About Our Shop
I have been a car nut since as far back as I can remember. I was born in Brunswick, Maine, where my father was stationed in the Navy. I grew up living all over the world as a military brat, attending 13 different schools in 12 years. Whether we were living in Morocco, North Africa or Somersworth, New Hampshire (home of the Somersworth Hilltoppers), just to name a few, my father was into cars and turning wrenches. He must have passed that gene to me. I continued to follow my father’s footsteps and joined the Navy in 1986. I spent 10 ½ years flying in helicopters as a Naval Aircrewman/Rescue Swimmer accumulating almost 3,000 total flight hours.
At age 42, I decided to attend Law School at night while I continued turning wrenches during the day. When I graduated from Law School, with the greatest educational experience of my life, I couldn’t give up my passion for cars and decided to put my new education to work, not as an attorney, but as a small business owner.
In 2017, I opened up Hilltoppers Speed Shop to restore and build cars. While I turned my own wrenches over the years, other shops did the bodywork and paint. As a customer, I often times felt cheated at the end of an expensive build. My goal is to give our customers a better value for their hard-earned dollar. I have a great team working with me and consider myself very fortunate! The talent at this shop make Hilltoppers what it is today.
My father owned and operated a body shop, so I guess you could say I was born and raised into it in Huntsville, Alabama! I am proud to be a 2nd generation body man thanks to my dad, who is my greatest influence! I learned so much from him growing up, being in the shop, and working with him in my younger years. He taught me to weld at the age of 10, and had me beating the dents out of panels from the beginning. That’s where it all started for me!
I enjoy restoring a lot of different cars, but, I really dig from hot rods to pre-runners. My favorite being a ’38 Plymouth chopped top. Anything with a complicated build is fun. I feel like these restorations are art; capturing the past, designing new ideas, bringing them to reality and just having fun.
When I am not restoring cars at Hilltoppers or working on my own cars at home, I enjoy spending time with my family and friends, mountain biking on trails in Tennessee and Florida, and drawing art sketches.
My restoration career started when I moved from my hometown of Bon Aqua, TN to West Palm Beach, FL to work with my uncle. We did metal fabrication on high end yachts and a private collection of antique automobiles. When the economy went south, I returned home and spent the next 10 years honing my restoration skills with a couple of local shops. I was able to put my metal fabrication skills to work creating fine-looking finished products, just as if they were my own. Nothing makes me prouder to see a customer drive away with a smile on their face!
The memories I had growing up still, to this day, inspire me. My uncle Donald, who taught me to stick weld and drive a standard shift, always had lot’s of cool old cars to tinker with. A 69 Camaro Z28, 73 El Camino, a 67 GTO, and a 66 Impala SS, just to name a few.
When I am not restoring cars, I enjoy just about anything with wheels, fixin’ stuff at the farm, feedin’ cows, and wishin’ I was riding my motorcycle. And of course, my wife Jill is always at the top of my long list!
``Poptart`` aka Josh
Working on cars started for me at a very young age. When I was 14, I purchased my first car for $150.00. It was a 1969 Mustang Boss 302. I lived with my mom and we didn’t have the money for repairs. So, I had to learn to fix this car on my own. That’s where it all started for me!
From there, it only got better. I was able to move into the custom side of restoration; fabricating parts from scratch and applying new technology in older vehicles to improve upon the original performance, appearance, and drivability. Essentially making them better than when they were built.
My travels around the world have allowed me to see automotive history and work on some really cool restorations. I was born a Navy Brat in Keflavik, Iceland and grew up in South Texas. I have moved around the US, spending most of that time in California and now in Tennessee to stay.
There are three very special people in my life, my wife Kris and my two beautiful daughters. When I am not spending time with my family and friends, and of course my dog, I boat occasionally, but work on cars, cars and more cars!
My role is in Operations and Information Technology. The scope of my duties are to support the shop in tracking projects and ensuring that they are expedited, as well as providing highly detailed reporting of every step of work to be documented in a manner that enables us to provide you, the customer, with the most complete information throughout the build period.
I have been modifying and customizing my own vehicles since I was 15. I have always been a gearhead and when I found this opportunity, I jumped at it.
I was born and raised in Southern California and have since lived in Las Vegas Nevada and South Florida, so I have always lived in cities that were hotbeds of vehicle modification.
I always got inspiration from my children watching me work on a given vehicle and their reaction to the completed project. I have several, but a perfectly restored 1970 Chevelle SS 454 LS6 would probably top that list. I am very much into electronics. I enjoy building new computer workstations, A/V setups and configuration, and most of all time with friends and family.