‘Shorty’s Dream Shop’ showcases Latino car culture through a Midlothian garage – The Dallas Morning News
Tucked away less than the half-mile off U. S. Highway 67 in Midlothian sits a shop of dreams. Sights of Chevy Impalas and the bones associated with what was and will again become a Volkswagen Bus suggest you’ve arrived.
Inside Shorty’s Custom Paint, Javier “Shorty” Ponce houses his collection of past and future. A glistening sage-and-black lowrider he restored and customized himself is parked proudly in the middle of the garage area below American and Mexican flags hanging from the banisters.
He points to the classic car as a prime example associated with his painting style: “Subtle, but it’s going to be catchy. ”
That also describes Ponce, an unassuming soon-to-be reality TV star whose work speaks for him. When Shorty’s Dream Shop premieres Nov. 16 on MotorTrend TV, he’ll join the likes of Dallas’ Richard Rawlings and Austin’s Jesse James as gearheads who gained celebrity from their intricate function restoring plus tricking out cars, trucks and motorcycles.
On a recent afternoon, the TV crew was filming the remaining scenes of the 10-episode series. At a producer’s instructions, Ponce slid into the particular driver’s seat of a newly restored vehicle, stepped on the brakes, turned on the lights, revved the engine. Then he repeated the sequence, as videographers crouched near the exhaust plus beyond the particular garage doors.
Ponce isn’t a novice at fact TV. Shorty, a high school nickname in reference to his height, was a regular upon Iron Resurrection , another Texas-based MotorTrend show in its sixth season. That series follows a small crew that transform rusted-out motorcycles and cars before selling them to the highest bidders.
Whenever Ponce left the show before its 2020 time of year debut, fans made YouTube videos theorizing and later explaining why Ponce has been no longer a cast member. (He still left to spend time with his granddaughter and attend to the work mounting in his own shop).
The 58-year-old Oak Cliff native is known in the classic car restoration world because one associated with the best painters in the business.
More than 44, 000 traditional car aficionados follow Ponce on Facebook, where he invites fans to stop by car shows, snag their latest merchandise decorated with a Shorty cartoon or watch him work in his “kitchen, ” the paint studio. The network series following him and his crew serves as a vehicle for him to do more of what he said he’s truly passionate about: “I prefer to just be working on cars. ”
Customers bring cars in order to him inside various stages of disrepair, so the particular cost of the makeover depends on the starting condition as well as the final goal. Since Ponce and his staff charge by the hour, the price could ring in from $30, 000 to somewhere around $700, 000.
His brother-in-law introduced him to car repair from spending weekends with junk yards, picking up potential parts. “Even on 10 years old, I knew what I wanted to do with my life, ” Ponce said. “I just understood that I wanted to work on cars. ”
After owning plus operating a collision repair shop in Walnut Cliff with regard to 20 years and working at a local dealership regarding 20 years prior to that, Ponce desired to focus on the corner of car culture that has long intrigued him — restoring the particular classics.
So 10 many years ago, Ponce opened Shorty’s Custom Color. In that period, he stated he’s transformed at least the couple of hundred vehicles. He and his crew fix cars “Texas-style. ” While there’s no strict definition, it is what feels right in order to the team, with each restoration seen as artwork.
Jerry Mata Sr. of Wylie watched Ponce on Iron Resurrection and was enamored with his work.
“He’s a total professional, ” Mata, 75, mentioned of Ponce. “He’s a perfectionist. He wants everything done right. ”
For decades, Mata, a Vietnam veteran who is visually impaired, restored classic cars together with his sons. Mata told their youngest son they should see whether Ponce would paint the latest vehicle they had been operating on. Right after Mata’s child emailed Ponce, he heard back within minutes. Then the two worked to surprise Mata having a transformed 1969 Chevy C-10 truck painted and personalized by Ponce and his crew.
The particular son gave Ponce free reign about the color choice for the truck, the privilege Ponce knows he’s earned only by years of hard function. He opted for a two-tone white and blue design with leather interiors.
“The shine on it is like the mirror, ” Mata said. “You can stand four or five feet away from the door or the bed and you can actually see yourself. … It’s absolutely beautiful. ”
The truck is now Mata’s prized possession. The other day he pulled the particular Chevy out from the garage and went inside the house. When it suddenly started raining, this individual ran as fast because he could toward the truck to return this towards the safety of the garage area, “like a little boy or something, ” Mata joked.
“When I pulled it into the garage I thought, ‘My goodness, this really means a lot to me, ’ ” Mata stated. “I’m very appreciative associated with Shorty making my dreams come true. ”
Throughout the collection, Ponce works on more than a dozen different cars. This individual speaks of each one like a child because that’s how he views them. He’s bringing in new life to a family, so he is meticulous plus careful. The particular building process can serve as a way to memorialize a loved one and grow closer to one another.
“It’s much more than a father-and-son experience, ” Mata said. “This brought us to a father, boy, best friend experience. The feeling is completely out of this world. ”
Andrew Ebel, chief operating officer of The particular GoodGuys Rod & Customized Association, the classic car show now based at Texas Motor Speedway within Fort Worth, said the association’s events see generations of vehicle enthusiasts, especially with Latinos who involve their inner circle throughout the restoration procedure.
“One the particular neatest things about the Latino car culture is the fact associated with how family-oriented it really is, ” Ebel mentioned.
Latinos have long contributed to and led car customization tradition in the particular U. H. With roots dating back in order to the 1940s in Los Angeles, Latinos possess restored plus customized traditional cars along with candy colors and bounce. The refurbished cars were initially seen as a way of resisting an American society that often suppressed the creativity and pride associated with its minorities, wrote Mexico City-based writer Nili Blanck in Smithsonian Magazine .
“Our culture is beautiful, ” Ponce said. “If we decide to express it by driving a lowrider, with hydraulics, to me, that’s art. ”
The Latino community’s commitment in order to maintaining the legacy associated with car builders before them is evident in the particular intricate paintwork and the attention to detail in the chrome work as well as the interior, Ebel stated. But since the automotive scene evolves and changes, Latinos furthermore drive the industry forward with profound early adoption of new styles.
“They’re helping set the trends for the particular future of what this car tradition is all about, ” Ebel stated.
Ponce describes taking a drive inside one associated with his six classic vehicles as a good expression of his accomplishments. Given the time plus investment required to restore and customize a classic car, the vehicle becomes the signal associated with the driver’s prosperity.
He’ll play classic rock or ranchero music, like that will of Philippine singer-songwriter Vicente Fernández.
“If I could put some ‘Chente on, plus I’m cruising, aw man, there’s no feeling like it, ” he mentioned, putting one arm away as if grabbing a steering wheel. “You’re proud of what you did, due to the fact I did this. ”
Ponce hopes he or she can be a role model to others like your pet who find themselves fascinated by the classic vehicles.
“It’s one of my duties, to show that no matter what, you can make it and be someone, ” he said. “It’s important for me, for that Latino kids to see that someone who had a passion intended for restoring traditional cars could get somewhere. ”