Ride of the Week… EFRAIN MORALES and his ’64 Chevy Fleetside

“The truck was a gift from my dad. He found it up in Fresno back in 2010.”

These were the first words spoken by Efrain Morales, whom I met recently at Wheels and Waves here in Malibu. He’s a super nice guy who, in my opinion, performed the perfect truck rescue.

As you may or may not know, 10 percent of our proceeds in my business goes to a Dog Rescue called Hope for Paws in LA. And in many ways, Efrain (Efro) did the same thing with this 1964 Chevy Fleetside Long Bed C10 Pickup.

“It was a farm truck that someone had abandoned at a mechanic shop for over 20 years,” started Morales. “The owner of the shop was getting ready to retire and just wanted to clear out his shop, so my pops got it for $1,000.”

And that, my friends, is what we call a steal.

As the owner of Morales Transport Corporation, Morales is now the proud owner of this big window C10. And since purchasing the “Trokita,” some of the upgrades he’s performed are a 350 engine with 700R4 transmission, front disk brakes and 2 1/2” drop spindles.

“Also, a 2” body drop,” adds Morales. “It’s been C-Notched and bagged, allowing me to lay frame.”

And that, my friends, is what we call slammed. Welcome to the cool school.

Then Morales began to give me more of the background story.

As the owner of a fleet of big rigs, it’s very typical to spend Saturdays driving around picking up parts for his mechanic to keep the trucks on the road.

“I guess you can say it’s a necessity,” Morales said.

“But the best part of my truck is when it takes people on a trip down memory lane,” he said. “Typically, the older folks have the best stories.”

But how does Morales primarily use this truck? His favorite thing to do is to take it on a Sunday cruise, such as one that recently brought him out to Wheels and Waves here in the ’Bu.

But how about a funny story?

“The first cruise after getting it bagged was from Boyle Heights in Venice Beach,” starts Morales. “After hanging out at the beach, I was heading to the freeway at about 2 [inches] off the ground, thinking I looked cool, when I hit a metal plate on the road. It literally stopped me and it felt like I hit a wall. Not having any real way of knowing how low I was, the metal plate made it clear that it was too low. I quickly aired up and drove off.”

And that, my friends, is what we call an oops. I’m sure he left a little C10 divot in the road for good measure.

But, as we always wrap up Ride of the Week with a little love for the ’Bu, according to Morales “the best part about driving from the Boulevard up PCH to Malibu has to be the scenery. A beautiful backdrop for a quick photoshoot. Also, you got to love nicely paved roads where you can cruise low to the ground and enjoy the ocean view.”

(Yep, that’s a plus and what we call freedom.)

Check out Morales on Instagram @efro64 to see more pics of his “Trokita,” from start to finish. And take a moment to ponder how you’d perform a horsepower rescue. Somewhere out there is a lost, lonely vehicle in need of freedom. And you, my friends, are the rescuers. And that’s what we call done.

Have a great week, folks!

Want to be featured in Ride of the Week? Send Fireball an email at askfireball@fireballtim.com.

Get Fireball’s All-New SHARKS Coloring Book! Available now on Amazon!

Ride of the Week: Catching up with a CUSTODIAN of COOL…

When I was a child, I spent many hours under our olive tree with my toy cars — Hot Wheels, Matchbox, Corgis and Dinkys.

I would clear out the leaves from the root systems and create a trail to which I would drive each car completely through. This was what I could control in a family of seven where the unpredictable was predictable.

But I wouldn’t get up until each car had its turn, and I had about 100 cars. So it would take at minimum an hour. When we moved from Palos Verdes to Ojai, I set out to find a new tree, but alas, they were oaks surrounded by ivy. So there were no root systems and I had to find a new car hobby in which to immerse myself.

My parents weren’t into cars, but I was. And I was in deep. I spent my childhood with model kits, car movies, go karts and drawing. Drawing, drawing and drawing.

Guess what? Now, my life is about driving up and down on PCH in a different car every week. And still drawing, drawing, drawing. Seems like a good life, eh? I mean, I was surrounded by all those toy cars my entire upbringing and it’s brought me tremendous joy. What could be better?

