Sunday 27th November 2022,
My Sick Ride

JOHN MARTINEZ – FEATURING “WICKED IN SUEDE”!

1929 Ford

A few years ago we had the good fortune of being introduced to a quiet, polite and unassuming man at a classic car show. And the more we spoke to him the more we realized what wide circles he travels in – he has a good feel for the automotive collector and enthusiast worlds. And when we saw his car… We knew we where going to be great friends and fans of his sick ride! But before we get to his 1929 Ford – here is a bit about the man.

John Martinez, lives in Woodland Hills and has lived in the SFV all his life. He had a great upbringing – playing in the streets till dark when kids still did that (in the 50’s) and surfed road skateboards. He has been in construction all his life, a drywall contractor for years as well as drywall union worker and he finished his career working for the Dept. of Water & Power, retiring 3 years ago.

He has been married 39 years , and his wife Linda has always been a full supportive car person too. She had owned and driven three 1956 Chevys and had her last ’56 up until the year 2000. They have a great family – 2 kids grown and 2 grand kids that “fill all their voids in life.” But life was not always gracious, as in 2001 when his wife was diagnosed with breast cancer. She survived the illness but not long after that in 2005 John was diagnosed with Cancer as well. He survived as well but between them the ordeal and recovery took almost 6 years.

They did the best they could to deal with both nightmares and with the help of friends and family they got through it all and have lived and looked at life much differently – becoming different and much better people. They are both retired now and spend their retirement days busy with projects, grand kids and pure life.

Now John has always had a love for cars, starting in his childhood. He would always con his mom into buying him a toy car or truck and as time passed he had many of them! He tell us he remembers playing in the backyard with them, making little roads, and towns, his imagination was big. He soon evolved into the craft of building models and would enter model car contests in town. In high school he bought his first car – a 1957 Chevy, 283 punched to a 301 cu in with a Rumpity cam. That was followed by a couple of 1963 Impalas and soon after that was the beginning of his life with nothing but pick-ups.

In all that mix he has owned anything and everything with 2 wheels. His dad bought him a mini bike when he was 9 yrs old and today  he “still has that same mini bike.” His next bike was a Honda 50 that would eventually get him more motorcycles and at present he has a Harley Davidson Softail – “low and fast.”

And now for our favorite part of  John’s story – he found his ’29 FORD in Van Nuys in 1993,while he was starting a build on a 1936 Chevy truck. He found and bought the ’29 and opted to get off the ’36 and go full bore with the Ford. The original plan was to just get it going, have a level above a “beater ride” and have fun. As he got involved he got a lot more aggressive with ideas. John soon realized just how expensive it was going to be. With cancer, earthquakes and life in general in the way – his build was long and tedious. But in May/June of 2010 he had somewhat finished with exception of glass and interior.

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He entered his first competition in the “UNDER CONSTRUCTION’ CLASS where he took a first place trophy. He soon had the interior and glass done and went on to win almost everything he went to for the next 2 1/2 years. In January of 2011 he went to the GRAND NATIONALS “SUEDE PALACE” where he was not received very well at all. But John was good with that, the Grand Nationals was a target for him now – just to be in that show was major for him. During that time his ’29 had been photographed and was about to be featured with a story in the pages of STREET RODDER MAGAZINE and Tim Bernsau, the feature editor, wrote in the article he had entered the Grand Nationals and that was all the bragging rights John wanted at the time, what many sought after with their own cars as the Nationals is a real honor.

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In 2012 while helping a friend with his car at the Nationals, John got the fever again and he thought “how cool to go back!” But that was all it was, a thought. Then in mid 2012 he was asked to come back and compete one more time. With the help of a now very good friend, Jim St Pierre, and the gracious John Buck (owner of the Grand Nationals), he went back under different circumstances – judged on a strict “point system.”  He actually won the GRAND NATIONALS 2013 in “ROD TRUCKS”- a very epic time for John. “I had truly come full circle.”

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Before the Nationals and since the Nationals John has won 39 awards to date which include 2 BEST IN SHOWS, BEST INTERIOR, BEST PAINT, 2 BEST HOTROD, TOP 15 PICK, TOP25 PICK, TOP 50 PICK, BEST 1920’s, several BEST IN CLASS, BEST TRUCK, BEST IN SHOW(MEMORIAL AWARD) and PRESIDENTS PICK. His most memorable wins are the CRUSIN FOR A CURE (Orange County Fairgrounds), GEORGE BARRIS SHOW, GRAND NATIONALS (appearing there 2 times) the THE JACK MALZMAN MEMORIAL AWARD, The WHEELS and WAVES SHOW where he won BEST IN CLASS in 2012 and a return to that show 2013 where he received an HONORABLE MENTION (2nd/3rd)which meant his ’29 was still good enough to be competitive.

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“WICKED IN SUEDE” – as his car is nick named – has had a wonderful reign of success and John has had a great time meeting new people. He says “all in all, it has been a very positive run.” We hope you have enjoyed this story and will stay tuned as we bring you a few more pictorials on John Martinez.

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