Best Of 2013

It’s Been An Incredible Year


Story/Photos: T-Bone

We are truly blessed to have dedicated readers and fans like you. From 1997 till April of 2011, Blacktop Magazine was a hobby of sorts for me and my son Billy. What started as a National listing for car shows, we turned into a diary of sorts for our adventures in the automotive and motorcycle scene. In April 2011, with a new website, we have moved, ever-so-slowly from a hobby into a business. Offering advertisers an opportunity to share their relevant products and services with our ever-growing audience. A year later, May of 2012, we published our first Special Print Edition with top stories from the past year. On Christmas Eve, we launched our 6th issue called Trunkload. All of the magazines are “Print on Demand” with HP’s service. This means no huge overhead cost of printing/warehousing and distributing the magazines, but it also means a high cost per issue. Look for the next issues of Blacktop, The Magazine to be conventionally printed, larger and with an expanded distribution.

In August of this year we conceived our latest project: Blacktop’s B.A.D. Bike Build benefiting the American Diabetes Association. Since then we have been working hard to spread the word, find sponsorships, and secure a donor bike. We are pleased to announce that an anonymous donor has offered a Harley-Davidson Shovelhead basket case for the project. But that’s not all. He also is having the motor looked over to make sure it is in running condition and went through all the parts to be sure everything is there, and if it isn’t he will give us a list with his suggestion on how much such parts should cost! Amazing! Be sure to stay tuned to follow the progress with inspiring articles and interviews with people who have overcome incredible challenges and continue to live their motorhead dreams. This is the beginning of a new chapter for us, as we move to present more articles that celebrate the charitable efforts of our hot rod and chopper brethren.

Speaking of article content, we reviewed our site metrics and the data from a recent survey and we have learned quite a bit about what you, the readers, are most interested in. Interesting information as we found that the readers of tend to favor coverage of events, people and vehicles, where-as the viewers at BlacktopTV (our YouTube channel) to favor the installation, cruisin’ and event videos. We featured 64 articles, three Special Print Edition magazines, produced 48 videos and exhibited at 15 events in 2013. We also secured a couple of significant partner relationships. Primer Podcast is sharing updates to the B.A.D. Bike Build, Chris “Stubby” Rasnick and the Mercifuls So Cal Car Club, Gary Morin at Rusty Relic Photography, Sherri Candland for the Futurliner updates at Kindig-it Designs, and West Coast Kustoms is our first distributor of Blacktop, The Magazine.

I would like to take this moment too, to thank our sponsors who have been so generous in their support, in no particular order: Bedwood and Parts, Surf City Garage, ACCEL, Con2R, Hellwig, Rare Parts Lucky 7 Enterprises, Eddie Motorsports, Airaid, The 401k Club Hot Rod Shop, Cyclepath Cycle, Grip-Tite, Tite-Reach, GT Performance Products, Edelbrock, Junk Yard Find, Signazon, Schapiro and Leventhal, So Cal Cycle Swap Meet, Custom Autosound, K&N Filters, AEM, Richard’s Wheel and Chassis.

Thank you all for an amazing 2013, we look forward to even more to offer next year.
Best wishes to you and your family and friends from Tony T-Bone Colombini, Billy and Panzer ShopDog.

16th Annual Rip’s B.A.D. Ride Recap

Some great changes were in the works this year!


Photos/Video and Story: T-Bone

Sixteen years ago, Rip Rose, photo/editor at Easyriders Magazine created the B.A.D. (Bikers Against Diabetes) Ride. We have been involved for many of the recent years and some of you may recall Blacktop Magazine hosted the first-ever Car Show on the grass in the middle of their annual festival. Last year the festival changed venue with mixed reviews. This year Heather Erickson, Rip’s B.A.D. Ride manager for the American Diabetes Association decided to go back to the roots and focus the efforts on fundraising through”third-party” events.

In September we rolled along with a local poker run. It was a neat little event and reminded me on how fun Poker Runs are. Not just sitting in a parking lot, park or bar, but actually riding the bikes from spot to spot meeting new and old friends alike along the route. You can read more about the Rip’s B.A.D. Ride Poker Run here.

In October, Bartels’ Harley-Davidson in Marina Del Rey celebrated their 30th anniversary. They sure know how to throw a party. There was an escorted ride through the beach communities of Venice, Santa Monica and Malibu before ending up with a BBQ Chicken and Tri-Tip lunch at Sycamore Cove State Park. A little known California State Park right on the sand backed up by the cliffs of the Santa Monica Mountain Range and just across the border into Ventura County. Another great run where all the proceeds go to Rip’s B.A.D. Ride. You can read more about that event here.

With our marketing efforts and the B.A.D. Bike Build project benefitting the Rip’s B.A.D. Ride for 2014 we were invited to the annual V.I.P. Party. The V.I.P. event invites B.A.D. Riders who have fundraised over $500.00 worth of donations to the American Diabetes Association. This year the event was held at Original Mikes Restaurant in Santa Ana. The restaurant was Santa Ana’s first Buick-Horseless Carriage Auto Dealership built in 1919. The bar had First Bitten playing classic rock tunes. The patio hosted a casino event where people could buy chips for prizes awarded at the end of the afternoon party. There was a silent and live auction and the Victor McLagen Motor Corps riders put on a great show!

