Joel Martinez Parra
5/3/1952 - 7/26/2006
We started this web site with an idea to interview car owners about their cars, and hope that they would appreciate our vision to start a sort of online muscle car magazine, where not only could viewers see and read about the cars, but also HEAR from owners telling them firsthand about their stories, as well as get a sample of their engines. Not much of a car expert, I relied on my friend and automotive encyclopedia Greg to ask all the right questions. Of course, when you are starting out and don’t have a lot to offer, all you can really say is “we’re from musclecarcalendar.com and we would like to feature your car”. Most of the time the response would be either “musclecar who?” or “how much is in it for me?”. It got a bit discouraging at first, but then we went to a Mopar show in San Diego where we met Joel, standing proud over a flawless, numbers-matching, all-stock 1968 Dodge Coronet R/T. Nervous as ever, we approached his car, expecting more of the same. Instead, we got a friendly face who not only gave us a rundown of his car, he talked our ears off about it. We were more than willing to listen (AND record), and after a session with Joel, I felt like I could build a car myself.
After spending much time taking in as much knowledge (and jokes) as Joel would give us, he invited us back to San Diego, where we could shoot his Dad’s 1970 Hemi Cuda. Yes, a REAL 1970 Hemi Cuda, as in 652 were ever made. In the same visit we were introduced to the “Hero Car”, a masterpiece built by Joel and its owner, Mike Mattern. In the months and years that followed, we went to car shows that Joel and Mike would attend, and we proudly bragged that we knew the guys that built it. At ANY car show Joel and Mike showed up at, the only question one could ask would be “who is going to finish second today?”
When we found out that Joel and Mike were going to construct a new 1970 Challenger from scratch, we jumped at the chance to document it, as we knew without a doubt that this would be another showstopper when it was finished. The “Evil Twin” documentary stands as one of our finest accomplishments on MCC, complete with Joel’s recap of its progress at every stage.
We continued to stay friends with Joel and his family and jumped at every opportunity to go to any of his notorious summer barbeques. When you got there, the fridge was always full, the grill was always cooking, and the blender was always spinning. Joel made sure you had everything you needed, even though for us the company was more than enough.
We gained material for our web site, yes. We learned stuff about cars that even Greg didn’t know, sure. But above all, we gained a true friend who gave us confidence and would do whatever it took to take care of those around him, and BOY could he tell a joke!
We’re going to miss you, Joel. There would be no MCC without you.
3/18/02, MCC has NOT had much success as we had JUST started our vision of covering and shooting the best muscle cars in the world the very same month. We've (Bob and I) attended a couple of local muscle car get togethers without much luck, no one seems to want anything to do with us. That's kinda what we've come to expect after all I wasn't very good at "sealing the deal" with the owners of these hot muscle cars.
Bob: "hey Greg, there's a show in San Diego tomorrow, it's a Mopar show. Wanna give it one more shot?". Me: "well, most of the Mopar guy's I've known are freaks, let's see what we can find".
Flash to the Mopar show in San Diego. So far the same as it's been....no one will give us the time of day. Then we meet Joel. His Coronet R/T, FLAWLESS, his personality, ELECTRIC! To make a long story short Joel was the FIRST one who not only was cool to us but saw our vision and dug it! He told us he'd do a smokey burnout in the parking lot if we'd like!! Me a bit nervous asked if we could get together and shoot his car in a "proper" setting. Not only could we shoot his car but if we agreed to come down we could shoot his dad's (Hemi Jack's) 1970 Hemi 'Cuda and his best friends 1971 Satellite. "Uh....OK!!!"
The rest is history so to speak. We ended up becoming best of friends of Joel's and with that came a LOT of perks including a total coverage WITH interviews of the best muscle car build in the world not to mention the parties Joel would throw which we (MCC) were featured guests! What can I say, Joel is such a special person not only to our site but moreover to us. Joel was like a brother to me. He knew what we were up to (no good!!) and he was right there with us! This is the tough part of our business as I talk to literally thousands of muscle car people but unfortunately that means a lot more people that could potentially break our hearts by leaving, and Joel left much too soon.
I could go on and on as we loved Joel and will miss his attitude on the site he helped build but I want to end on a positive note after all without Joel you might not be reading this right now and we all know what a tragedy that could have been!! Please my muscle car brother and sisters say a prayer for not only Joel, but for everyone who had the pleasure of knowing this man whom have a HUGE hole in there heart right now.
Higher quality shots are available on Picture Perfect DSL or cable recommended, dial ups OK if you don't mind the wait!
(click on pics to enlarge)
Cars that Joel help build.