West Coast Report – First Edition

Welcome to the first edition of West Coast Eastwood — Eastwood’s weekly blogazine that’s tapped directly into the West Coast pulse and dedicated to the gearhead lifestyle worldwide.

Hi, my name is John Gilbert and I’m the guy that’s going to be putting this electronic rag together each week. Some of you might recognize my name as the former editor of Tailgate, Custom Classic Trucks, or American Truck. In addition to trucks, I edited a custom car magazine, plus some motorcycle magazines.

The opportunity to photograph and edit for the various automotive titles through the years has given me the chance to meet and become friends with a lot of my heroes. I’ve seen, and learned a bunch of cool things I would have never had access to otherwise, so now it’s time to archive it all for the ages.

It’s the really cool and neat fun things that are going to guide the editorial direction of West Coast Eastwood.  Please scroll down and you’ll find a preview of what’s in store for WCE followers.

—    John Gilbert


Weekly tech and more presented from my home living room motorcycle shop — A 16×16-foot area is too large a space just to waste on a dumb couch and TV.

I revived the House of Choppers name snagging it from a chopper shop Bob Berry operated in the ‘70s located on Arrow Highway in Azusa, California (special thanks to Kit Maira at Easyriders for the fact check).

Speaking of Easyriders that’s where I got my start in the magazine biz. My first House of Choppers project is the “Phantom” bike, a one-off 1999 CMC/Indian custom built for Easyriders’ editor, Dave Nichols. I bought the Phantom bike from Dave in 2001 while producing Tailgate for Easyriders Inc. and rode its wheels off in no time.

The bike is kind of thrashed now, but after a soon to come ground up rebuild the end goal is to get the Phantom bike featured in Easyriders… Just because Dave is a good friend isn’t a guarantee the bike will make the grade.


From the inside looking out… Cruises— shows— event coverage from the Donut Derelicts in Huntington Beach, California to the Syracuse Nationals in upstate New York. I took these shots at the 2012 Syracuse Nationals while on assignment for Classic Trucks.


Inspired by The End? an extremely popular Custom Classic Trucks last page showing derelict classic trucks. It’s fun to dream, Game Over? will take it a few steps further and feature all kinds of abandoned vehicles, or automobile objects.


Here’s West Coast Eastwood’s weekly wild card, the departments listed below will alternate, and appear as stories develop.


Naturally some emphasis is going to be on showing how to use Eastwood products, and what’s the latest and greatest from, but true to Eastwood’s open forum policy we’re going to take a refreshing unfiltered approach to tech features… None of the usual propaganda — just getting down to business.


It’s always interesting to walk into a shop and see what a man’s commitment to his art is. As far as my old truck will take me I’ll be visiting home and pro shops alike.


Interviews with industry icons and gifted unknowns. Upcoming plans are to visit with Dennis Ricklefs, Chip Foose, Gary Chopit, and keep things moving from there.


Features all the bikes, cars and trucks that just don’t fit into an existing magazine’s format… Stay tuned, we might chop this super low-mileage ’84 Rolls, and stuff a 392 Hemi in it… maybe weld up and shave those ugly back doors? How about slamming a ’77 Ford LTD II Police Interceptor just like the LTD II cop cars that chased Rambo in First Blood?


Yes, it’s a thinly veiled near knockoff of American Restoration. Start-to-finish I’ll tear into restoring gas pumps, lawnmowers, old bicycles, mini-bikes, display engines, vintage paint scales… you name it.


Anything Hot-Rod or Street Rod related is going to be found here. Here’s a series of road trip photos taken last August, 2012 when I drove a chopped Model A the long route from Florida to California. Look forward to features, tech, and likely some more hot-rod road trips.


Here’s where our musclecar coverage will be found and yes, we’re not going to leave out musclecars built in Canada exclusively for the Canadian market. The cars shown are a’64 Olds 442 B09 * ’61 Ford Z-code Sunliner with tri-power * ’62 Ford M-code Galaxie 500.


Cars, Parts, & things; not a classified section, but a listing of cool things that really are for sale.