All-in-All we think this years’ Rip’s B.A.D. Ride was a success! We like the smaller rides and the focus on helping people with Diabetes rather than a super-expensive party for the ADA. We look forward to next year and being able to make a significant contribution, WITH YOUR HELP, to the American Diabetes Association through our B.A.D. Bike Build. Thank you to our early supporters; Schapiro and Leventhal, THE Motorcycle Attorneys; So Cal Cycle Swap Meet, Cyclepath Cycle, K&N Filters and those who have made personal donations and support by purchasing a t-shirt or other merchandise! Also a big thank you to our media partners at Primer Podcast for their updates to our project. To learn more about the B.A.D. Bike Build visit:

TMI Products: 2010 Archived Garage Tour

Quality Products Made in America

Story/Photos: T-Bone

If you’ve ever been to the SEMA Show you know how overwhelming and inspiring it can be. This year we went on a mission to find U.S. Manufacturers. We found many and some in our own backyard here in Southern California. TMI Products Inc. was just one of those firms. We first noticed the awesome grabber orange/houndstooth interior on a convertible first generation Camaro pace car in their booth. Exquisite stitching, great color consistency and original GM textures and patterns made for a remarkable product.I introduced myself to Aaron Lyle and asked about his company and products. He replied that they are a manufacturer in Corona CA cutting, stitching and assembling interior upholstery kits for classic VW’s, first generation Camaros and 64-1/2 to current Mustangs. I had to check this out for myself.

TMI Products Inc. is a family-owned company, founded in 1982 when the Tuccinardi brothers began making Volkswagen door panels in their family garage in Torrance, CA. Today they make high-value interior automotive components like seating, interior consoles, floor coverings, door panels, convertible roof assemblies, headliners and integrated electronic systems.

Billy and I rolled up to their huge facility in Corona and met with Aaron who showed us around the entire facility. What we didn’t realize is that TMI Products Inc., also manufactures in-car entertainment systems for a wide variety of manufacturers, such as Toyota, Hummer, Land Rover and more with the brand name: Vizualogic®.

I asked why do you keep your manufacturing here in the states? I know it’s one of those questions I wish I didn’t have to ask, and lately I seem to be getting the same answer.

Topic One: Quality. There is no doubt that manufacturing overseas may be good for simple products like pool noodles, but when it comes to detailed interior products for your valuable classic car you don’t want to go with a product that comes from multiple manufacturing facilities in China. Color consistency, product quality are all over the map. The dedicated staff at TMI triple-check quality throughout a run. First inspecting the raw materials as received, inspecting the quality during production, and again a final inspection prior to shipping. Quality is the most important factor, which separates themselves from any competition.

Topic Two: Inventory. TMI/Vizualogic® has virtually no inventory of products. That may sound like a downer to you who needs your interior products NOW! Get this, if an order is placed by 2pm it will ship out that day. And all Vizualogic® products are assembled THAT DAY!

There are four guys spraying the foam material in molds and in a matter of minutes a pad is prepared and ready to go. But while that is happening raw materials for the upholstery are getting their backing formed onto the correct color/pattern fabric, then cut by CNC driven knives on big flat tables. The cut pieces are sent to the stitchers who then carefully hand sew the pieces together. We saw them sew up some Mustang GT seat covers, all with the correct number of stitches as factory. Leather and most of the raw materials they use for the upholstery come from the United States. Retailers can order a variety of custom colors, however the patterns cannot change.

TMI Products Inc., has proven that their formula works. They have been in business for over 29 years and have grown considerably during these trying economic times. A lot to celebrate! And, I haven’t even gotten into the in-car entertainment side of the business.

Vizualogic®, the mobile entertainment division of TMI Products Inc., is an OEM producer that has led the industry from it’s novelty stage of in-car A/V to this new era of sophistication. Vizualogic® provides OEM’s with head-rest electronics and integrated interior components. Next time you are in your sister-in-law’s Toyota minivan and are yucking it up with the kiddies watching Sponge-Bob Squarepants, or, if you are in your buddies Land Rover crawlin for chicks with the latest Kid Rock video blaring, know that the system was most likely built in Corona California at TMI/Vizualogic.

Now go out in the garage and check out the interior of your classic ride and see if TMI can help. They don’t sell direct, so you will have to go through their distribution channels. Find out where at: or call their friendly staff at: 951-272-1996, tell them Blacktop Magazine sent you

SEMA 2012 Banquet Thursday

The Endurance Race…

Story: T-Bone, Photos T-Bone / Billy (above: Emily Sherer at Defenderworx’s Booth)

We are hitting the half-way mark and yesterday was a great day walking the halls and finding all kinds of cool stuff. We could leave today and have a great show, but we want to cover it all for you.