Cut to: Pictured here is tiny Max Neel sitting in a 1956 Lincoln Continental. And compared to me and my experience with cars, this kid is a hundred-fold. He spends his days with his dad driving classics, muscle, vintage trailers, classic trucks, antiques and more. I give him my books so he colors like the wind. Every day, he races around a car museum owned by his pop, climbing in and out of every car, capturing the feel, scent and sound of them all. His playground is over 60 years old.

What will life be like for Max in 40 or 50 years? Because of his upbringing with cars, love and passion of his parents and hanging with guys like me and my team, it boggles my mind as to what this kid will be up to. My son Sean was immersed in art, sculpture, movies and Malibu. And now, at 31, he’s a professional sculptor in the film industry having just worked on Star Wars and is a dad himself. And yes, he loves the ocean.

So this week’s Ride of the Week is dedicated to little Max here. And it will stick with him until he’s 50 for sure when he pulls this article out and shows it to me when I’m 90. “Remember this, Fireball?” he’ll say. And on that day, I’ll have the widest smile possible.

Fill your life with those things that give you joy. Immerse your time with those that share your passion. Spend your days doing what you love and loving what you do. And start right now because, in a blink, you’ll be 90, too. And you better hope to God that you’re smiling. I know I will.

Want to be featured in Ride of the Week? Send Fireball an email at askfireball@fireballtim.com.

Ride of the Week! David Neel and his 1964 STUDEBAKER AVANTI…

Classic cars are a big responsibility.

Keeping them clean, restored and fully functional can be a huge headache for some and can take a lot of time. But none of that seems to matter if you love cars.

I mean, who cares really, because the advantages of having a classic car and what you can do with it so far outweighs any headache that it’s not even worth mentioning. Sorry I did, but I have a point and this is Ride of the Week. So, let’s get into this before Christmas shows up.

This is David Neel and his ocean turquoise 1964 Studebaker Avanti R2. Neel is owner of Neel Lighting & Controls (a Ventura County based lighting and controls consulting firm) and executive director of the Murphy Auto Museum in Oxnard. According to Neel, both are full-time jobs.

But having known Neel for several years now, I can attest to the fact that he never seems to stop smiling. I would too if I got to play with cars all the time. (Oh wait, I do.) Neel understands the tremendous value of classics these days and the joy they bring. It helps to be near Pacific Coast Highway and the beauty of Malibu, but it’s clear that this man has found his passion.

The Avanti is a factory supercharged car, yielding 290 horsepower from a 289 cubic inch engine and is automatic.

“The car has been rebuilt from the ground up,” starts Neel. “And the builder made sure he built it to factory specs and factory colors. I have the original window sticker and added reproduction Halibrand rims a few years ago. These were a Studebaker dealer option at the time so they are legit to the car.”

Neel has had the car for about five years and it has always been on his checklist of cars to own.

“I ran across it during a car show on the roof of the Petersen Automotive Museum,” he explains. “The owner had it for sale and was taking great care in the presentation and authenticity of the car but was ready to find a new home for it. I knew it was the car for me, called him a few weeks later, and cut a deal. The former owner and I have become good friends and keep in contact from time to time.”

But how about a little bit of Neel’s automotive history? Where did his passion for cars begin?

“When I was a kid walking to the bus stop every day, a lady in the neighborhood would drive by from time to time in her Avanti (this was in the mid 1970s),” he recalled. “I had never seen such a car and was enamored with its one of a kind style and hoped someday I could have one. I have several cars but one thing they all have in common is they are all American brands, unique and built in limited numbers. This makes for better conversation at car shows.”

And there it is, folks. Classic cars give you a chance to share your story. And trust me, people want to hear it.

“It’s one-of-a-kind uniqueness,” David continues. “Every part of the car has a reason for its design. It was designed by famed industrial designer Raymond Loewy and does not have any straight lines, has elliptical wheel wells, pinched Coke bottle design at the center doors when looking down on it, and no grill. ‘Grills are for sewers’ he was quoted as saying.”   

About 5,000 Avantis were built by Studebaker in a two-year period and of that, few were built with a factory supercharger. That makes this very special car. And by the way, it’ll be on display at the Art Center Car Classic on Oct. 26.

