Born in Pittsburg, California, and now residing in Discovery Bay, California, John D’Agostino got into building and customizing model cars when he was a child. John was lucky because his hometown of Pittsburg and nearby Antioch were hot spots for custom cars when he grew up. Cars built by Barris, Bailon, Winfield and others showed up at the local Hazel’s and Panther drive-ins through the 1950s and 1960s.
Inspired by the works of Barris, Winfield, Hines, Starbird, and Watson, D’Agostino’s first custom was a ’56 Chevy hardtop that was lowered, molded, and painted in a two-tone royal triton purple and white by Frank DeRosa in Pittsburg. John was driving his kustom to high school and showing it at local shows. When he attended college in Phoenix, Arizona, he drove a mildly customized pearl white and gold ’63 Pontiac Grand Prix, cruising the streets with cool tunes spun on his 45-rpm record player, which was installed in the car.
Just before leaving college, however, John ordered a brand new ’70 Pontiac Grand Prix and took it straight to Art Himsl in Concord, California, to be customized. It was first shown at the ’70 Oakland Roadster Show, where it won “OUTSTANDING CUSTOM.” The car was lowered, molded, and painted different shades of candy gold and tangerine. Even in those early days, this car had D’Agostino’s trademark, chromed wire wheels. He showed the Pontiac at all the ISCA shows on the West Coast during 1970 and 1971 (about 14 shows in all). (continued)