Ralph Holguin of RMD Group is no stranger to elaborate builds. The CEO and avid automotive enthusiast has been featured in DUB previously with his immaculate ’61 Chevy Impala called “Tiffany and Co.” that he named after one of his daughters. Addicted to the rush customizing can bring, Holguin has once again set out to create another beauty, this time opting for a ’56 Ford F-100 classic pickup truck.
“I think like all men, you fall in love with trucks while growing up,” he says. “My dad had a Ford truck when I was younger, which I vividly remember. Even though this truck isn’t the same year, this build is in homage to him and the many memories I have with him.”
With a ’56 Big Window Ford F-100 in mind, Holguin went off in search of his prized ride, which wasn’t exactly easy. “I actually came across one locally and attempted to buy it, but once the buyer saw how interested I was to fix it up, he didn’t want to sell it anymore. He decided to keep it and fix it up himself.”
I didn’t just want a custom truck…I wanted a one-of-a-kind custom truck that would be beyond amazing.Holguin finally found the exact model he’d been looking for back in August 2011 and had his mind set on finishing it for the SEMA Show only three months later. But after realizing the extent of the build, decided he’d rather take his time to debut it at a later date. What started out as a small project ended up turning into Holguin’s biggest build to date. “I really wanted to make it very modern and clean, but at the same time still pay tribute to its era. It also needed to possess new technology and features, but not to a point where it was overdone. I didn’t just want a custom truck…I wanted a one-of-a-kind custom truck that would be beyond amazing.”
After building his “Tiffany and Co.” Impala, Holguin knew he wanted to keep everything in-house and enlisted the artistic talents of his own crew at RMD Group. “This is by far the best vehicle we’ve put together. For the last build, we outsourced to a few different places and at the end of the day, it wasn’t finished the way we wanted it to really be. This time we were 100 percent in control of every aspect of the build, which really allowed us to exceed our goals.
To begin the build, his artist Flip Samorano designed the rendering with Holguin’s help and guidance, while David Ortiz went to work on the body and custom fabrications and Felix Gomez started ordering parts. “Ortiz is a really gifted body guy. He learned everything from his father, who at 75, is still a builder in Mexico city. The chassis work was done in collaboration with a good friend at Mosco Garage. His attention to detail was a perfect fit for our team, not to mention his extensive automotive knowledge and more than 20 years of fabricating experience. It was a no-brainer for us to bring Mosco Lomas on board. I really wanted this particular build to showcase our in-house talents at RMD Group and RMD Garage to show others that we can really customize everything ourselves.” In-depth research was done to procure compatible parts, while countless hours of manpower guaranteed custom parts would immaculately fit on the classic pickup truck.
The end result totally surpassed Holguin’s initial expectations and is appraised at around $248,000. As a superior example of an award-winning modern show truck conversion, the build maintains its classic attributes from the ’50s, while demonstrating all the luxury items and comforts of a modern high-performance sport pickup truck that include: a high performance 2012 Ford 5.0 Coyote Modular motor, 6-speed manual transmission, power front and rear disc brakes, power rack and pinion steering, air ride suspension system, a luxury red leather wrap-around upholstered interior (including a one-piece leather headliner and flooring with aluminum extrusions), power windows, solenoid operated doors as well as a sophisticated state-of-the-art keyless entry system.
But Holguin’s favorite is the engine compartment and engine provided by Vaughn Gittin Jr. “My relationship with Vaughn Gittin Jr. started a few years back when I had the opportunity to work with his team at various events, and during that time we became really good friends. He was very instrumental in helping me seek out the right drivetrain for the Ford. The whole engine compartment is actually really special and came out looking like an amazing art piece given the extent of all its customizations.”
And because Holguin likes to name all of his cars, this special ’56 Ford F-100 show truck is named after his daughter Jaslene, who fell in love with it when he first brought it home. “As soon as she saw it, she asked me if that was her truck since she loved it so much.”
