This is one in a series of special Langley Advance Times stories about what to expect at this year’s Langley Good Times Cruise-In, happen Saturday, Sept. 9 in Aldergrove. You can also check out this series in our special keepsake edition hitting the streets on Thursday and available in limited quantity at the car show.
Most of the hot rods and custom cars at the Langley Good Times Cruise-In are covered in glittering paint and polished to perfection.
But this year, one of the displays at the Aldergrove charity car show will display how those cars are transformed from barn finds and battered projects into show cars.
Julien Garant of Jellybean Autocrafters, based on the Langley Bypass, will be working on a car during the show, talking to passerby about the work he’s doing and the techniques he and his fellow mechanics, welders, and painters at the shop use.
“We tear down a car to bare metal,” Garant said.
Originally from Alberta, Garant has been working at Jellybean for a few years, but his first trip to the Cruise-In was last year.
“For an outdoor show, it was one of the crazier ones,” he said, recalling the huge mass of people that filled Fraser Highway in between the vehicles.
He’s hoping that he’ll be working on a client’s vehicle during the show, a 1933 Ford.
“I’ll be there from whenever they open the gates to when they close,” he said.
He’s hoping to get some work done on the project, although he’ll also be interacting with the crowds.
“My fear is that I’ll end up talking more than actually working,” he joked.
Garant got into auto work as a teenager. He’d always been good with his hands, and had enjoyed woodworking, but it was when he started working on his own truck at age 16 that he was bitten by the car bug.
He attended a post-secondary course called Street Rod Technical in Alberta. That gave him eight months of education on everything from mechanical work to welding to bodywork, all the basics of hot rodding.
During the course, he chopped the top of his pickup, which is still a work in progress.
At Jellybean, he works on metal fabrication and painting, among applying other skills. He’s still learning about engines and electrical systems, he said, but that’s something he’s working on.
He keeps expanding his skill set.
After entering his vehicle in a historical competition at Mission Raceways, Garant won a scholarship and used it to travel to a well-known shop in Massachusetts that was running a course. He spent 240 hours working there over the course of a month, helping to rebuild a 1955 Maserati 300S race car.
“I learned so much with it,” Garant said, skills he’s putting to work at Jellybean now.
His pride and joy remains his pickup truck, a 1951 International Harvester that he acquired on his dad’s farm – it had trees growing out of it when he started work.
Now he’s made multiple modifications to turn it into a street rod, including dual rear wheels, expanded fenders, a chopped roof, and an oil drum modified to serve partly as a new gas tank and partly as an extra storage compartment.
It has an eight-litre V10 engine that is gleaming with its new paint job, and Garant is working his way through the wiring system.
“My end goal of my career is to be able to build a car completely from scratch,” he said.
People interested in how the crew at a specialty shop like Jellybean work to rebuild classic cars and hot rods will be able to see Garant at the Cruise-In in Aldergrove on Saturday, Sept. 9. Admission for visitors is free, and those wishing to exhibit their car can sign up now at langleycruise-in.com.
All proceeds of the volunteer-run car show go to local charities.
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