Things are heating up for THE FIREBALL GALLERY opening on May 11th at The Murphy Auto Museum. All the artists are locked and getting ready…

Who are they? Well, I’m glad you asked.

WES NIELSEN… Automotive Photographer

GEOFF OMBAO… Automotive Illustrator

CHRIS GARCIA… Automotive Illustrator




ORIGINAL VON DUTCH VELOCETTE BIKE FINAL STRIPING – FIREBALL MALIBU VLOG 905 – Master Pinstriper Johnny Martinez put the final stripes on an original Von Dutch original Velocette Motorcycle.

Visit THE FIREBALL GALLERY at the Murphy Auto Museum…

THE FIREBALL GALLERY is the World’s Best Nostalgic Automotive Art Gallery at The Murphy Auto Museum in Oxnard California, dedicated to creating awareness for creative artists in the Automotive community. Photographers, Sculptors, Painters, Illustrators, Cartoonists, Pinstripers. Every three months, the Gallery will rotate 5-10 artists.

To Submit your work, EMAIL 12 pieces as small jpgs to Fireball Tim Lawrence – Fireball Gallery Director at



The Murphy Auto Museum – 1930 Eastman, Oxnard, CA 93030

(805) 487-4333

Ride of the Week… The Long Lost VON DUTCH BIKE FOUND!

I’m always amazed at how the universe manages to pull things together based on people’s passions. And this story exemplifies that in many ways.

A longtime friend of mine, Bob Clark, and his co-conspirator, Greg Weier, were minding their own business back in 1971 when Weier spotted a used motorcycle on the side of a trailer park in the Valley. He consulted Clark and they went to look at the bike together.

It was a classic Velocette owned by a guy who live in the park itself. After looking the bike over, Weier (with some prodding from Clark), bought it for $350. The seller was none other than infamous pinstriper Kenny Howard, also known as Von Dutch. Yes, that Von Dutch.

“He didn’t call himself Von Dutch at the time,” Weier said. “But he was known as a really great pinstriper.”

Clark and Weier took the bike home and immediately began to pull it apart, re-chroming and painting with the idea of turning it into a chopper. But over the next several years, Weier basically rode the bike around town and it eventually went into storage in the early ’80s. And there it sat for almost 30 years, in Weier’s garage collecting dust and getting covered with a variety of garage material.

In 2012, Clark and Weier began to get the bug again and started tinkering. Over the next seven years, they off and on fixed the bike up. But, now knowing that it was a Von Dutch original, the idea of a chopper waned in light of a full, original restoration. And that’s exactly what they did.

Then, about two months ago, Clark came to me and mentioned that the bike was nearly finished but needed to get pinstriped. And that’s when I called my buddy, master pinstriper Johnny Martinez from Ventura. 

“Hey, Johnny, wanna stripe something truly unique?” I asked.

If he wasn’t wearing his black glasses, I’m pretty sure his eyes would have popped out of his head. (I’m glad I didn’t see that.)

And that’s where we came up with the idea for Martinez to stripe the tanks and fender at last weekend’s Wheels and Waves here in Malibu. Martinez did his job with about 30 people watching, blasting music and, yes, with his black specs on. It was a sight to behold.

This week, the final stripes will be placed and full assembly of the bike will begin. According to Clark and Weier, with their schedules — Clark is a sculptor in the film industry and Weier is a contractor — the bike should come together over the next few months. And if it turns out half as good as I expect, it should command a pretty penny at auction. How many original Von Dutch bikes are out there? Who knows, but this one is spectacular.

The goal is to tour the bike through the museums and shows to get the word out, let people see it and maybe let a few select people ride it. But one thing is for sure. We can thank Clark and Weier for securing a piece of motorcycle history — a memory we can all appreciate and one that may get us looking through our garages to see what we might have missed.

Good on ya, boys!

Want to be featured in Ride of the Week? Send Fireball an email at


WORLD CLASS PINSTRIPER JOHNNY MARTINEZ – FIREBALL MALIBU VLOG 837 – Fireball introduces us to World-renowned Car Guy and Professional Pinstriper Johnny Martinez and his 1929 Ford Hot Rod Truck.


WHEELS AND WAVES MALIBU CAR SHOW – FIREBALL MALIBU VLOG 829 – Fireball’s Wheels and Waves Malibu Car Show is in a new Location, so they do it… then take off in Tony Dow’s 1962 Corvair for a joyride to Ventura. Also featured is Johnny’s Martinez’s ’29 Ford!


2018 CLASSIC AUTO SHOW GOES OFF! – FIREBALL MALIBU VLOG 757 – Fireball heads to the 2nd Annual 2018 Classic Auto Show at the LA Convention Center for amazing rides.

R2-D2 serves as guest of honor at Fireball’s recent Wheels and Waves show…

Photo: Scott Martin @carshowaholic – Johnny Martinez hangs with R2.

I think it’s safe to say that Santa Claus has visited many car shows across the USA.

He was spotted around Christmas perusing the cool cars everywhere, handing out toys and giving good cheer. But I also think it’s safe to say that no one has ever seen Star Wars’ R2-D2 at a car show … until recently.

December’s Wheels and Waves show in Malibu was visited by none other than the tiny superstar protocol droid, as I recently was informed that he loves cars. Well, he loves spaceships, Princess Leia and cars.

But when I found out that he was cruising above the ’Bu in his personal X-Wing, I flagged him down to be my guest for Wheels and Waves at The Malibu Country Mart.

He spent nearly the whole show getting photos, selfies and admiring the muscle cars, hot rods and even chatting it up with Santa. We had a great time, and it reminded me that good cheer shouldn’t be reserved just for the holidays.

I mentioned to R2-D2 that I wanted him to pick the best of show, which he did. And after much deliberation, R2 whizzed up to Johnny Martinez’s 1929 Ford Model-A truck with its amazing Black Cherry paint. Martinez has been to Wheels and Waves many times, but never with droids.

So when R2 spun to see his creation, he twizzed and weetled around it like a child.

Johnny has been working on this truck for a long time and it was a real treat to get a shot with R2 at the show, as he’s a pretty big A-lister here in town (as well as the galaxy).

“Not too many Ford Model As on other planets,” he chirped.

“The only thing I wish is that 3PO were here to see these cool cars,” R2-D2 added. “But our movie just came out and he’s promoting on a different planet.”

Yeah, I can see how that would be tough.

We had a lot of celebrities at Wheels and Waves in 2017, including Tony Dow, Paul Moyer, Jonathan Banks and Dick Van Dyke. But I have to say that having R2-D2 and Santa together was quite a treat.

“I’m a big fan of that little guy,” expressed the great snowy one. “If only the Sith Lords could come to a car show like R2, they’d be less of a bummer all the time.

Cool cars just make you smile and if Darth had gotten behind the wheel of a ’69 Camaro, I’m sure you’d see his frown turn upside down!”

No better words have ever been spoken. Thanks, St. Nick.

It’s going to be hard to top having R2 at my shows in 2018, but the door is open to all you celebrities out there reading this right now. Wanna play in our sandbox of cool cars? Don’t take life so seriously and get your butt over here like R2-D2. I’ve got piping hot, free coffee and a Hot Wheels with your name on it.

The next Wheels and Waves show is scheduled for Jan. 21.

Want to be featured in Ride of the Week? Send Fireball an email at