Originally from Baldwin Park, California, Joe Orellana joined the Marines in 1979. He was stationed in Hawaii for three and a half years, and during his time there he met a local girl, happily married her, stayed in Hawaii, and then raised two kids. In the early ’80s Joe had a VW Bug that he had shipped to Hawaii. He was customizing it, but because of kids his priorities had to change.
Now that his kids are bigger and he’s a little older, he was now able to get involved in extra hobbies, so he decided to look for something else to customize. He was in California for personal reasons when his brother-in-law Hugo Duran told him about his friend’s ’54 Chevy pickup. “He knew that I always wanted to fix up an old-school truck. When he took me to go see it, I couldn’t believe that the ’54 truck was a five-window.” The truck needed a whole lot of work since it was only obvious to Joe that it was someone’s work truck. “It was in primer and with a lot of dents, but I liked it because everything was there so I bought it and had it shipped out to Hawaii.”
“Six months into the build, I met Alan Hayashi of Hayashi Auto Repair and he got it running for me,” Joe says. As the parts were restored, they were returned to Joe piece by piece to store until everything could be reassembled. “I did a lot of the grunt work on it, and as they were finishing up parts, I would put them away in my house. I had fenders behind my living room couches covered in blankets and parts just about everywhere and after about four years, I had most of my truck in my living room in pieces. At the end, the truck came out a lot better than I could have imagined,” Joe says.
Joe would like to thank his wife for putting up with him and being supportive. He would also like to thank Alan Hayashi, Ronnie Hanaba, and the rest of the crew at Hayashi Auto Repair. A special thanks goes out to Charlie Molina for bringing him out and introducing him to the lowrider community.
Vehicle Year/Make/Model: 1954 Chevrolet 3100
Vehicle Nickname: Joe’s ’54 Bomb
Owner: Joe M. Orellana
City/State: Wahiawa, HI
Engine: Hayashi Auto Repair in Wahiawa, HI, installed the 350 with a Turbo 400 transmission, Flowmaster exhaust, Edelbrock carburetor and intake, Billet Specialties brackets and NKG spark plugs
Body/Paint: Hayashi Auto Repair, PPG Root Beer Brown
Interior: Al’s Upholstery in California