“I take the Stoodee out occasionally on pretty weekend days, car rallies and neighborhood car shows,” Neel said. “The demands I place upon it are relatively minor, but it’s always ready to go.”

And Neel’s best short story?

“It’s a recurring story,” he explains. “Most folks under 50 years old do not know what it is, think it’s from an Italian manufacturer and once I tell them it’s a Studebaker, they always respond, ‘Who built Studebakers?’ If you can answer that, then you get a lollipop.”

On Malibu — a paradise where Neel visits frequently — Neel says he enjoys “the amazing scenery, picture opportunities and driving with the windows down, radio off and listening to the supercharger whine.”

It’s pretty clear why we have a hard time getting anything done, but when it comes to putting joy coins in the bank, we’re rich as can be.

Thanks, David. If Rocky were a car, he’d be your Avanti.

Want to be featured in Ride of the Week? Send Fireball an email at askfireball@fireballtim.com.

Ride of the Week… A DATE WITH CHRISTINE!!

Pretty much everyone on the planet knows of Christine, the 1957 Plymouth Fury who terrorized a small town with her jealous, flaming rage and left havoc in her rearview mirror.

But, I’ll bet you didn’t know that Christine is a very different lady on the weekends? Much more subdued on the jealousy angle than most might think, yet she seems to cause a bit of mayhem wherever she goes.

I got a chance to interview her and take a spin (shotgun of course) and speak with this evil harlet of the silver screen on her likes and dislikes, and what she does around Halloween in the ’Bu. And of course, why she loves Malibu (in a slightly dark, sinister and comical way).

On the outside, while Christine sits still parked at the Country Mart, fans gather and take pictures. But one thing that Christine loves most is that the moment she moves, everyone around her scatters like bugs. Sitting still, she’s an innocent classic, but the moment her tires roll, her movie character comes to life and people really freak. I got to see this first-hand.

“With the slightest roll, I can move everything and everyone out of my way,” Christine said. “It’s a plus when I need to pull out of tight places. People think I’m going to burst into flames and chase them. It’s funny … yet, I might. All depends on how annoying they are. I don’t mind selfies, but don’t sit on my hood or I’ll give you a free ride to the morgue!”

Yeah, that was a little unnerving for a first sit down with Hollywood’s favorite evil car, but I cautiously went with it.

Once on the road up PCH as the sun began to set, I started to wonder what I had gotten myself into. But the interview just kept rolling with some of Christine’s likes.

“I like Tesla and think it’s about time for self-driving cars,” she said. “I’ve been doing this since 1983 and it’s why John Carpenter tapped me for the role in the movie. The tech is there and I’m proof. But I just had to get him over my arrest record. I’ve been towed more times than I can count! But sitting on the side of the road in the dark seems to scare people, and I tend to do it in lots of creepy places. I just like the darkness … and, during Halloween, it gets much, much darker.”

We rolled into Pavilions at Point Dume and as the car wound through the parking lot, we got a combination of smiles accompanied by moms grabbing their children and running.

“If I pass someone in a parking lot and then suddenly stop, they scatter like I’m gonna back up and eat them with my trunk,” Christine said. “I might!! But I have to shop also and don’t need a bunch of people trapped in my trunk while I do it. What kind of sense would that make!”

Yeah, I wasn’t really sure how to respond to that, so I just smiled and prayed that I’d make it back home and not end up as a real Fireball. But Christine’s dislikes were far more interesting.

“I don’t like passengers that leave trash on my dashboard or eat in my seats,” she said. “They do that … and I’ll turn them into a charred McNugget, and have. You won’t be seeing them any time soon, except maybe during Halloween as a ghost or goblin,” she said, with a smirk on her polished chrome bumper.

Pretty sure she was kidding. I think.

“I don’t like drivers on PCH who pull U-turns on the bridge, make left turns in the middle of the highway with their butts sticking out or speeders,” she continued. “If I catch you, I won’t be giving you a ticket, but a one-way trip to St. Peter without your car.”

Carpenter will attest to that, as some of his crew would randomly disappear during the shoot.