We start out right in the middle of Central Hall at the Magnaflow booth. Sabina Kelly was there showing off the outrageous “Revolver” truck that Chip Foose designed and CW Restorations built. There are four dual sets of exhaust in the back to showcase the variety of mufflers Magnaflow has to offer. THey also had some of the popular MMA fighters there. Then we rolled through the upper Central Hall for visits to Speed Dawg, and Adjure before making our way through the Ford Booth to see the SEMA Women Built Mustang, Stitchcrafts showcase ‘stang, and more.

We found Eight Stack along the wall of central hall with a Fuel Injection system that looks like a set of 4 dual Webers. Stewart Warner had a truck that Hot Rod Chassis and Cycle built for a customer and showcasing their economy line of gauges. We found Sylvester III which we shared in our coverage of GNRS hiding in the wings.

In the evening, I was invited to sit with Dennis Gauge and friends at the SEMA Banquet where Christopher Titus helped Dave McClelland present trophy winners and the SEMA Hall of Fame.

I will have details of all this in the coming weeks. Stay tuned.

SEMA 2012 Halloween

Tricks and Treats on the Show Floor.

Story: Tony Colombini, Photos: Gary Morin and Billy

Day two at SEMA and it’s Halloween. We saw some incredible things. We first met up with the people at Evapo-Rust. Evapo-rust claims to be a “Super Safe Rust Remover”. They had a plastic vat with rusty chain and auto parts in it. It is a water-base rust remover and with surface rust a soaking will remove in about an hour, where a severely rusted piece will take overnight. We will be doing some Shocker Chopper Garage tests of some rusty parts. The thing we like about the product too is the demonstration of a rusty can that when soaked the original printing on the can was untouched. Watch for more. Then we headed over to Ironclad who makes project specific gloves. Some incredible work gloves right for any occasion from hunting to oil rig working.

It’s Halloween and occasionally we see a booth babe dressed up and tried to get a pic for you to enjoy. The PPG booth had a nice looking Lone Ranger chick with Bobby Alloway’s ’56 Ranch Wagon.

There were other incredible products we found including a low-temp aluminum welding product called FUSE. Similar to soldering but much stronger to braze two pieces of aluminum together. We’ll have to perform a test for you as well. They say it’s great at the track when track time is of essence and you need a quick fix.

Clay Johnson was there with his wife Gwynn showcasing his new LS Coil Covers. More beautiful products from Clayton Machine Works.

In the north hall we found some textured vinyl coating products, imagine a snake and lizard skin coated Challenger. Then we ran into Dennis Gage at the booth. Farther along we found a really cool tool which we will be testing in the Shocker Chopper Garage; Tight Reach is a socket extender to fit in cramped places. Follow along as we test the set from a professional grade 3/8 and ¼ inch version and a home shop 3/8 inch 1/1 ratio.

Would you believe a Viper Limo? That and some other cool cars were in the Mopar Alley between the south hall and central hall.

Back in the central hall we rolled over to TMI they were showcasing their Sport R line in an employee built Chevelle and a Mustang. Tomorrow we will be shooting model; Emily Sherer in their comfy seats. Stay tuned.

The show closed right at 5pm and we headed over to the Hot Rod Industry Alliance reception where Mike Kinney auctioned off three winning pinewood derby cars for the SEMA Cares program. Over $4,000 dollars were raised in the auction!

Tomorrow looks to be action packed with a stroll through Hot Rod Alley with Emily shooting her in a variety of booths.

SEMA 2012 – Opening Day

Let the party begin…

Story: T-bone, Photos: Billy and T-Bone

We started the day at the New Products Award Breakfast hosted by Dave McClelland with keynote speaker Chip Foose who spoke about the passion in our industry. When he left Boyd’s shop with only $700 in the bank, and his wife announcing that she was pregnant with his first child and a $1,600.00 mortgage payment coming quick he started his journey to open his own shop. Then they announced the awards for new product categories (details to come after the show) and we were off to roll the show floor to the New Products section.

We went around the South Hall truck/SUV/Wheel and Tire section. We ran into a cool little booth with highly detailed die-cast cars. Jeff from Greenlight Toys shared some of their lines from hi-end collectible to retail impulse buys. We dug the 1/64 scale cars that come with scale shop equipment such as floor jacks and cherry pickers.

We then headed up to the Central Hall to check out our friends in the Hot Rod and Restoration sections. We ran into Dan Woods of Chop Cut Rebuild and saw the ’56 Chevy that the “Jersey” and the boys at Classic Industries built for his show.

After a day on the floor we went to ARMO (Automotive Restoration Market Organization) reception. I had the opportunity to joke around with Eric from Steele Rubber, Sheila from Madstache and Dennis Gage of My Classic Car.

Whew! What a day. We hope you enjoy the photos of the cars, bikes, ladies and the show from today. Watch for more details soon. We will announce our detailed SEMA Show Review via our e-blast.