The next D’Agostino winner at Oakland was a a ’56 Lincoln built by Winfield and Reasoner called “The Royal Empress.” This won the Al Slonaker Award at the 1991 Oakland show and was chosen for the Harry Bradley Design Achievement Award at the Leadsled Spectacular the same year. Bill Abate of New Jersey now owns the Lincoln. In 1993, John debuted the ’57 Cadillac Eldorado “Starfire” at the Oakland show. John first took it to Farcello’s Kustom Creations in Reno, Nevada, to have it chopped and then Bill Hines finished it in lead before he painted it in the fabulous candy apple red, with crushed diamonds for Mrs. D’Agostino. The interior was done in a pearl white tuck and roll by interior specialist Eddie Martinez of Bellflower, California. The “Starfire” won Best of Show at the 1993 Paso Robles show and chosen by Mattel for the 40th Anniversary Legends signature series of Hot Wheels.
In 1995, John had two new customs built for the show circuit. John Aiello and Darryl Hollenbeck of Sahagon’s in Concord built the ’57 Lincoln “Royal Emperor,” painted in shades of mint green pearl and candy organic green by Hall of Famer Gene Winfield. The car won the “Sam Barris Award” that year and “Best of Show” at the Paso Robles show. The “Royal Emperor” was sent on a Northern European tour the following year garnishing every major custom award. The second custom was a ’61 Olds, “Golden Starfire,” which was a mildly customized vehicle in the ’60s style and painted in a candy pagan gold color by Hollenbeck. The car is now on display at Klassix Auto Museum in Daytona Beach, Florida.
1997 was a repeat of 1995, with two more customs built. This time a radical “concept style” ’57 Chrysler Imperial called the “Imperial Royale” with Acme Customs in Antioch and Gene Winfield teaming up to build a new winner. It won the “Harry Bradley Design Achievement Award” at the Sacramento Autorama in 1997, as well as the “Goodguys Custom d’Elegance of the Year Award.” Shown along with the Imperial at the Sacramento Autorama was a chopped ’61 Thunderbird named “Firestar” painted candy apple red with gold scallops by Marcos Garcia of the Lucky 7 Custom Shop in Antioch, California. The T-bird was shipped to Europe and Sweden, where it went on an extensive show tour and was then shipped back to America in 2002 to be on display at the memorable “Kustom With a K” display at the world famous Petersen Museum in Los Angeles.
1998 brought two more Cadillac customs. “Marilyn” was a ’53 Eldorado Biarritz with a chopped Carson top built by John Aiello. It was painted by Darryl Hollenbeck in a light yellow pearl with golden highlights. The interior was done in a shell white Swedish Elmo leather and gold brocade inserts by Craig Willits Custom Interiors. This Caddy won many awards including “World’s Most Beautiful Custom” at the 1998 Sacramento show, as well as First in Class at Oakland, Sacramento, and Portland, and Best Paint and Interior at many of the shows. “Marilyn” was sold to an Australian at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance Auction (Christies) in 1999 for $150,000. The second Cadillac that year was a ’57 Biarritz that was named “Cool 57.” The car was first customized by Gene Winfield for a Hollywood movie producer but was never finished, so John and A&A bought it and took it to the Acme Boys in Antioch. Darryl Hollenbeck painted the Caddy in a House of Kolor candy magenta and Greg Philbrick and Ken Whisler in Pittsburg finished it off with a pearl white interior in Swedish Elmo leather. This Caddy also won its share of awards. (continued)