2017 Catalog Cover Car

 Joe Monohan's 1954 Buick Special (front view)

Joe Monahan's 1954 Buick Special hardtop is a period-perfect 50's style Kustom. Growing up in Southern California's San Fernando Valley in the 1950's, Joe was surrounded by the custom car and hot rod culture. "Great Balls of Fire" reflects a lifetime love of the period's unique style.

In 1994, having no luck finding a good '55 Cadillac, Joe answered an ad for a '54 Buick Century. By the time he got there, the Century and been sold, but this two door Special hardtop was still available. Joe liked the look and general condition, so a deal was struck.

When Joe got the car home, he set about building the car he envisioned. No stranger to mechanical and bodywork, he soon had the project moving in the right direction. The body was nosed and decked, the front headlights were tunneled and peaked, and the rear received a set of frenched '59 Caddy taillights. The door handles were shaved, but the trademark Buick portholes remained---with the addition of purple marker lights.

The Buick's chassis was modified to accommodate an air ride suspension front and rear, with 4" drop spindles and 4-wheel disc brakes. Under the hood sits a '64 Buick 401 Nailhead with an Edelbrock 4bbl carburetor and intake. A set of our BNH1 silver ceramic coated headers send the exhaust to the under chassis exhaust system. Shifting is handled by a TH400 automatic transmission and hooked to a '78 Caddy rear axle. The wheels are stock 15" x 6" steel with Coker WWW tires and stainless '55 Caddy hubcaps.

Inside the car are more period touches, including white vinyl tuck and toll seats with purple piping and laminated "teardrop" dash knobs. An Ididit steering column with a restored stock steering wheel, 32" Lokar shifter with a custom boot are also featured, along with a traditional accessory gauge cluster mounted below the pinstriped dash. Joe credits Joel's Custom Upholstery in Upland, CA with the interior work.

The beautiful candy purple was mixed and applied by Bob at Bob's Customs in Upland, CA, where the fanatic flames were laid out and shot by Quicksilver, who also added the classic pin striping. Since completion, Joe has put many miles on the car and won numerous awards. "Great Balls of Fire" is truly a rolling work of art, and we're pleased to have it on the cover of our 2017 Catalog!

Joe Monohan's 1954 Buick (interior)

Joe Monohan's 1954 Buick (interior)