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  • John Gilbert

    February 23rd, 2013

    Hey, look it works!

  • Raymond

    February 23rd, 2013

    Cool !

  • J Jerry Dow

    February 24th, 2013

    This looks great. thanks for a fun morning read.

  • Gene

    February 24th, 2013

    This is going to be interesting and inspiring! Looking forward to it…

  • Dave

    February 24th, 2013

    That was really great. I enjoyed Reading everything and where you guys were finding Cars at to rebuild. It’s just amazing how you guys can take a car that looks like totally nothing and turn it into a nice looking Custom car or truck. I mean just finding a lot of the Parts to do some of them had to be a pain in itself. Thanks for posting the Pic’s and the stories it was great.

  • Kit Maira

    February 24th, 2013

    Looking forward to seeing some cool stories. Dig the garage/living room.

  • george herd

    February 24th, 2013

    well my best barn find this year was a 75 trans am with a 71 t/a front end i’m going to convert rear section to a 71 t\a very streight car ,put in a cut and narrowed 9 in rear end in and tubbed i got a set of 40 in tire’s tucked looks cool as hell .this is my first builted in27 years i forgot how much i love car’s ,i lived in san diego and loved running cruise nights valley parkway in escondido ca which it’s called cruising grand now ,last year i finally made it back to san deigo after 32 years ,all those’s great memories came rushing back,when i seen escondido had cruise night, and what a great tribute to all the hot rodders .i didn’t get ba chance to see if 2nd st in elcajon ca or get up to l.a. and check out scooters .seen your blog here on eastwood thought i’d leave a message and getting ready to order my paint.oh ONE MORE THING I WAS SO SORRY TO HEAR ABOUT P.A.W. WENT OUT OF BUSINESS IN L.A. THEY WERE GOOD PEOPLE LOVED THERE PRICE’S AND PARTS

  • douglas birgfeld [BIG D}

    February 24th, 2013

    my late brother and i use-to build hot rod years a go, i have built a 3 car garage to build hot rods gain in his honor. i think i a few builds left in me. i will build what i know, old school hot rods. we use to drag race in the jersey circuit like English town,looking for a roller ore a body and frame, should have garage up and running this spring. SEEYA BIG doug

  • John

    February 24th, 2013

    Know where I can find a 1970 Roadrunner parts car / rolling stock? Anywhere close to Washington state would be nice, Thanks.

  • Mike Flemming

    February 24th, 2013

    Looks like a great blog. Have been out of the scene for a long time and am looking forward to getting back in. I’m into muscle cars and bikes but enjoy all the articles. Keep ‘um coming!

  • Helene Conlon

    February 24th, 2013

    I love this article with all the pics and it’s truly an inspiration. I’m going to make a big move to Florida from Massachusetts in the future and I’ve been juggling with whether I should bring my beloved 1978 Chevy Malibu Classic that has been rear ended back in 1992. I bought it back from the insurance to restore, hopefully the frame is align and it is just the rear tail bent and can be cut and reweld a new piece. I rebuilt the 305 as an all stock. This article and hopefully many more will keep my hopes up. Thanks, Helene

  • Ben White....Big Boyz Bikes

    February 24th, 2013

    Like one of the other commenters said ” I keep my hand in doing Harleys and Vettes in memory of my late Brother and Partner.” Some day maybe my Son will pick up where we left off. Keep the blog coming.

  • Michael Lehner

    February 24th, 2013

    I just scrolled top to bottom looking at this. Not once did I accidentally touch some advertisement that took me to a new website, forcing me to rebuild a lawnmower engine to get back to where I was. Now I like that!

    So keep that up and don’t start cluttering up the right side column with ads.

    Thanks and good luck!
    From : Cedar Rapids, Iowa

  • Troy Pilcher

    February 24th, 2013

    Hi, love your article and I was really excited to see pics of that 65 ford. Although it looked more ruff than any other truck shown, I never see anything that highlights a truck like mine. Every mag I find has a way over the top build on a Chevy truck. Never anything just to help a guy out putting something back to basic stock. Question… Where can I find more inspiration and information on rebuilds on how to do stuff on fords?