“I have no recollection of that,” said Christine. “Maybe they just didn’t like working with a star like me. I can be a bit of a bear in my trailer when I haven’t had enough oil.”

On Malibu, Christine’s favorite spots are corner lots in the dark, long driveways of random people’s houses and overgrown backyards.

My time with Christine revealed a lot of things. Mainly, I saw my life flash before my eyes and thanked God I got back. But, also, she revealed to me her inner charm and evil, funny humor regarding everything from Starbucks to zombies. She’s a Zombie Uberist on weekends and likes the fact that they don’t talk much, but tend to leave a few parts behind in the backseat. Not like she can do anything about it, as they are already dead. She’s building up a collection though.

This Halloween, Christine will be cruising up and down PCH, doing her best to scare as many people as possible. Her record is 2,100 and she plans on beating that to a pulp. For some reason, I believe her … and will be on high alert.

Thanks Christine for taking the time to cruise with Fireball! I’m very grateful not to have become a McNugget. And I won’t be pulling any U-turns anytime soon!

Want to be featured in Ride of the Week? Send Fireball an email at askfireball@fireballtim.com.

Ride of the Week… The FALL and RISE of VINTAGE TRAILERS

Imagine 230 vintage, classic trailers from all over the country heading west and landing in SoCal.

Sounds like what they did in the 1880’s with wagon trains, right?

But, alas, this is a thing. It’s an event that takes place every year in Buellton, just north of Malibu. And as Malibu has a very unique trailer park, many of them head up for this event. But the big question is why? Why are people nowadays so into vintage trailers?

I grew up in the ’60s with big Lincolns, slab-sided Mercury Marquis station wagons and Chrysler Town & Countrys. These were the cars that you took across country, slept in the back of and complained the whole way.

But in the ’50s, travel trailers were new, in-style, colorful and exciting. Families were purchasing Shastas, Airstreams, WeeWinds, TravelBoats, Holiday Houses and many others to make their travel dreams come true.

Over the next few decades and into the ’80s and ’90s, travel trailers weened, many falling into disrepair, junk yards and unsavory homes. Think “Breaking Bad.” But in the last decade or two, travel trailers have made a massive comeback to where it’s the ultimate “glamping” experience.

And the Buellton Vintage Trailer Bash is one of the largest gatherings of these amazing, fully-restored and period correct trailers.

So, what was my job? Well, I’m glad you asked. As I’m in cahoots with David Neel at The Murphy Auto Museum in Oxnard, I was tasked with several things, all of them geared toward creating the best show possible. And that involved this breakdown for the Sept. 22 open house.

I Vlogged each day for our show, cruised in a scooter at 6 p.m. with Fireball Scooter Shots (Fireball Whisky), gave out awards for best trailers with my good friends and peppered the entire massive show with our new “Vintage Trailers Coloring Book.”

On Saturday as I stated, it was the open house for all to come see these fabulous trailers. Unfortunately, by the time this article comes out in print, it was last Saturday. Sorry about that, chief. You missed the Gilligan’s Island party, fashion show and multiple sundowner parties. Maybe next year.

The connection people have to their vehicles, whether it be cars or vintage trailers, harkens back to old memories.

What seemed like a simpler time, but was in fact just at its essence love on wheels. Traveling has always meant joy for me. Discovery, wonder, clean air and new things.

The Buellton show is one of the best, most positive places to go on the planet. A little place called Flying Flags in a town that most people have never heard of, but as love knows no bounds, the beauty of sharing and experiencing this show with your friends really encompasses the meaning of life.

Do what you love, and all good things will come. Even if it’s in a traveling, period-correct tin can.

Want to be featured in Ride of the Week? Send Fireball an email at askfireball@fireballtim.com.

Ride of the Week… The Bright Side of PACIFIC COAST HIGHWAY

Although not every Ride of the Week works out, I do take a lot of photos and many times the owner is no longer available for a full interview.

So, I cannot get the story and have to tell my own.

The other day, I was coming back from Oxnard on Pacific Coast Highway and spotted this stunning 1958 Chevy Impala owned by Miguel Rocha.

