Steve Casado, 73, is a welding inspector who makes sure that buildings are physically sound. He inspected several Lodi schools and the Lodi High School gym when they were built.
But Casado has another life — he loves restored cars.
He’s very proud of the 1957 Ford Ranchero he’s owned for more than a year. He’s even more proud of it now that Taylored Auto Body in south Lodi has fully restored the car, complete with a bright orange and white body.
The car, restored by auto body owner David Britt and his staff, was completed on Oct. 11. Two days later, Casado took it to the Pete Paulsen Car Show in Lathrop, where it was named one of 40 “outstanding cars.”
Casado doesn’t go long distances to car shows like some enthusiasts do, but he and his Ranchero can be seen at A&W Root Beer’s car shows on Lodi Avenue.
It took about four months for Taylored Auto Body to complete the vehicle’s restoration because Britt had to juggle time with other customers’ cars, especially those involved in collisions.
“Insurance companies want a rapid turnaround,” Britt said.
Casado said the restoration of his car was worth the wait.
“This job is probably 100 percent better than expected,” he said.
Born and raised in Oakland, Casado moved to a ranch in Acampo in 1983, relocated to San Andreas in 1999, and then came to Lodi two years later.
Britt, who has run his shop on Maggio Circle for the past three years, was born and raised in Stockton, where his father owned an auto body shop. Britt was an insurance appraiser and later ran the body shop at Lodi’s Sanborn Chevrolet. He and his wife Kristen moved to Lodi about six years ago.
“We would have made the jump a lot earlier if we had known how great it is to live in a small town,” Britt said.
Britt enjoys seeing people come to his office just to chat about cars, even if they don’t have work for him at the moment.
“Everybody seems to know everybody,” Britt said.
“Lodi’s more social than Stockton,” Casado added.
Contact reporter Ross Farrow at email@example.com.