“Riding in Style: The Sleek 1938 Ford Deluxe Coupe Owned by Castillo”

For many individuals, a vehicle is simply a mode of transportation. However, for some, a strong emotional connection is formed, especially with vintage cars. Roger Castillo experienced this firsthand when he acquired his 1938 Ford as he immediately felt a deep attachment to it.

Roger’s journey with the Ford began when he received it from his friend in Santa Monica, California. His buddy Eric had owned the vehicle for a while and had made some modifications to it, such as changing the floor pans and upgrading the trim in certain areas. Eric’s plan was to sell the car, and Roger expressed his interest in purchasing it when the time came. Eventually, Roger was in the market for a new project, so he contacted car builder Mike Bello of Bello’s Kustoms in San Diego. Mike had previously customized a ’52 Chevy Fleetline for Roger, and he was a big fan of Mike’s distinctive style. Roger informed Mike that he was on the lookout for a pre-war style car and had always admired the ’40 Ford.

Mike had recently stumbled upon a 1938 Ford on Craigslist, and while it wasn’t the exact car that Roger was looking for, he decided to check it out anyways. To his surprise, it turned out to be the same ’38 model that his friend in Santa Monica had recently put up for sale. Roger wasted no time in calling Eric and letting him know that he was interested in purchasing the vehicle. Although Eric had received a few other offers, he trusted that Roger would take good care of the car and agreed to sell it to him.

Despite the fact that the car was in good condition and still running with its original flathead motor and manual transmission, the paint job was just primer and had already started to rust due to exposure to the elements. Once the car was delivered to Mike, he and Roger immediately began discussing plans for the build. While Roger was eager to start with the chop, they both agreed that the first step would be to modernize the car before moving onto any further modifications.

After removing the old factory mill, a Chevy 327 engine was installed with a Turbo 350 transmission and a new Mustang II front end. The car’s brakes were upgraded, and a rear-end from a 77 Granada was added to improve its driving performance. The vehicle was air-bagged on all sides with a custom four-link by Bello in the rear, allowing for a smoother ride. For about a year, Roger enjoyed cruising around in the car, even taking it to the Grand National Roadster Show. However, the next step was to give the car a new look, which would be achieved through a chop. Roger specifically requested that the chop be done in Bello’s Custom style, recognizing Mike’s unique approach to top chops and sophisticated body modifications.

He allowed Mike to take charge of the decision-making and as a result, the roof was trimmed by five inches and the split-window frame was laid down. The skirts were then mounted flush with the body and blended in seamlessly. Once the bodywork was completed and primed, the discussion turned to the colors. As a fan of Mike’s work, Roger wanted his opinion. They decided on a satin sheen to accentuate the Art Deco body’s flowing curves. Two colors were recommended: Gold or Champagne Satin from Kustom Shop. Roger chose Champagne, which Mike agreed with. It’s worth noting that Mike already knew which color he was going to use – an artist knows their canvas.

When working on a project, things can change and grow over time. This was certainly the case for Mike and Roger’s car project. After admiring the progress they had made with the car’s exterior, Mike proposed that they tackle the interior next. They both agreed that the weathered, vintage look of the dash added character and should remain as is. However, they opted to install a new red tuck and roll leather interior, which gave the car’s inside a fresh new look. The shiny gold of the body and the deep red interior complemented each other perfectly, resulting in a stunning finished product. This was the final touch for this phase of Roger’s project, and they were both thrilled with the outcome.

Mike accomplished a major transformation of the car that Roger gave him in just seven months. He worked on the exterior, including the paint job, and also made changes to the car’s interior. The result is a stunning vintage car with unique features that enhance its elegance and sophistication.

Roger had faith in Mike’s abilities and was pleased with the outcome – a one-of-a-kind Bello’s Kustom that commands attention at every exhibition. It remains to be seen how the vehicle will continue to evolve, as we all know that no venture is ever truly complete.

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