It occurred to me that PCH is a viral highway. A living, breathing center that flows like our veins, pulsing with beauty and vibrant energy.

I floated around the car as my friend spoke with the driver and, just watching, felt the importance of the present moment. Life can get very overwhelming at times and can feel that we have no choices.

It’s a very difficult way to look at things and can feel very real. I, myself, have had many instances where the wall was so high that I didn’t think I could climb it. The anxiety of the future and the challenges of locking ourselves to something in the past can seem like a prison.

Cars are my outlet. PCH is my outlet. Putting as much love into the world as I can is my outlet. I’ve been very fortunate in my life for many things, and I’ve done my best to be grateful for what I have.

And the realization that in the present moment is where creativity lies. The creative process begins with our thoughts about the world and ultimately leads to manifestation. Miguel Rocha’s ’58 Impala is his manifestation.

You have to realize that someone who owns a car like this does so because of their thinking, belief in the future, actions and words. And if those things do not line up, then things can go astray and it takes longer to manifest. Or it may not even come at all.

In the present, your words are like tiny spears of pain or titanium ropes of success. They go out and bring back their likeness. Your actions speak volumes and keep you going in the direction of your desire. But taking no action leads nowhere.

Your beliefs can either hinder you or hurl you into greatness. And finally, your consistent thinking keeps you focused. But all of these things are generated in the present and can lead to many things. Miguel’s led him to a ’58 Impala. What are yours leading you to?

Driving PCH (and being present) can be a recipe for success. But you have to do it for yourself and no one else. You can’t move forward based on what others think of you. You have to do it for yourself.

1958 was an amazing year for cars. Not sure if they knew or ever contemplated that this car would represent such beauty in the 21st century. And it makes me think of what will be considered beautiful in 2200.

But in my life, and in yours, beauty exists now. Or it can, but you have to choose it. You have to believe in it. You have to speak about it and take actions to bring more of it into your life. It’s why I love PCH. It’s my action.

My attempt in bringing more beauty into my life regardless of how tough things get. I can simple take a deep breath, and keep driving.

You never know what you’ll see, but it’s Malibu. And that my friends is why we live here.

Want to be featured in Ride of the Week? Send Fireball an email at askfireball@fireballtim.com.

Ride of the Week: Manny Javier’s Prismatic 1966 CHEVY CORVAIR MONZA!

As with most weeks here, I cover amazing rides owned by our fellow compadres and built to perfection. I’ve been doing this for over six years in The Malibu Surfside News, and I’ve seen some amazing rides.

But today’s Ride of the Week goes to a new friend who came to Wheels and Waves this past month. He’s a passionate enthusiast with a very unique ride that’s been done up in a very unique way. Having been in this industry for over 40 years now, I’ve gotten a chance to see finished results in quite a variety of forms. But this 1966 Chevy Corvair Monza owned by Manny Javier is a one-of-a-kind piece of art.

Javier has been a shutter installer and window cover consultant for around 20 years and his Corvair has a stock engine riding on 16-inch Dayton wheels and Vogue tires.

“I have no need for speed,” he said. “So I’m planning on leaving it as is. It runs slow to show the amazing lines and it picks up when it’s needed. I found this car back in early 1994 in an AutoTrader Magazine in the San Bernandino Riverside section. The guy was asking $3,995 [or best offer], and was in Corona.

“I had no car and asked my girlfriend then (wife now) to take me out to a place I previously never thought existed, and about two hours from home. I ended up paying $3,500 and the rest is history.”

Well, a good deal is a good deal when it comes to what you love.

But Javier’s story isn’t over yet. The ’80s TV show “CHiPs” was a big part of him and he always wanted  a late-model Corvair, he explained. They always ended up crashing them in the show on the freeways, he recalled.

“Ever since I seen one on that show, I was hooked on Corvairs,” he said.

And this is where it gets interesting.

“My car was sitting in my garage for a good 18 years, but just last April, I decided to get it out on the road again and the first thing I noticed was that paint job was shot dead with no hope of bringing it back,” he said. “So I started to sand it down myself and as I worked at it, was surprised on how many times the car had been painted. Same color but different tones. After about eight months of sanding to get it right, I am proud to say that this paint treatment is the best part of my car.”

