Jimmy Shine visits the Good Times Cruise-In

One of the classic car community’s most recognizable celebrity builders will be in Aldergrove

Jimmy Shine will meet fans, sign autographs and award a specially crafted trophy to the vehicle of his choice tomorrow at Cruise In. Submitted photo

Jim McGregor

Times contributor

Participants and visitors to this year’s Good Times Cruise-in in Aldergrove will have the opportunity to meet Jimmy Shine, one of the classic car community’s most recognizable celebrity builders and fabricators of custom vehicles and motorcycles.

“I’m looking forward to coming back to Canada and meeting the people at the Good Times Cruise-In,” says Jimmy.

“I enjoy travelling to shows and seeing the cars and bikes, talking to people, getting ideas from them and sharing my ideas with them.”

Jimmy Shine has plenty of ideas that come from a long history of working on and around cars.

“Some of my earliest memories are of being around garages and cars, hot rods and drag strips,” Jimmy shares.

Jimmy grew up in the suburbs of Orange County, Calif., as part of a family that was heavily influenced by all things mechanical and engine-driven. His dad, Denny, mom, Lynn, and brothers, Jon and Ned Falschlehner, comprised the core.

Their dad was a hot-rodder, drag racer, off-road bike racer and spent some time with boats as well. The brothers didn’t fall far from the tree when it came to having an interest and the ability to build and ride their own creations. The endless miles of fields and orange groves across the street from the family home allowed the boys to safely test their creations.

Jimmy’s designs and fabrication ideas come from that family background.

“I don’t have any formal artistic training. That is just something I have played with since I was young. I have one grandfather who was a chess champion, very intelligent, and another grandfather who was a very accomplished artist, so I suppose some of the artist in me comes from one set of DNA and the ability to crunch numbers and to do the necessary equations comes from the other.”

The name Jimmy Shine came from people struggling to pronounce ‘Falschlehner.’

“I had lots of nicknames growing up and when I was 13, working in a sheet metal shop, I was sweeping floors and they called me ‘Jimmy Floorshiner.’ My good friend Chopper Dave came up with Jimmy Shine and, while I’ve never liked it, it’s too late now, so I just embrace it.”

One of Jimmy’s first creations was a 327 c.i. Chevy-powered gasser that came alive on April 29, 1987. He laid a hot pass down Bryan Avenue at speed and that one fateful drive seemed to set the future for this young man.

After landing a dream job at the So-Cal Speed Shop 10 years later, he found himself working alongside talented craftsmen on some very renowned and recognized projects.

It was about then he developed his skills for land speed racing and began racing a production class BSA motorcycle on El Mirage Dry Lake and eventually his team of ‘Thacker and Shine’ established a new land speed record of 206.454 MPH on Aug. 15, 2006, resulting in Jimmy being inducted into the Bonneville 200MPH Club.

But along with the love for power and speed comes a healthy respect for safety.

“Whether I’m racing at Bonneville or surfing big waves, as an adrenaline junky, there is a whole range of emotions. At the start line there is an exhilaration, anticipation and anxiety mixed with a euphoria.

There are so many things you are mentally preparing to do to make a 200 MPH run and fear is mixed in there as well. Fear is what keeps you alive, alert and aware of your surroundings.

As a driver and a builder I’m very much in touch with the feel and the sound. I have been sideways on two wheels at 240 MPH and you find God real quick at a moment like that.

I have lost friends on the track. It has to be taken seriously.”

Jimmy has seen many changes in the classic car industry over the years. Commenting on the introductions of rat rods and low-riders onto the scene, he agrees that there is a new spirit of acceptance among the different groups.

“Going back many years, all the different cultures, the bikers, the hot-rodders, the low-riders and the racers were all very segregated, almost like a gang mentality, and no one from one group talked to someone from the other. Now it is very cool to see these groups sharing their artistic influences and technical ideas with each other.

“It is great to see these guys starting to respect each other. Billy Gibbons (of ZZ Top) and I just came back from Sweden, doing a show over there and we attended a large national show and it was amazing how eclectic the display was — all types of cars and bikes in a shared space.”

Jimmy enjoys the opportunity to travel throughout the world and talk cars.

“If you are a car guy or a car gal, it is our love of all things mechanical — cars, bikes, power — that is the common thread that binds us together.

“We have been in Sweden and Russia and we’ve met some pretty hard-core car people. It’s also nice to see the governing bodies of countries like Canada or Australia stepping up to make sure that the passion for these vehicles also maintains the safety side as well.”

Jimmy has recently experienced fame and notoriety with his reality TV programs like Car Warriors and Weaponizers and teamed up with his good friend Gibbons to produce more shows.

“Movies and TV have played a big part in keeping the classic car movement alive. American Graffiti is the Bible for the classic car enthusiast and I have talked to so many people who tell me they have taken inspiration from my TV shows or the magazine. The show can change people’s lives if it’s done professionally.

“I like to think we have some great people coming along to carry the torch and this car culture and its history will be here for a long time to come.”

Jimmy sums it up: “I have a Grade 12 education, I build cars and bikes, I get to travel the world and be on TV and meet amazing people.

“Am I that lucky? How good is that?”

Jimmy Shine is not only coming to Cruise-In to greet visitors and sign autographs from 10 am to 3 pm. As a special momento of his visit to Canada, Jimmy has hand crafted a unique trophy in his California shop and has had it professionally engraved. Cruise-In Director Riccardo Sestito says “Jimmy will present this one of a kind award to the vehicle of his choice on the stage at our end of day awards ceremony. One lucky car owner will be going home with a Jimmy shine original.”

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