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Hot Rods Tijuana upholstery.

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by woodiewagon46, Apr 13, 2020.

  1. woodiewagon46
    Joined: Mar 14, 2013
    Posts: 1,646

    from New York

    About two months ago we discussed a topic on this site about Tijuana upholstery jobs. Let me post an article that is in the March/April of the V-8 Times, the magazine put out by the V-8 Ford Club of America. About 50 some odd years ago, when he was a sophomore in high school a young man purchased a 1932 Ford three window coupe. It was a father and son project. They drove the car to Tijuana for a paint and upholstery job. He was given a quote and was told, two days for completion of the job. He and his dad stayed in Tijuana sightseeing and checking on the car. He drove the car every day for a few years until he purchased a new car and stored the car in his dad's garage for over 50 years.
    His dad died two years ago and his mom and he agreed to re-do the '32 as a tribute to his father. He trailered the car to several shops in Tijuana and got an estimate and receipt from the shop that he selected to do the job and was told to return in 6 weeks. After 6 weeks he returned to pick up his '32. When he entered the shop and asked where the car was he was told, "What old car, You didn't bring a car here, I don't know what you are talking about, you must be in the wrong place". He called the Tijuana police and the police talked to the manager of the body shop in Spanish for 15 minuets and told him they don't have your car and we can't do anything about it, even though the owner had the pink slip and the estimate from the body shop. He hired a Mexican attorney that was no help at all. He has offered rewards, hired a private investigator and working with the police was in vain. If anyone has an idea about bringing their car to Tijuana for a paint or upholstery job you better think again!
  2. Jalopy Joker
    Joined: Sep 3, 2006
    Posts: 24,921

    Jalopy Joker

    sad naive story - what was done in Tijuana 50 years ago is not a way to gauge things now - back in the day no person would have left their car alone for 6 hours, much less 6 weeks, to have work done down there - there are many levels of workmanship and prices for work to be done in US to fit most anyone's budget - why go to a foreign country for it, even for the nostalgia factor ? -
    ted kovacs, Hombre and mad mikey like this.
  3. BadgeZ28
    Joined: Oct 28, 2009
    Posts: 1,044

    from Oregon

    I feel for the family but T.J. and Mexico are nothing like they were 50 years ago. Adios Deuce.
    Lil32, Hombre, Gasser 57 and 2 others like this.
  4. Hemi Joel
    Joined: May 4, 2007
    Posts: 821

    Hemi Joel
    from Minnesota

    SAd story. It's easy enuff to get ripped off in the USA, I can't imagine the risk involved with going to Mexico.
    VANDENPLAS, Lil32, Hombre and 4 others like this.
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  5. sfowler
    Joined: Sep 14, 2011
    Posts: 42


    sad sad story , but who hasn,t seen the movie line with BADGES , WE DON,T NEED NO STINKING BADGES
    Truckdoctor Andy and CobraJoe like this.
  6. 41rodderz
    Joined: Sep 27, 2010
    Posts: 4,710

    from Oregon

    Just hope there is a good outcome in the end . Always hope , always .
  7. BJR
    Joined: Mar 11, 2005
    Posts: 6,349


    Can't happen now, the border is closed!:eek:
    blowby likes this.
  8. tubman
    Joined: May 16, 2007
    Posts: 4,986


    I had a friend who had a '60 Impala 2D HDTP with a shiny black paint job and a Tijuana rolled and pleated black vinyl interior about 50 years ago. It looked great, but every time it rained, it smelled like a barn.

    It has always been : "You get what you pay for".
    VANDENPLAS and town sedan like this.
  9. jnaki
    Joined: Jan 1, 2015
    Posts: 4,502



    As sad as the story is/was, Baja, Mexico and for that matter, mainland Mexico has definitely changed. Back when a week long surf trip to Baja was in the cards, we thought nothing of crossing the border as teenagers. There were so many friendly people and merchants in all little towns and cities we visited. We even shopped for groceries, we did not bring. On one trip, we found out that car repairs that we could not do (or were prepared for) could be handled well with the local Baja mechanics in their shops. The cost, minimal.

    When we took the first of three cars over a period of several months for tuck and roll upholstery in TJ, sure, it was a little nerve wracking as only one spoke fairly good Spanish and the other two had two years of high school Spanish. Still, it was woefully inadequate, but we got our appointment and needs for the custom upholstery met. We did not go far from the shop, as most everything was there in that area for visiting. We kept checking on the job, asking if there were any problems, etc.