Completely drivable (despite only being kept as a show truck), Holguin’s classic Ford truck made its grand entrance to the custom car world at the 2012 O’Reilly Grand Am National Roadster Show in Pomona this past January. There, Holguin got to see where it measured up against the competition and walked away more than satisfied and proud, winning Truck of the Year and Best of Class awards.
Its second public viewing was at the Anaheim, CA DUB Show tour stop in March, where it won first place for both Best of Show and DUB Old School, as well as Best Shop Car. Holguin also plans on entering it in many other car shows throughout the year before gearing up for his next build that will be a ’62 Chevy Bel Air Bubbletop named Nadia. “We’re very excited to start our next project that will only bring our building skills to new heights. People are going to be blown away by what we’re going to be creating with each of our builds.”
And when Holguin and his crew at RMD Group are finished with future builds, the RMD Garage will be where they’re kept. The special section of the warehouse was converted into Holguin’s personal “man cave” that houses his extensive collection of vintage finds, including cars, bicycles, motorcycles and even gas pumps!
“The garage has items that I’ve always wanted growing up but couldn’t afford back then since I grew up in a rough neighborhood, where going to the store to buy a bike wasn’t the norm,” he says. “I’ve always been very passionate about the ’40s, ’50s and ’60s and the garage holds an array of items from those eras. The biggest collection inside is my bike collection that has about 50 items that date all the way back to the ’20s through ’70s. But I also have some really cool vintage tricycles and pedal cars in the collection.” His prized bike is the 1956 Schwinn Black Phantom. His vintage bike collection is valued in the high thousands and there’s even one vintage gas pump that was appraised at being worth $10,000!
Also sitting pretty in the garage is his ’67 Lincoln Continental named after his other daughter Jenny, as well as the ’56 Big Window Ford F-100 and ’61 Chevy Impala. Unlike his other custom rides, the Lincoln was left in original form. “It’s a beautiful automobile on its own and was in immaculate shape when I got it, so I left it alone. That’s a car you take out on special occasions.”
Another special item in Holguin’s personal vintage museum is the 1947 flathead Harley-Davidson Police Special bike that his wife and three girls gifted him under the condition that he never rides it. “I’ve always been into vintage motorcycles, especially pre-war ones that are rare, and always kept an eye out for that specific year. That specific model is very clean looking with its all-black appearance.”
Despite being vintage treasures for Holguin, he thoroughly enjoys playing with all his items (except his motorcycles) and even takes out all his bikes on rides with his daughters. “Everything in the garage is meant to be enjoyed from time to time, and I have no problems taking out some of the vintage bikes with my daughters and going for a ride. And that’s including my past builds, the ’56 Ford F-100 and any other future creations.”
Tell us a little about yourself.
I’m a mother first. I work hard and have an amazing family. I’m also always up for a good time.
When did you first know you wanted to get tattoos?
I’ve always loved tattoos and what they stand for. I remember being super young and my oldest sister would always get the cutest little tattoos.
What was your first tattoo and where did you get it?
My very first tattoo is a flaming heart on my lower back on my spine from Tattoo Gallery in La Puente, CA.
How many tattoos do you have?
I’ve never actually counted my tattoos, but I am fully sleeved and I have a few other random ones on my back legs and ribs.
Do you have plans for more?
Which tattoo is your favorite?
My favorite tattoo is the portrait of my father. I never met him since my family lost him while my mother was pregnant with me. It’s my favorite because every time I’m around family, they see him and are reminded of a story about him, which I love hearing.
What kind of vehicles do you like/drive?
I like Phantoms, Bentleys and Range Rovers, but I drive a custom Chrysler 300 blacked-out with pink and black Asanti wheels and matching grille and embroidered Hello Kitty seats.
What did you think of the ’56 Ford F-100?
That thing was a beauty and super clean! I loved the color and the wood truckbed was pretty fresh!
What did you think of the RMD Garage?
It’s an awesome place to take your car. It’s filled with old school cars and the raddest collections of Schwinn bicycles. They sure know what they’re doing over there and without a doubt, RMD can hook a car up and make you very happy!
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