Did you hear that, folks? Javier sanded this puppy for eight months! And it seriously shows. Hints of steel, aqua, primer reds, marigold and more peek through. You could literally stare at this car all day and still discover new things.

Javier doesn’t call this ’66 his daily driver as it’s had many repairs. But he’ll take any chance to take it for a spin.

“I brought it back to life to be driven … and to show my creative side,” he said.

And Javier’s final story brings it all full circle.

“I was in the Santa Monica Fourth of July Parade,” he tells me. “Having so many young kids looking at my car and giving me thumb’s up while moving along the Boulevard … took me back to the ’80s show where I’d seen my first Corvair.”

But driving in Malibu is a whole different experience, explains Javier. That journey involves getting the car all cleaned up the day before, packing up the ice chest, and hitting the 101 South to the Las Virgenes exit. Once Javier is on PCH, he is able to switch into vacation mode, with his windows down and his favorite tunes on the radio.

The sole reason people come to Malibu is to experience joy.  And there’s no better way than to cruise something cool into town and see all the smiling faces. According to Javier, he can’t wait for the next time he and his wife are out here in the ’66. Be sure to look up his Corvair on Instagram (@JAVIARTS) and see some of the amazing transformation photos.

Thanks Manny for sharing your incredible art with the world. If all of us followed our dreams, the world would be a beautiful place. But for now, Malibu will have to do.

Want to be featured in Ride of the Week? Send Fireball an email at askfireball@fireballtim.com.

Ride of the Week: A Mid-Century Modern Tour in a ’61 LINCOLN…

Sometimes, I can’t believe my life.

It seems like it just gets cooler and cooler every day and this experience I recently had would be a difficult one to better. But, as I live here in the ’Bu and anything is possible, I’m sure things will grow.

But the other day, I joined my friends Paul Grisanti (a Realtor here in Malibu) and David Neel from the Murphy Auto Museum in Oxnard to cruise through Malibu in this 1961 Lincoln Continental. Why? Well, I’m glad you asked. As we all love homes and architecture, Neel proposed that we go look at some cool mid-century modern homes in a mid-century classic. The look on the other Realtors’ faces were priceless.

All of them wanted the car to stay put and/or figure out a way for the home to be sold and include the vehicle. But, alas, we were only there to Vlog, look at the houses and get some really great shots of the car in the driveway. As we were driving though, I began to think about what life must have been like back then for a family who lived in one of those homes, and drove this car new. And if they could see us now, what might they think, I wondered.

Further, that made me wonder what people in 2069 might be driving and if they might be doing the same thing. Or would they be driving at all?

What exactly would a 2019 home look like to them? What would be considered cool?

As Grisanti cruised us through the neighborhoods, the countless thumbs up, stares and smiles peppered the experience with joy for me. We even had Neel’s little boy Max, who seemed to have a permanent perpetual smile on board. It was ridiculous how much fun we were having.

1961 was an interesting year. But having been born in ’65, I didn’t really get to experience it. I knew the Lincoln was never built to drive fast, but to cruise smoothly. I only wish we’d driven it more.

But, considering that the Murphy Museum has over 130 cars, we’ll be cruising many more times. If you see us, be sure to wave.

There are many ways to get around this town, but most people miss the opportunity to make the journey itself worthwhile. Sure, you leave your home with the intention to get somewhere, but as many of us leave late or anticipate traffic, we rush and can miss all the beauty this town has to offer.

So, my suggestion is and has always been to leave a bit early and fill your senses with automotive joy as you pass the azure sky, deep, big blue and lush green hills of Malibu.

Take a breather from the life journey, get out and soak up the sun. Convertibles work well, but so does just getting out of the car for 30 seconds and being present. Thanks to Grisanti and Neel, we all got to do exactly that in a ’61 Continental.

What will be next? I’m not sure, but it’ll be cool.

Want to be featured in Ride of the Week? Send Fireball an email at askfireball@fireballtim.com.

Ride of the Week… Rolling through Malibu in a CORVETTE GRAND SPORT

Originally posted in THE MALIBU SURFSIDE NEWS… Papers available in Malibu

I’m pretty sure I’ve created a monster. Yep, a Godzilla-sized monster. But, with a pleasant and huge smile.