    The initial job was done well, we paid, gave them a big tip, beer, and drove back home up the coast 100 miles. The next month, another hot rod made the trip for similar white tuck and roll totally inside of the cab. This time, the same company did it faster and we did not stick around for the hours it took to finish the job.

    We were wandering teenagers in a foreign country, looking for minor trinkets to take home to girlfriends and family. By the time the third car made the trip, we were experts at the location, stores and made friends with the shop guys. (No problem with any of the tuck and roll jobs, other than one incident of some straw in the trunk area coming from the rear seat back.)


    It is totally disheartening that those days are gone. Even our surf trips were cool and the only incidents we saw were caused by tourists from the USA getting drunk and wasted, with the following scenes, very unpleasant. The locals were very receptive to us and as teenagers, treated with adult respect. The same feeling was given to the locals.

    As far back as 1961, traveling to mainland Mexico was fine with everyone. The center of the cartel activity was still on the West Coast of mainland Mexico, (100 miles away)nearest Mazatlan, but that did not stop plenty of USA surfers from going there for pristine tropical waves, all along coast. Our vacations, flying into Mazatlan and Puerto Vallarta during the 2000 era, were just as fine. But, within a couple of years, even our friend, a travel agent, steered us elsewhere. Times definitely changed.
    VANDENPLAS and Lil32 like this.
  10. tubman
    Joined: May 16, 2007
    Posts: 4,986


    "Jnaki" - It's a good thing it doesn't rain much in Southern California.:D
    Lil32 and jnaki like this.
  11. jnaki
    Joined: Jan 1, 2015
    Posts: 4,502


    Hey T,
    We have had rain for two weeks and sporadic rain for a week before that. You guys in the middle America will get what we have in a few days to a week, depending on how strong the winds are. The last big storm was the one causing so many problems in the East Coast areas. You probably got some of it as it blasted most of the USA on its path East.

    Our last significant rainfall was this past week, it was pounding and cold. Now, it is in New Mexico to Texas and spreading fast. So, be prepared for some wind, rain, and where you are in the far northern areas, snow. We are expected to have minimal rain drops for the next week or so.

    If you look at a satellite/radar map, there is a big one stirring out in the Pacific and one in the Gulf of Alaska. Those will be "doozeys" when and if they hit the West Coast.

    Stay safe and warm.
  12. Atwater Mike
    Joined: May 31, 2002
    Posts: 10,086

    Atwater Mike

    Last car I had upholstered in Tijuana was my black '50 Olds Coupe, in '59.
    '57 J-2 engine, '37 LaSalle box. An older kid put it together, knocked reverse out twice. He asked if I wanted to buy it, I said "O.K., but hope it's reasonable. "
    His Dad was at wit's end with him, Dad sold it to me for $300. (San Jose, 1959)
    I fixed the LaSalle box, 2 friends and I went to Tijuana. Victory Upholstering, right on the main drag, to the left 2 blocks. $160.00, all tuck & roll, smooth off-white, we sat and watched them do it. Owner was an Italian, spoke English, no language problems. (no donkey shit or newspapers, either)
    Took 7 hours, we went next door and ate then left for home.
    Outside Bakersfield, CHP stabbed me @ 130 MPH. Olds would roll...2.90 gear.
  13. Who in their right mind would leave a car in T.J. for 6 weeks for trim work. Being that I was born and raised in San Diego I knew of lots of cars that went over the border for interiors back in the day and you stayed with the car until the job was finished the same day you took it in. You could get quality work done if you knew where to go and didn't try to beat them half to death on the price. But even back then I would have never left a car there over night much less 6 weeks.
    INVISIBLEKID, Lil32, Hombre and 3 others like this.
  14. slowmotion
    Joined: Nov 21, 2011
    Posts: 3,191


