Rod & Custom Feature Car
Bay Area, California
1962 Chrysler 300 Hardtop
Typically, pastels are reserved for spring/summer dresses and bathroom décor. That manly (loosely interpreted) rule of thumb is completely erased, however, when it comes to custom cars. And no man speaks pastels louder than Richard Zocchi—with his countless customs, that is.
A NorCal fixture, Richard's been messing around with custom cars since he first obtained his driver's license, and along with another Bay Area namesake or two, can be credited with the revival of customs/kustoms in the 1970s, following the debut of his memorable Merc "Cool 50". On through the '90s till pretty much this day, Richard has managed to unveil new rides almost on a yearly basis. With no preference to any one particular marque—he's owned everything from a 1962 Pontiac to a 1939 Dodge, 1957 Fairlane to a 1960 Olds—about the only real constant: pastels! And that's not a dig in any way, shape, or form, either...soft hues and customs go hand-in-hand, like mossy oak and beards.
Richard's latest, which he debuted at last year's Grand National Roadster Show, goes to further reinforce the fact that there's no such thing as "hands off" when it comes to potential makes/models. In stock form, the early-'60s Chrysler Imperial is as close to a factory custom as you'll find. That obviously had no bearing on Richard; his 1962 300 hardtop is a perfect exercise in fair game-netting, excellent results.
As he's done in so many years past, Richard relied on another area local icon, John Aiello, to handle the Chrysler's body transformation. That consisted of, among other things, chopping the top (4 inches, with a 1967 Camaro backlight used), sinking the stock headlights in a "faux-frenched" manner, reverting to a 1961 Windsor grille, and incorporating 1960 T-bird rockers. Art Himsl followed step by applying the custom-mixed PPG pastel toners and pearls topped with a gold pearl (which Aiello painstakingly buffed out). Inside, Concord Auto Upholstery's Freddy Diaz laid out white alligator and vinyl appropriately to accent the exterior. A stock but air-assisted suspension accommodates a quartet of custom knockoff-equipped chrome wires, sporting Coker radial wide whitewalls. The brightwork (both chrome and stainless polishing) was aptly handled by Sherm's Custom Plating, while the stock 383 underhood was rebuilt by Rich Garcia.
Whether it's a soft pearl yellow, cool yet vivid mint green, or a blended, peachy pink, Richard's preferred color palette always seems to hit the mark—but don't let that distract from the underlying customs that each custom paintjob drapes. Each of his vehicles speak for themselves design-wise, as well.