  • Bruce H.Perry

    February 24th, 2013

    Looks like you have some interesting toppics

  • Gil

    February 24th, 2013

    Glad Eastwood brought you onboard to start this rag. Great start!

  • Greg

    February 24th, 2013

    Good luck with the new rag, keep the good stuff coming

  • George E. McCollam

    February 25th, 2013

    Great start,
    I’m attempting to put a Hotrod “54 Dodge Pick up together. I got a great start on it, all the metal work , chopped top done and other stuff. Then I got sick, that slowed me down. Now I feel better and I’m working hard to get it going again and get it correctly finished.
    I am betting that I’ll get lots of good ideas and better ways to do them.
    Looking forward.
    George (in Maryland where it’s cold still.)

  • Sandy

    February 25th, 2013

    Great idea can’t wait to see the next blog. Eastwood really has a finger on the pulse of customizing.

  • Jerry and Suzanne

    February 25th, 2013

    Nice Site…..Working on a 1938 Dodge Humpback RC 1/2 ton. Found it last winter, and have spent the last year gathering parts and started on the frame. The nice thing is this truck is from Station Island Cleaners Truck #6. Hope to have it completed by Auto Rama in Detroit 2014. Then drive it to Staton Island……..Have a Mopar 318/904 trans 8 1/4 271 rear axle for the Highway. Plan to fill the hole in the roof with a cloth sunroof .

  • Don

    February 25th, 2013

    Looking forward to the Seek and Restore section. Always need inside info on how to fix something up.
    Good luck to the blogazine!!!

  • John Gilbert

    February 25th, 2013

    Thank you all, so much for the positive response! West Coast Eastwood will be heavily driven by reader input, and I following what you folks are saying real close.

    This first edition is a preview of what’s to come, in the second edition, next week we’re rockin’ and rollin’.

    Thank you!

    John G.

  • Chris Robb

    February 25th, 2013

    Did I understand correctly, you’re not only going to visit the ultra dollar, mega budget, know no bounds shops…but the real shops, where the real “work” comes out of, and the projects are cool on a “shoestring” type dollar amount? The “Average Guy” shop? The shops that don’t scratch build cars in seven days? I’m the director of a bunch of gearheads, that are all Veterans too…all volunteer, and all donation based from local companies. We build a project, learn some skills along the way, and eventually show what we did. Last year was HAN and a 69 Mustang…this year is a 53 Henry J gasser…come see us, you might like what you see.

  • Chris Robb

    February 25th, 2013

    Also in addition to my last post, is a 76 Vega getting a BBC, and possibly a pre-runner of the Ford 150 type

  • Jerry

    February 25th, 2013

    great thanks

  • Matthew Kelleher

    February 25th, 2013

    Always great to have a blog about the “Car Coast”; Hemmings seems to think that all the good cars are on the East Coast; glad to see the change. When will they open a “West Coast” office ? I would however rename your blog “Southern California Coast” due to the total lack of Nor Cal content. We have a few guys up here (Brizio, Moal, etc) that are cutting edge rodders; to omit them and others is a real mistake. Give me a call and I can show you around the vibrant NOR Cal car scene.

  • Andy U.

    February 25th, 2013

    Glad to see you in print again, Johnny Boy!! Make no mistake about J. GILBERT readers. Money, size of shop, tools, hoists, what ever the case, john will bring you the cool be it new old, two or four wheels or what ever. You will be amassed at the photos and text you are about to see. You will have fun checking to see what John will do next… Now, I don’t have to get up at 3.00am on Saturday mornings to get to Donut Derelicts to get the latest from John!! Good luck Pal… ANDY

  • nelson bojorge

    February 25th, 2013

    Good job buddy…!!!
    I´ll be waiting for more.Thanks.

  • carlos sanchez

    February 26th, 2013

    way cool, nice to know that i am not alone when it comes to cars. this is great can’t wait for more.

  • Norm Marshall

    February 27th, 2013

    Great talking to you on the 25th. This is a great site to follow, and neat pics of the coupe you drove out.


  • Roger

    March 1st, 2013


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