My car show, Wheels and Waves, is quickly becoming a Malibu icon — not because of what I’m doing, but because of you. And you, and you … and don’t forget you. It’s you guys who are driving this thing forward and I’m grateful just to be along for the ride.

And speaking of rides, today’s Ride of the Week lands at the feet of Doug and Marissa Campbell.

As public relations, media and sales professionals for Hillbank Motor Sports, Superformance and Shelby Legendary Cars, these two not only have gas for blood, but have managed to acquire a Malibu level of enjoyment out of them.

I met these guys at the last show and I knew the car they were driving thanks to Jay Leno. But, let’s let Doug introduce us, shall we?

“Today, my wife, Marissa, and I are in a GM Corvette Grand Sport by Superformance,” he begins to explain. “The car was originally built for the Lingenfelter Booth at SEMA in 2016 and is one of our demonstrator cars. It is a continuation of the five original 1963 Corvette Grand Sport race cars.”

So, this means it’s fast. Like, Lingenfelter fast.

“These cars are built new from the ground up to 1963 Corvette Grand Sport Specs,” Doug continues. “The front suspension is modified a bit from 1963 to provide for better driveability, and the cars come with Wilwood power disc brakes.

“You can order the car with a number of options and this one has a lot – power steering, power windows, central locking, touring interior, and air conditioning.

Power is supplied by a GM Performance LS3 with Borla 8 Stack Electronic Fuel Injection as well as some Lingenfelter modifications putting out 525HP through a Tremec T56 six-speed transmission.

This particular car with all the power options and the touring interior weighs in at 2,900 pounds.”

OK, hold on. Did I just die, go to heaven and drive a brand new 1963 Corvette back to Malibu?

But then, Doug hits me again.

“We built the car in 2016 for the SEMA show,” he said. “It is manufactured by Superformance, which is headquartered in Irvine, California, where we have a showroom with about 70 cars including all varieties of Cobras, Daytona Coupes, GT40s, and of course Corvette Grand Sports.

This particular car serves as one of our demonstrator/press cars.”

Wait, press car? Doug tells us why.

“It’s so iconic, and different from any other Corvette you will see on the road,” he said. “Also, the fact that it is licensed by GM and the body is off the original mold from 1963 is very cool.

It gives you the real feel of a 1963 Grand Sport with great build quality and a much better driving experience than the original car. For me, it is the perfect marriage of old and new.”

According to these guys, the best part of this car is the sound. And trust me, I’ve heard it.

“The LS3 pumps out some incredible noises through the side pipes,” Doug said. “I have been driving this car for over two years now and the sound it makes will never, ever get old. Second to that is the view over the hood.

On a Grand Sport, it’s very unique to the five race cars and is a constant reminder that you are driving something very rare and special.

“I am lucky enough to get to drive it to shows on the weekend, which was the case last Sunday when my wife Marissa and I got to drive it up from our home in Newport Beach to Malibu for the Wheels and Waves at The Mart show.”

Hey, wait, pretty sure I’ve been to that show and it’s awesome.

Doug said he loves taking it to shows as he’ll typically run into two types of people: those who know the car well, and those who don’t

“One of my favorite things to do is share what I know about the cars with people and keep that incredible history alive,” he said.

But, of course, Ride of the Week is famous for its best story. And for these guys, it’s a doozie.

Recently, they shot an episode of ‘Jay Leno’s Garage’ for his YouTube channel.

“It was the first time I really had an opportunity to spend time with Jay and it was really cool to see how impressed he was with the car,” Doug said. “The one thing he mentioned over and over again was his disbelief that we were able to get GM to license the car.

“After he did a drive in the car with the owner of Superformance, Lance Stander, we had to take the car back into the studio to shoot some interior shots and video. This was at the end of the day and most people had left.

I was ready to drive the car back out and realized I was essentially alone in Jay’s garage, surrounded by some of the most incredible automobiles and motorcycles I had ever seen.

I hopped in the Grand Sport and drove out the entire length of the garage and all I could think was, ‘I’m driving the Grand Sport that Jay just drove through Jay Leno’s garage. Don’t do a burnout!’”

