How many times have you heard the horror stories about a project truck swirling around inside some hack shop for years and no work was ever done? Too many, we're willing to bet. Outstanding shops aren't always easy to find.

We've known John Mangiapane of Show Car Restoration (818/994-5077) in Van Nuys, California, for many years and he's always turning out absolutely beautiful cars and trucks. We've watched the progress of the black '56 F-100 owned by Bob and Karen Kandarian of Bakersfield, California, for quite some time with amazement. Mangiapane is truly an artist, but he's also a competent professional who gets the work done. In addition to insurance collision repairs, Showcar Restoration offers complete frame-off restorations of classics, antiques, hot rods, customs, and trucks. After 22 years in the business, John knows what it takes to make discriminating customers happy.

John is quick to point out that he did not build the '54 from the ground up. He would not want to appear to be taking credit for someone else's work, especially when the owner of the truck did a lot of it himself! But the '56 Ford arrived at Show Car Restoration as a wreck that had been sitting in a back yard for 12 years. John really got the chance to plan and execute every detail. The Kandarians visited the shop often over the course of the project, and John always had new suggestions to make the truck safer, improve the appearance, and increase performance.

It's satisfying to see so many nice trucks coming out of the same shop.