In every hot rod, you’ll find a story. Whether it took months, years, or even decades to complete, there’s no shortage of men and women who share a bond with their ride. For Johnny Martinez and his ’29 Ford Model A pickup, the story starts in 1993.
“It was a slow start in the beginning,” says Martinez. “I had a lot commitments in my life, raising kids and just all the normal life, and that went on for several years as I began to start working on the ’29.”
Martinez’s life took a turn for the unexpected in 2001, after his wife was diagnosed with cancer. The painful events that followed forced the man to reassess his situation, such that “everything went on the backburner. Not just my project, but our whole life came to a stop.”
Fortunately, two and a half years later, his wife had made a full recovery and was cancer-free. Martinez felt composed enough to resume working on his Model A, only to be diagnosed with cancer himself in 2007. “Everything came to a stop again,” he states. “But I got through it and I beat it.”
Martinez’s perseverance paid off six years later, as the finished ’29 made its way to the Grand National Roadster Show in 2013. Against all odds, it seems, the flat black pickup made its way into the hearts of the judges and wound up winning 1st Place in class–a fitting achievement for the man who had poured his soul into the build.
Nowadays, the Ford is still the apple of Martinez’s eye. His frequent jaunts from his home in Woodland Hills down to the Pacific Coast Highway are some of his favorite things to do. “I jam down to Neptune’s [Net] and get a bite to eat, look at all the people. Sometimes I just stop at a place I’ve never stopped at before. You see people on the beach, you see surfers…It’s pure Southern California. It’s incredible.”
The road ahead for Martinez and his custom ’29 is still wide and welcoming, and we expect these two will share in the fun for years to come. And if you find yourself in Malibu on a weekend, keep an eye out–otherwise, you might miss the chance to see this black beauty in action.