    Can't say I didn't see this one comin'. Damn shame still. Anyone naïve enough to think times are like they were 50 yrs ago there, or anywhere for that matter, well....o_O
    Lil32 likes this.
  15. Sounds like fiction.
    Irish Mike, Tman, F-ONE and 5 others like this.
  16. jimmy six
    Joined: Mar 21, 2006
    Posts: 6,367

    jimmy six

    I had a headliner put in in 64 along with a tarp over the back seat. Sat there from start to finish.
    Atwater Mike likes this.
  17. tltony
    Joined: Jan 11, 2009
    Posts: 289

    from El Cajon

    There's a lot of talented craftsmen in Baja. From upholsterers, mechanics, fabricators, machinists, body and paint. You name it, it's there and qualified. Just like here, there's also some bad apples. I've had a lot of experience dealing with many of them over the years, my first was an upholstery job on my 59 Corvette when I was a teenager in'69. I took my mom with me as she was a Mexico City native so I'm sure that helped a lot for my first experience. Later on I raced and pre-ran in Baja a lot and had a few instances where I relied on local talent to help get us out of jams. Once you found the right place to seek help by asking a few locals, I've never been let down . Most of the people we found were eager to go above and beyond your initial request. Respect given returns respect received. I love those people.
  18. southcross2631
    Joined: Jan 20, 2013
    Posts: 3,753


    There are some very smart guys in Mexico who try to build all sorts of secret compartments to smuggle drugs. I am retired from home land security . We trained a lot of the border patrol and some of the cars and trucks showed up at our place so the students could play find the drugs.
    Not like back in 1961 my brother was stationed in Texas in the air force and took his 56 Ford convertible to Mexico for a tuck and roll interior his looked great.
    Lil32 and kidcampbell71 like this.
  19. 51504bat
    Joined: May 22, 2010
    Posts: 1,837


    I think I've said it before, based on my years as a law enforcement officer in SoCal and a board member of 2 narcotic task forces I would never go to Mexico given the current state of affairs. That said, in 1991 I drove a motor home with my dad, mom, and wife to the tip of Baja for the total solar eclipse. Once we got below Ensenada the people we met/dealt with were wonderful. My Spanish sucks and many of those we came in contact with didn't speak much English but we communicated with no problems using common courtesy. I wish the current situation was different because because Mexico has many beautiful areas and the overwhelming vast majority of the Mexican people are wonderful and as some have said there are many talented craftsmen (and women) south of the border.
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2020
  20. Gman0046
    Joined: Jul 24, 2005
    Posts: 6,225


    With all the HAMB posts about having interiors done in Tijuana I wonder how many are fact or fiction?
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2020
    Lil32 and kidcampbell71 like this.
  21. klawockvet
    Joined: May 1, 2012
    Posts: 375


    The stories from California coincide with my experience over the years. Going to TJ for upholstery was commonplace in the fifties and sixties. Some of the work was great, some was horrible. My previous experiences were middle of the road. My recent experience this winter was much better that average. My previous posts regarding my 2020 experience included pictures so those posts are fact.
    Joined: Jan 13, 2004
    Posts: 2,758


    I call bogus ,read the original story ,it says she got an estimate and a receipt , why wasn't the receipt proof enough they had the car.?
    El Hueso, Special Ed and Lil32 like this.
  23. yeah!
    Around 1969 or so a buddy took his ‘59 Chev to Baja for new upholstery. Looked great. A week after he got home car was broken into, seats ripped into to remove drugs stashed in seats. Cops said it happen
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2020
  24. liliysdad
    Joined: Apr 1, 2013
    Posts: 94

    from Oklahoma

    That's cute that you think that proof matters in Mexico.

    Whats funny is they could have had the job done on the US Side by the same folks, and likely kept their car. Anyone who is that naive, deserves to lose their car.
    Nitroholic likes this.
  25. Blue One
    Joined: Feb 6, 2010
    Posts: 10,522

    Blue One
    from Alberta

    Doesn’t just sound like fiction it’s pure fiction.
    F-ONE and Special Ed like this.
  26. liliysdad
    Joined: Apr 1, 2013
    Posts: 94

    from Oklahoma

    Having dealt with enough cartel players on this side of the river, truth is stranger than fiction. None of this is outside of the realm of possibility.
  27. chop job
    Joined: Feb 16, 2013
    Posts: 557

    chop job
    from Wisconsin

    You might have to enlarge but I was here in 1965. 20200415_120302.jpg
  28. Maybe she could take her receipt down to the police dept and raise hell with the Chief. Good chance he has the car at home in his garage.
  29. I wouldn't leave a car at a shop in New Jersey for 6 weeks without checking on it. Mexico? Does this guy not have access to news? It is terrible that someone has lost a car especially one as important to his family as that one was and I sure wouldn't say he deserved to lose it either but this is another example of how common sense has become a super power in todays society. I truly hope he gets it back.
  30. BJR
    Joined: Mar 11, 2005
    Posts: 6,349


    Has anyone ever gotten a car back that was stolen in Mexico?

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