Felix Velasquez / Covina, CA - Here’s a place any of us would feel right at home in. You could build just about anything in here, too. Welcome to Felix Velasquez’ garage. Conveniently, it doubles as his living space, as this garage is on his mother’s property. The workshop is in the front two-thirds of the garage, and he configured the rear section of it as his living area. Felix has been into cars as long as he can remember. After high school, he got a job at Automotive Balancing Shop and worked there for several years before leaving to work at a machine shop owned by his parents. His father recently passed away, and Felix is now back in school and working side jobs out of his garage. We love the place because he’s filled it with used equipment he’s bought from websites ranging from eBay to RacingJunk.com.
1. Felix keeps his ’66 Nova in his shop, too. It’s his first car; he bought it when he was in high school and formerly used it for street racing. It’s powered by a 400 (plus) small-block Chevy with a forged crank, rods, and pistons. He’s got Pro-Topline heads and pumps a 200-shot of nitrous through them. On the motor, it runs 12s. A Turbo 350 and a 10-bolt rear with Tom’s axles complete the drivetrain.
2. Like any well-used shop, Felix’s garage is full of stuff: racing pictures, vintage signs, magazine clippings, and similar memorabilia. Lots of these items are also functional, including old balancing tools and gauges. As an added bonus, there are at least three engine blocks hidden under this bench.
3. Hanging from the ceiling is this big-block Chevy. OK, it’s not a real engine—it’s one of those foam blocks used for mocking up an engine compartment. Still, it looks authentic, fully dressed with an oil pan, an intake manifold, and a flexplate.
4. The machinery lining the right-hand wall are also items Felix bought through careful searching of swap-meet booths and websites. The bigger machines, such as the drill presses, are stationary, but the smaller items, like the grinder and tubing bender, are mounted on pedestals so he can pull things out as he needs them and push them back out of the way when he’s done.
5. Felix bought this bench used and added the solid wood top, which provides a strong foundation for metalwork projects The copper-colored tool on the left side of the table is a metal shear that will cut through any piece of sheetmetal you will find on a car. Those gold-colored tools behind it are anvils Felix uses for shaping metal. The anvils fit into various slots in the table to help create the shapes he wants. To the left of the table is a vertical disc sander.
Out in the backyard is this way-cool engine test stand. Felix made the frame and motor-mount bars and bought the gauges from a machine shop selling its old dyno. He runs every engine he builds on this stand ahead of time, dialing in the fuel and timing so the engine is ready to run when it gets dropped into the car. His neighbors don’t complain because he hooks up a full exhaust system prior to firing the engine.