4th Annual Fiesta De Kustom Kulture In Heart Of Old Town San Diego

Event Coverage - 4th FDKKSaturday, September 6th marked the fourth annual Fiesta De Kustom Kulture. This San Diego event represents a chill vibe for Southern California locals and is a quaint step away from the large-scale nationals that highlight the peak months during summer show season.IMG_8970

While larger events offer an incomparable buffet of mobile stimulation, on the other hand, community and festive socialization are at their peak during smaller events such as Fiesta. Rod Authority was present at last year’s event as well. Be sure to check out 2013’s coverage to get an even further idea of what you can expect at a local Southern California kustom kulture event.

The event is open to pre-1972 hot rods, street rods, kustoms, musclecars, and trucks. A few motorcycles were on display as well with an event focus on, “Show quality bikes–traditional and vintage foreign” being encouraged. One gorgeous piece was on display in front of the Hot Dog Kustoms booth.IMG_9060


An Overview Of A World Class Kustom Paint Shop

“Hot Dog Kustoms founder, Pete ‘Hot Dog’ Finlan is a world renowned custom painter whose work has been featured on some of the world’s finest vehicles from hot rods, kustoms, to motorcycles, and everything in between.”

IMG_9045Above is an excerpt from his company description. And while there are a lot of artists who can argue their claim to the throne of most skilled, Hot Dog’s work is a symbol of tradition, preservation, and taking kustom paint jobs to another level of artistry.

We find it fitting to include this blurb on Hot Dog Kustoms because it was Hot Dog and his shop that were responsible for the paint job on this year’s Best In Show recipient, Andre Jimenez’s 1954 Chevrolet Delray. You can find more on that below in our section spotlighting three standout rides from the weekend.

For more information on the Oceanside based artist who’s been doing it since ’82, head over to his Facebook page to get a closer look at his work.IMG_9042


Chris Pasley’s Rolled In Gold ’66 Cadillac Coupe DeVille

This car came into Chris’s possession through three years of tenacious hunting. “I wanted a Cadillac that was gold, a coupe, and a DeVille. After three years I’d found one in Portland, Oregon,” Chris told us. He continued, “The guy that sold it to me bought my plane ticket to fly up there and I drove it back to SoCal–this was all on [the previous] owners’ word that it would make it back,” Chris chuckled.

IMG_8994With only 40,000 original miles the car was in well kept condition. Furthermore, coming up on a car that could handle a full coastal cruise and one that met the aesthetic demands Chris was hoping for sounds like a deal that was worth the three year wait. While Chris did make a point to state that he didn’t consider himself a Cadillac guy, this particular model and year was something that had always peaked his interest. What he got was the perfect foundation to reach his dream vision of the ’66 he’d been hunting for.

Chris went on to give us a breakdown of some of the gold cruiser’s details, “It’s got ’61 caps, ’61 wheels, and wide whitewalls. Me and my buddy Max Fish, we painted the whole car in his garage. It has all original interior and a couple fun things inside, but that’s about it.”IMG_8993

For such an eye catching ride, Chris kept the Cadillac close to its original state–barring the upholstery, new paint, and lowered stance. It is definitely a testament to the design prowess that Cadillacs have maintained throughout the decades.

But that still left us wondering, what was Chris’s favorite modification or aspect of the car? “There’s really not a lot of mods on the car, but my favorite part is obviously the roof because it’s the most eye-catching and it took the most amount of time and work,” Chris explained. He continued, “It took an entire day just to lay out those patterns.”

We wonder what it was like to get to work with Max Fish for a day laying everything from tape, paint, flake, not to mention prep and body work. Max is a true artist in his own right and the subtlety of this Cadillac among droves of eye-popping kustoms is proof that their is power in treading softly with your creativity.

Chris’s ’66 features the original 429 ci motor and he says it never skips a beat. He left us with some last words, “We were wondering why a lot of people were coming up wanting to stop and take pictures of it, it’s really a pretty bone stock Cadillac. The only things shaved are the emblems, the door locks and handles, and the windshield wipers, but other than that it’s pretty stock. There’s really not a lot of customization to it, these cars came with a killer look from the factory. There’s really not a whole lot that you have to do them.”IMG_9085


Jimmy Ruiz Of Sledsville Hot Rods & Customs’ ’49 Mercury

The Mercury is just as much an icon as the ’32 Ford is. But there are times when their frequency at shows can numb even the most diehard admirer’s palate.

Because of that, it takes a certain flare, soul within the design, and a thorough connection with personal vision to remind us and the rest of the car community why we fell in love with the model in the first place–Jimmy’s ’49 is certainly one that does just that.

IMG_9014This isn’t the first time that we’ve seen Jimmy’s kustom, we’ve spotted, shot, and included it in several of our past event recaps, but this is the first time that we got to take a few minutes with the owner and learn a little more.

