I had never seen a radical custom '55 Lincoln. This was going to be fantastic! Especially with the talents of Aiello Customs behind it! Then John [Aiello] asked me, 'Do you want this show quality?' I thought, I've never even imagined I would have that kind of an opportunity, really. But, yeah, I did! John and I agreed that the complete car would all be done in his shop. I was in good hands.
"John set up a day for us to meet with concept artist Ferby Miguel, and we went to work. I had my definite ideas, but my overall concept was that I wanted something period correct-like the Lincoln was customized in 1959 or 1960! Nothing modern showing ... not too accessorized either ... no lake pipes ... nothing hanging from the rearview mirror ... no pinstriping ... none of that. Believe me, I have had cars with all of the above, but not this time around-this was going to be clean, simple, and elegant."
Whoever said this thing of ours was male-dominated, well, either their heads are stuck in the time period from which Mucha Muchacha draws its styling cues, or inverted in their own posterior crevice. But no matter, just make sure those words are never uttered within earshot of Kim Mejia, as she'll make no haste showing you firsthand what that inverted "cranal" position feels like.
As you may have already gathered, Kim's got an eye for style. Among other things, one thing she knows (probably better than a lot of men) is what it takes to create a perfect custom ... or should we say, "kustom"? Whatever the case, this one's got all the elements-harmonic ebb and flow, which is what John Aiello is a master at composing. But his chorus of custom fabrication and design does not stand on its own, as without the gold pearl-laced pink metallic exterior paintwork by Randy Tannehill (Aiello's head color applicator) and the posh pink interior design work by Bob Divine, the Lincoln would be but an unfinished melody. And since we're pointing fingers and giving credit where credit's due, let's hear it for the backup choir: Gambino Kustoms on airbag suspension, Flynn Millard playing stainless trim modification and refinishing, and the duo of Superior Chrome and Sherm's Plating on brightwork.
Having acquired quite the discriminating kustom taste (modestly speaking), with a heavy GM bias, no less, it'd be remiss of me if I didn't come right out and say how high this car ranks among my all-time favorites. I don't know, maybe it's the menacing subtleness that only a well thought-out kustom possesses-or maybe it's just the fact that I'm a huge fan of the color pink?!
Rod & Custom Feature Car
San Leandro, California
1955 Lincoln Capri
In stark contrast to the majority of today's modern customs, the chassis under Kim's Lincoln is mostly stock, with a few minor (and some not-so minor) exceptions, that is. For starters, Aiello Customs (Pacheco, California) swapped 'n' dropped the frontend via a pair of Fatman uprights and likewise in the rear by adding 3-inch blocks and removing a leaf or two. Later, Alex Gambino (Gambino Kustoms, San Jose, California) would install a fully adjustable airbag system. Steering is stock, however, disc brakes have been added thanks to Georgia's Johnson Industries.
Motor-wise, the Capri is still runnin' her old 341 Y-block, which was reported to have been rebuilt not long before its previous owner turned the keys over to Kim (tranny is also stock).
Wheels & Tires
No kustom is complete without wide whites and full-disc 'caps. Kim's wears the appropriate footwear in the form of 15-inch steel wheels from Pete Paulson (painted pink, of course), 6.70-15 Firestone Champion bias-plies from Coker Tire, and a Mejia secret family recipe of part Olds, part '57 Lincoln Premier hubcaps.
Body & Paint
This is the part that separates the leaders from the followers. Under the direction of the car's owner, the collaborative efforts of visual artist Ferby Miguel and hands-on artist John Aiello came up with the following recipe: chopped top (3 inches in the front, 3 1/2 inches in the rear), rounded corners and shaved protrusions throughout, lower body line removed, '56 Olds headlights, '55 Packard taillights, frenched grille (with added vertical bars) and rear license plate, bumpers narrowed, tucked, and welded smooth, custom-fabricated stainless skirts, and one-of-a-kind exhaust tips (aka '40s Wedgewood stove takeoffs!). Aiello Customs painter Randy Tannehill applied the combination of PPG pinks with gold pearl overtones, while the custom stainless work was done by coworker Flynn Millard.
Mucha Muchacha's finishing touches come by way of Divine's Customs in Martinez, California. Owner/artisan Bob Divine put together the fitting interior using pearl white vinyl and deadstock pale pink fabric with gold piping. Carpet is house interior pile in a darker pink to coincide and complement the exterior treatment. Elsewhere, stock gauges were redone and updated to 12-volt, A/C has been eliminated (Kim's not that finicky, though it doesn't hurt that she's minutes from the ocean!), and the steering wheel has been swapped for a '56 Lincoln model.