Javier “Shorty” Ponce is no newcomer to the custom car scene; he’s been operating his own custom shop for over 20 years, and you’ve seen plenty of his work on Iron Resurrection. Shorty may have been born in Mexico, but he’s been living his American dream—working on cars—since he was 12 years old, and now he’s helping make others’ dreams come true on his new show, Shorty’s Dream Shop.
Related: Get to know Javier “Shorty” Ponce, star of the all-new Shorty’s Dream Shop (new episodes available every Wednesday), by catching up on all six seasons of Iron Resurrection on MotorTrend+. Click here for a free trial!
It may not be true for everyone, but a big part of the American dream has always been owning a cool car, however the individual chooses to define that. Shorty has always loved the nostalgia of cars and understands the special place they hold in their owners’ hearts. On Shorty’s Dream Shop, you can watch as he and his talented team make car dreams a reality for deserving owners. Catch the premiere of Shorty’s Dream Shop on Wednesday, November 16, 2022, at 10|9c on MotorTrend TV, right after a new episode of Iron Resurrection, or stream it on MotorTrend+.
Shorty’s Dream Shop Builds a Custom 1966 Impala SS Convertible
Shorty can basically do anything when it comes to building a car. More than basically—Shorty is a master car-builder. He doesn’t let a car leave Shorty’s Custom Paint (his Dallas, Texas custom shop) unless it’s perfectly mechanically sound. He can bead-roll and blend in a patch panel seamlessly, but his true area of expertise (and his favorite part of a build) is the paint booth.
Shorty’s painting skills are on par with the best in the world, and the builds on Shorty’s Dream Shop and Iron Resurrection are the proof. In the series premiere of Shorty’s Dream Shop, a 1966 Chevrolet Impala SS Convertible is brought 1,800 miles from California because the owners specifically want Shorty to make their custom-car dreams come true. Just like on Iron Resurrection, there are great stories in the cars, the builds, and the people who own them—so there’s no need to artificialize any drama or stage scenarios.
Efrain Ruiz’s first car was a 1966 Impala SS Convertible, and the car he was driving when he met his wife. He and his wife loved the Impala and always had dreams to restore it, but medical bills forced the sale of their beloved Chevy. Efrain was eventually able to track down another ’66 Impala SS Convertible, but his wife’s cancer returned, so reliving their cherished memories in the car was sidelined again. When Efrain Jr. put in a call, Shorty was more than happy to accept the job.
Shorty’s Dream Shop Turns Cars Into Time Machines
The best custom car builders see more than just dollar signs when a car rolls in the shop. Everyone on Shorty’s crew knows how important the ’66 SS Impala is to the Ruiz family, especially Joel Balboa, general expert in everything mechanical and longtime friend of Shorty’s. Joel’s wife is also a cancer survivor, and restoring the Impala and building it into the Ruizes’ dream car means that much more to him because of the shared experience.
Efrain Sr. wants to pay tribute to the time period in which he met his wife, keeping the customizations of the Impala subtle, with just enough modern touches to make it a great driver, and the Shorty’s Dream Shop crew knows just how to make it happen. Upholstery expert Pedro “PG” Gomez III adds modern bolsters under original-looking custom seat covers, while eager up-and-coming builder David “Junior” Wilkins helps Joel figure out wiring issues. Raul “Easy” Ruiz learns that maybe every job in the shop isn’t so easy while trying to dismantle and repair a 60-plus year-old piece of American iron.
A new carbureted V-8 keeps everything under the hood looking true to the 1960s (while giving the Impala a bit more oomph, as Mrs. Ruiz requested), and an updated, adjustable air-ride suspension brings the Impala’s stance into the 21st century. With a fresh coat of paint—custom-blended by Shorty, of course—and new convertible top, Efrain’s 1966 Impala SS Convertible is a time machine ready to bring him and his wife back to the early days of their relationship, and make many more new memories.
What Do We Love About Car Shows? MotorTrend Has the Answer
Any fella with an iPhone can make a car show these days—just ask Derek Bieri; that’s how he started Vice Grip Garage, which led to Roadworthy Rescues. But giving true automotive enthusiasts the content they crave isn’t as simple as filming an engine swap and putting it on TV or the interwebs. Iron Resurrection, now in its sixth season on MotorTrend TV and MotorTrend+, doesn’t try to fool you with anything fake.
Joe Martin and the crew at Martin Bros. Customs don’t have enough time to mess around like that, turning around high-level custom builds in just weeks (although they always have time to toss a firecracker or two behind Pompa while he isn’t looking). It’s one of the most popular shows on MotorTrend because it’s about the cars, how they get built, and the people involved, not the fake stuff.
Shorty’s Dream Shop, premiering after the newest episode of Iron Resurrection on Wednesday, November 16, 2022, at 10|9c on MotorTrend TV (you can stream both shows on MotorTrend+, too) doesn’t waste real car enthusiasts’ time either. These guys don’t have time to lie about a trim piece not arriving when there’s a smashed bumper that needs fixing—what’s the point in staging a fake phone call to the customer about “delays” when just properly fitting an original grille to a reproduction trim piece is so time-consuming? MotorTrend is the top automotive media destination in the world, and new shows like Shorty’s Dream Shop are the reason real car enthusiasts keep coming back.
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