Shop Talkin’ Cuttin’, Slicin’, Choppin’, and Weldin’ With Lou Santiago

June 10th, 2010

I would like to introduce myself to all of you guys and gals out there. My name is Lou Santiago. I grew up in New York, where I was a street racer, which is what I lived for.

My good friend, Wayne, and I used to travel from New York City to Philly to street race in his 1970 Cuda that had a 383 and a four-speed. The muscle car ran in the 11.80s, which is not that fast by today’s standards, but we had a blast anyway. That was back in 1978, way before the auctions drove the price of these cars so high. So, you could say I can be compared to a fine wine — aged (read: old).

Moving on, I retired from the U.S. Navy in 1997 where I worked on heavy equipment and even boats, and I also built cars when I was off-duty. Years later, I turned up on a TV show that might be familiar to you — a little show called Muscle Car on Spike TV. I thought it was fun, but it didn’t fully illustrate my passion. Just like everything else in life, there was room for improvement.

After a little sabbatical, I’m now back in my shop in North Carolina doing what I love best: building cars. Well, to be honest, I’ll build anything that comes in the door; that’s right, hot rods, muscle cars, bikes, street cars, and drag cars. Hell, I even have plans to build an old Peterbuilt! I look at vehicles as a canvas waiting for me to fill it with my creative passion. I never hesitate to cut and weld something to create an entirely new look.

My task here with Muscle Car Power Magazine is simple: to provide the readers of this illustrious periodical with the best possible tech and editorial column I can give them. With that said, we have to reach an understanding.  There are 101 different ways to do a build. I might not do something another fabricator might do. So, keep an open mind and be enlightened.  Here is what I have in the shop at this time, a 1964 Skylark ragtop with a 455 with a five-speed from Modern Drive Line and a Moser 9-inch rearend.  The wheels are from Billet Specialties and measure 17 x 12 in the back with a 17 x 8 up front. AFCO coil-overs and Air Ride strong arms are in place for starters. That’s what’s on deck for now, stay tuned for more.

If you have any questions, go ahead and shoot me an email at (garageinsider null@null gmail Until then, later!

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