Vinny Juliao's 1955 Chevy
(from Volume 27, Issue 325)

story by Vinny Juliao, photos by Michael B. Kelly


My name is Vicente Juliao, but my friends and family call me Vinny. I grew up in the 1970’s in New York City, where my dad was a used car dealer and loved classic cars. We used to go to car shows and swap meets in Englishtown, New Jersey. I used to dislike that my dad made me go to car shows when I was a kid. Today, I am in love with car shows and swap meets, and try to go to one every weekend. I never miss the Daytona Turkey Run, SEMA, or Pigeon Forge Rod Run in Tennessee. The fever I have for cars is now in my blood. I am a classic car collector, hot rodder and car enthusiast. On September 21, 2021, my dad Vicente Juliao Sr. passed away. I want to dedicate this article to him, in his honor. Everything I know, I owe to my dad. One of my favorite cars that my dad owned was a blue 1965 Shelby 427 Cobra Roadster, which today would be worth millions.

In 1971, my neighbor Adolfo O’Casio bought a black 1968 Camaro RS. He was a gear head just like my dad. The first time I really paid attention to muscle cars was when I laid eyes on that beautiful car and I knew I had to have it. 50 years later, on Christmas Day of 2020, I bought Adolfo’s 1968 Camaro.

I am 58 years old and am the owner of Four Stars Auto Sales & Body Shop Inc. I have 18 classic cars in my collection, and I work everyday on one of my cars. I am a car hobbyist, but thanks to my dad I know how to paint, do upholstery, electrical, and mechanical work. At the age of 27 my son, Anthony Juliao, is one of best fabricators, body man, and painters I know. In all my years of owing and operating a used car dealership and body shop, I can say he is one of the most passionate and best fabricators I have ever seen.

My favorite car was a 1955 Chevy. I purchased the blue and white 1955 Chevy you see pictured here at a Carlisle Auction in Zephyrhills, Florida in 2013, the year my daughter was born. It was a fresh build, having received a rotisserie frame off restoration, which only took 16 months to complete. Everyone that is in the hot rod world knows it is cheaper to buy a car restored than to try and restore it yourself, since you can always modify it later to your liking - which is exactly what I did.

Power comes from a new 350 Chevy crate motor to which I installed new headers, then had a set of Flowmaster mufflers with 3 inch pipes and chrome tips installed. Shifting duties are handled by a 700R4 overdrive automatic transmission. The interior was completely redone, and I installed the sound system myself with a retro radio, two Pioneer amplifiers with two six inch speakers on kick panels and four tweeters on the center console. Plus it has four 6x9 inch speakers in the rear and two twelve inch woofers in the trunk. The custom built center console has blue LED lights to match the custom built box and trunk enclosure, and a billet steering wheel covered in white sits atop a chrome Ididit steering column. The exterior is covered with cobalt candy blue and pearl white paint, dressed up by Ridler rims (18 inches in front and 20 inches rims out back). It is riding on rear air shocks, and has four wheel power disc brakes. I installed a Vintage Air system with factory A/C vents on the dash, plus vents in the console. Dolphin gages now reside in the dash, and the car has new wiring throughout thanks to an American Autowire Classic harness.

Finally, I have a great team that supports me. I want to thank my amazing wife Katie Juliao and my beautiful 8 year old daughter Angelika Juliao, who always stand beside me. They know all the details and differences in our cars. My daughter knows how to wheel and deal, sew and paint. She can tell you if you are looking at a 1955, 1956, 1957, or 1958 Chevy. She can point out a gasser, Moon eyes, a tunnel ram, and a blower. She knows the differences in a Rat Rod and a Gangster car, and she can tell you if she is looking at metal flake, patina, or candy apple paint. I think she will be a hot rodder one day. I am so proud of her. I want to thank my mom, Clara Silva, since I would not be where I am today without her. I want to thank my friend Joe Torrens for always being there, helping me, and supporting me on all of our crazy projects. A big shout out to my car traders and partners Rhuppert and Erica Toledo, the owner of The Rod Shop in Winter Haven, and my buddy Erick Santiago who supports me in buying and trading cars. I am a member of the Central Florida Classic Truck Club, and I want to thank the President, Paul Heald, for all his dedication and support to me and my family. I want to thank all my friends and family at Old Town in Kissimmee, Florida for supporting me. Also, a special thanks to DJ’s Jennifer and Butch Johnston from WJBJ Cruisin with the Classics. And until we meet again dad, everyday I am hustlin’. CN