Jimmy is no slouch when it comes to the game of kustomization, he’s the owner and operator of Sledsville Hot Rods & Customs out of Riverside, California. Jimmy gave us some background on his company, “We’ve been in business for about 22 years. We specialize in traditional hot rods and kustoms, mostly Mercurys, but we do it all–20s, 30s, 40s, 50s, and early 60s cars.”

Jimmy came across his ’49 in Texas several years back. It was treated to some fine modifications such as the aggressive flames and beautiful chop that Sledsville prides itself on. For such a straightforward idea, traditional flames are easy to botch. Jimmy’s flames are tapered just right and envelope his Mercury in such a way that compliment and remind us again of why, not only Mercurys, but flames are timeless.IMG_9082

“It’s got a pretty big horsepower V8 so it runs real good at 100 mph down the freeway on all days. It has a black on black tuck and roll, a black body, House of Kolor paint, and an eye catching pinstripe job by DA Garcia of DA Designs in Whittier, California.”

Sledsville prides itself on being a full service shop and Jimmy informed us that they have the ability and skill to see a full build through minus upholstery. “Our upholsterer is just down the road so he does every car that we build.”IMG_9107

A mid-80s Camaro subframe was mated to the chassis and a late-model GM rearend was installed. Sledsville, specializing in Mercurys, manufactures their own rear suspension setups. That kit is installed on Jimmy’s ride. While they also produce a Mustang II setup for the Mercury as well, Jimmy had installed a different front suspension setup prior to the development of Sledsville’s. Inside, Jimmy chopped and sectioned the dash of a ’52 DeSoto to fit inside his Mercury.

IMG_9100Jimmy’s dedication to the preservation and kustomization of the Mercury shines through his personal car. If you’re a Mercury owner, who better to entrust your project to than someone who loves them just as much?

His company is currently in the process of revamping their website to include all of their past features and press, as well as a detailed shop of all their in-house manufactured products. Keep a look out for Sledsville Hot Rods & Customs as well as Jimmy and his killer ’49. For more information on the shop’s services check out their Facebook page.IMG_9012


Fiesta De Kustom Kulture Best In Show, Andre Jimenez’s ’54 Delray

Andre’s ’54 took home Best In Show during this year’s Fiesta De Kustom Kulture, and rightfully so. A clean build through and through, from the frost-white paint job and jaw dropping flaked and air brushed roof courtesy of Hot Dog Kustoms, to a unique diamond tuck interior–Rod Authority caught up with Andre to learn more about his stellar Delray.

IMG_9049“I was at work and I was on hold over the phone. I decided that I’d wanted a Chevy car, I’d previously owned a truck. I stumbled on AutoTrader and saw the Delray. It definitely didn’t look like how it does now. By the time I’d called the guy who’d listed it he’d already sold it. I basically asked the guy how much he wanted to unsell it,” Andre explained. Needless to say, his persuasion paid off, and though Andre paid a little more to get the car in his possession, we’re sure that if his Delray could talk it would be jumping for joy because of its slick restoration.IMG_9079

Andre has owned his’54 for the past five years and out of that five it took three years to complete the restoration. With all this flare that the car has we asked how many of his car buddies were a part of the process, “I actually have no friends who like this stuff and this is the first time for me to actually show it.” Andre continued, “I did a lot of work on my own along with J&V Automotive in Chula Vista who was responsible for a lot of the bodywork and fabrication. I painted the body in my garage and Hot Dog did the roof.”

The upholstery buttons offered a unique touch that are commonplace on classic furniture, but surprisingly we don’t see to much on classic cars. “I found this guy who had excess buttons out in Jersey. Hot Wheels Upholstery, also out in Chula Vista, handled all the fabrication of the interior. Subtle touches such as the dash and the steering wheel compliment the ’54’s bold roof.

As we wrapped up our interview with Andre we had to get the backstory on how the roof came to be, “I had kind of an idea of what I wanted, but the reality of it is, with Pete aka Hot Dog–you don’t tell him what to do. He asked me one question, ‘What colors don’t you like?’ From there I just let him do his thing. The roof was 100% Pete. I hired him for a reason, he had the style that I wanted and I also knew what I was looking for on the roof.”

For Andre’s first show quality car we’d like to congratulate him and those involved for giving this ’54 a second chance at life and taking home Best In Show.

Fiesta De Kustom Kulture provided attendees with a laid back day of some of the area’s smoothest kustoms. It’s smaller scale shows packed full of passionate enthusiasts that give each and every one of us something to look forward to after a long week! Until next year, be sure to check out Rod Authority’s exclusive gallery from the event below.IMG_9021

About the author

Andrew Almazan

Andrew Almazan is a graduate of CSULB with a degree in English and a passion for traditional kustoms and hot rods. His first exposure to out of this world vehicles was through the prevalent low rider, baja bug, and kustom culture of LA county.
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