LA FERIA — When Jose Garcia pushes the pedal to the metal, his car pops a wheelie and blows fire out of its exhaust pipes as it roars down the open road.
He literally burns rubber.
And of all the cars Garcia, 52, of La Feria, has had in his life, it’s the only one that has brought him so much attention.
And he’s had many cool cars over the years.
But none of them top his 1924 T Bucket Ford truck that has been modified into a street legal hot rod.
He calls it “Rail Time” for the long rail frame the engine and body of the muscle car sits on.
“People stop to take pictures with the car all the time,” Garcia said.
In just two short years of restoring the dragster, it has brought him stories he could talk about for days.
In one instance while enjoying a meal at the local Whataburger in town, Garcia had to rush outside into the parking lot to his car. A woman was sitting inside his car, topless having photos taken.
“The guy said, ‘It’s OK you can look,’ suggesting a trade for the photos with the car,” Garcia said. “But that’s my car. Just get out.”
In other instances, he’s seen grown men pose their newborns and children next to it for a photo memory.
How about the time when he gunned it out of a nearby gas station making the engine roar and a police siren alerted him from behind.
But the officer didn’t pull him over to give him a ticket. Instead, Garcia said he smiled and gave him thumbs up.
Garcia says the car is a once-in-a-lifetime vehicle that people can’t come across unless it’s in a museum or a car show.
This past weekend, he was a special contestant at the South Texas Classic Cars and Trucks show, a private car show at the Rio Grande Valley Livestock Show grounds in honor of fallen Border Patrol Agent Eubin Gomez Jr. from Pharr, who died in an off-duty motorcycle crash.
“I was asked to participate and bring my car to the competition,” Garcia said. “I had to send a picture of the car and they said I was in.”
Garcia is coming off some impressive competition wins going into the summer event in Mercedes. His next stop is Biff Buzby’s Cars show in San Antonio and some day a feature in Hotrod Magazine.
His 500 horsepower, high octane engine uses airplane fuel and the exhaust pipes blow fire. That’s how cool this car is.
“This car will stay up in the air as long as you’re holding the gas pedal,” Garcia said.
The car was in bad shape sitting in a garage in Edinburg for many years before he bought it.
Garcia said he has been working on the car for two years and still has more he wants to do with it.
“It’s valued at $40,000,” Garcia said. “It used to be hot orange and had little tires and didn’t look anything like this.”
He said it is the only rail frame car he knows of in the Valley.
“They are very few and rare,” Garcia said. “It’s every hot rodders dream to have a car like this.”