WHEN PASSIONS CONVERGE
Car Enthusiast Turned Legislative Advocate… and Spreading the Word
By Colby Martin
Like most car enthusiasts, I don’t recall a time when I wasn’t into cars. Mastering the form of a chopped hot rod coupe through drawing became an obsession early on. Owning one seemed nearly impossible. At an early age, I wondered if I could earn a living using these interests as assets. The results have proven unique.
School brought many interesting subjects, none of which could match my art classes—where hot rods were favorite subjects. Local car shows gave me a chance to showcase my illustrations publicly and design commercially. In college, I began freelancing for the automotive specialty-equipment industry. While employed by the renowned SO-CAL Speed Shop in 2002, I purchased the chopped ’31 Ford Model A pictured above in a very rough state.
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SEMA SAN Strike Force
Some folks are willing to lend much more than just a “helping hand”—more akin to a whole limb. This description certainly applies to dedicated SEMA Action Network (SAN) member John Kowalski. His pals in the Over the Hill Gang San Diego and Camaro Club of San Diego can reinforce the notion. In addition to assisting local charities with his car clubs, he has provided invaluable volunteer assistance to the SAN on numerous occasions—all to better a good cause. Kowalski appreciates the way that the SAN force works with lawmakers to find fair solutions in state legislatures. “Without the SAN, I would only represent one voice on state and federal politics,” says John. “Living in California, we need all the help we can get with the legislature here. We are banded together through the SAN and are able to sway the vote if enough of us participate and stay involved.” Like many gearheads, working in the garage with his father was an early inspiration for Kowalski’s love of the car hobby. “In my teens, my dad and I rebuilt an old Manx style dune buggy,” he explains. He and his friends later would get together and install their own car stereos.