Johnny Hunkins (aka John Francis Hunkins) was born January 15, 1963 in Southern Illinois. Attended Southeast Guilford High School near Greensboro, NC, and graduated in 1981. Received a BFA degree in Art with a concentration in Design from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNC-G) in 1985. T he son of a music teacher and a music composer, began playing guitar at age 6, meanwhile harbored companion interests in muscle cars, model car building, the then-provincial sport of NASCAR racing, and drag racing. (Hunkins counts many auto industry workers and automotive engineers among his family members.)
During and after attending UNC-G, worked as a service writer at Montgomery Ward Auto Express. Bought a Ford Mustang LX 5.0L in 1987 which he began modifying immediately, then started contributing freelance stories to Muscle Mustangs & Fast Fords (MM&FF) in 1991.
Moved to New Jersey from North Carolina and became fulltime MM&FF tech editor in the fall of 1992. Helped create, then became editor of GM High-Tech Performance (originally High-Tech Performance) magazine in 1995. (Invented the "True Street" drag racing class in 1993, whereby contestants must prove street legality, drive a predetermined street route, usually 30 to 50 miles to prove street worthiness, then on the same tank of gas complete three back-to-back drag strip passes which are averaged together to create a field ranking.) Promoted to editor of Popular Hot Rodding magazine in the spring of 2003 and moved to Southern California.
Previous and current magazine projects cars: 1987 Ford Mustang LX 5.0 (Project Excalibur), 1989 Ford Mustang LX 5.0, 1987 Buick Regal Turbo-T (2), 1993 Pontiac Firebird Formula (Project T hunderchicken), 1989 Pontiac Firebird Formula 350 (Project Magnum T PI), 1994 Chevy Camaro Z 28 (T he Grape Of Wrath), 1976 Chevy Camaro (Project g/28), 1968 Chevy Chevelle (Street Sweeper), 1975 Chevy Laguna S-3 (current), 1968 Chevy Nova (current), 1968 Plymouth Valiant (current).
Other interests include smoking fine cigars, playing and recording rock music (Hunkins is an artist on the indy label Grooveyard Records), and collecting fine watches.