I have been building my "DeLincWent" 1926 Dodge Brothers roadster pickup for some time now. I started by putting 5,000 miles on her in bare metal last summer to work out any bugs and kinks. Last winter it was time to take her apart and search for cracks and items that just didn't jive ... it was time to finish the old girl. A little paint and massaging and she came back together without a hitch. I can do just about everything mechanically and paint-wise, but when it comes to fabric and wood, well, I'm all thumbs.
I decided to get the trim stitched by a pro. I had my choice of a few upholsterers and even a trip south to Tijuana came into play. I had been snooping around the Lynwood area seeing some of the sweetest work coming out of a little back-alley shop. Juanito runs the place. He is the owner and operator. I first saw his work when he was stitching up Dave Chaves' '49 business coupe: full-custom upholstery mimicking the Buddha Buggy. Then a few weeks later he was getting down on a '36 Ford coupe with a '50s-styled tuck 'n' roll interior with dark chocolate brown inserts. I fell in love with the work and felt no one seems to bring back the look you see in the little pages of Rod & Custom. I knew I wanted to go '60s with the interior and had some designs kickin' around in my head. In today's hot rod world it seems that bomber seats are overdone and Mexican blankets are cliché. It needed to be a head turner to back up the bucket I had built. So Juanito was the obvious choice.
When doing customs and hot rods, Juanito likes to do everything the old way; it's more labor intensive, but it lasts the tests of time. He went through my design with me, trying to figure how he was going to do it, and at the same time went over the many ways you can "tuck" and "roll" material, showing me the pluses and minuses to all of them. He likes to see the customer get what he wants, even walking me through the whole process and taking me to all the trim stores to hand-pick the materials. This guy can do anything from a '10 Mercedes to my ol' bucket of bolts.
So the Dodge was finally on the road and I came down with my sketches and old mags to show him what I wanted. I pulled up and he started shaking his head. All I had for an interior were some rear seat bottoms out of an ol' donor '71 Camaro and just the foam to boot. I was sick of driving with them; even though they served their purpose. We sat down and went over my design, he made a few suggestions, and we tossed ideas around. Then it was time to take off to go get materials and get to work.