Well, as cool as Jay’s Garage is (I’ve been there), it’s nothing like mine. I have hundreds of cars. Of course, they are 1/64th scale and still in the package, but I can take them out any time.

Anyway, what do Doug and Marissa see in Malibu? He told me, and now I’m going to tell you.

“PCH through Malibu is some of the most beautiful coastline there is and such a great place to drive,” Doug said. “One of my other passions is surfing, so I love the fact that driving through Malibu combines my passions for both cars and surfing.

You see everything on the road from vintage trucks to the latest supercars, and while all that is going on … you can see people enjoying some pretty awesome waves. For me, it doesn’t get much better than that!”

Want to be featured in Ride of the Week? Send Fireball an email at askfireball@fireballtim.com.

Ride of the Week: Surfin’ Nostalgia aboard the Ray ’66 VW BUS…

It’s very hard to explain passion, excitement and positivity to someone who’s in a negative frame of mind.

You’ve all been there. No matter what you say, show them or reveal to them, they just focus on what’s bad. But this is where car culture comes in to save the day.

You can put a 10-year-old with a Hot Wheels, a 30-year-old with an MSeries BMW, a 55-year-old with a ’57 Chevy and an 85-year-old with a Model into the same room, and they cheer each other on. Why? How do cars generate and keep people happy? Well, it’s because positivity exists in the present. And the present is where love, creativity and flow exists. So, let’s get into it with this week’s Ride of the Week.

Enter Dan Ray, a retired food service guru, who drives a 1966 Sundial Camper VW Bus.

With a 1776 CC Motor and Dual Weber Carbs, the Buster has a freeway flyer IRS transaxle. All rebuilt brand new. According to Ray, it’s safe and cruises up to about 75 mph on the freeway.

Ray and his wife, Connie, bought the bus five years ago.

“We immediately started the restoration process, which took approximately two years,” Ray explains. “This bus was in OK shape with some body work done and was painted on a rotisserie inside and out.”

For Ray, the car provides a trip down memory lane, as he had a ’63 VW bus in his high school and college years, when he was a traveling surfer dude.

“I used to go down to Mexico and actually went up to Haight-Ashbury in 1969 after graduating from high school to check it out,” Ray said. “Amazing memories and such a great time. I got this car because it brings back those memories.”

And that it does. A rolling museum piece that exudes cool.

But the best part of the car for Ray? 

“I’m into woodworking and so I believe the best part of the car is the wood interior using more [than] seven different types of woods,” he said. “It reminds me of how they used to build surfboards back in the day. The license plate says ‘LBZRULE,’ which means longboards rule and would be the general overall theme for the van.”

Now, for those of you non-surf-dudes, a longboard is for those who want a soft-carving cruise on the wave instead of the hyper shorties that splash, spray and twist your back into a pretzel. The bottom line is, longboards do rule.

“We love going to car shows like Wheels and Waves in Malibu and hanging out at the beach,” Ray said. 

And you got an extra Hot Wheels coming to ya because you plugged my show. Good on ya, mate.

But as far as stories go, Ray tells a surf diddy.

“This bus was chosen to ride in the 2016 Huntington Beach Fourth of July parade,” he recalls. “I had Australian surfer Peter Townend riding shotgun with me (first world champion of surfing) which was a lot of fun and a great honor.”

Pretty sure that’s the slowest best driving story I’ve gotten yet. And if you know Peter Townend, it’s also a doozie.

And what do Ray and the fam love about driving in Malibu? In his own words: “Malibu is the most classic surf town ever. I can’t help but dream about what it must have been like to surf there in the ’50s and ’60s. Nothing more fun than driving down coast highway and eating at one of the many restaurants in town.”

And although I personally wasn’t here in the ’60s, my wife was. And she said it was spectacular, but so is today.

And that’s a true statement of being present and appreciating what you have. Back in the day was grand, but someone will say the same thing about today in another 50 years.

Thanks for being my Ride of the Week, Dan!

Want to be featured in Ride of the Week? Send Fireball an email at askfireball@fireballtim.com.