Home  Sleeving Odds and Ends
Unusual Cylinders Brake FAQ Cylinder Sleeving Prices
Spridget Master Cylinders Gallery Testimonials
  contact us Retirement Z06

We have retired and are no longer accepting work. Information on this website is presented for historical and educational purposes only.



Heather speaking...I wanted to share some of our business history over the past 20 years now that Joe has retired. Here are some photos showing how we got started and a little information about what it took to build our business--Sierra Specialty Automotive.


Joe in the shop, ready to assemble ten 1937-1946 Chevy truck master cylinders.




Joe almost always wears a cap in the shop to keep chips out of what's left of his hair. Over the years, the hats get very grimy and worn. After the last box was shipped at the end of March 2013, we had a ceremonial backyard "Burning of the Last Hat". Retirement starts off with a new hat!!!



It's been 20 years since we began our brake cylinder sleeving business
with a vision for success in a very technical niche. Well, we DID it
and now have retired. Even the "big boys" in the business took note
of Sierra Specialty Automotive! Joe has become THE expert in and out
of the country. Our business served the United States and many
countries outside the U.S. We worked on cylinders sent from other
parts of the world such as South Africa, England, Japan, Australia,
Germany, Canada, Austria, New Zealand, Sweden, Portugal and France.

The last box was shipped out March 29th, 2013. The business was officially shut down as of January 1, 2013 but so many customers sent in work prior
to the end of the year that it took three months to complete it all. Not bad
for a one man shop and a wife that did all the "running around" for the business.

Joe worked 20 years with Sierra Specialty Automotive and 21 years before that with Western Pacific RR and Union Pacific RR. Prior to hiring on with the railroad as a brakeman and conductor, he spent 4 years in the U.S. Air Force and 2 years at Feather River College to earn an AA degree. During his period of railroad employment, he also operated a successful part-time locksmith business for 9 years.

Now perhaps he can get to those "fun" projects. Joe is looking forward to catching up on lots of projects that include working on his '29 Model A, two Nash Metropolitans ('55, '56) and even cleaning up the office and his favorite place in all the world--his shop.

During the period from 1993 through 1998 we advertised the business by setting up our booth--often twice a month--through the spring, summer, and fall at Goodguys Car Shows and at automotive swap meets in Reno, Pleasanton, Sacramento, Chico, Dixon, Sonoma Raceway, Portland, L.A., Redding, San Diego, Turlock, Stockton, Napa, Galt, and Mountain View.

Early on we decided on a big goal after a conversation with our customer Booster Dewey. Joe spoke with Dewey, who lives and works in Portland, OR, to find out if he would be setting up a booth at the big Portland Swap Meet in 1994. His reply was, "No, I can barely keep up with the business I already have. I don't have time to go to swap meets." Our mantra then became, "We want to be like Booster Dewey!" We want to have so much work in the shop that we don't have time to travel and set up our booth at car shows and swap meets. Well, we DID it! During the past 15 years Joe has been so busy that he was often 4 to 6 weeks behind in work that came from all over the country and the world. Not bad for starting at zero!

I was Joe's business partner even though the first ten years of the business I was still teaching elementary school full time. I always had school papers with me and my lesson plan book in my bag while we were on the road
during vacation breaks and on weekends. Other support came from our two wonderful daughters, who encouraged us to go for it and start our own business. Both girls were in college in 1993 so it wasn't the best time to give up a good-paying job with the railroad and spend large amounts of money on tooling and equipment for a specialized shop along with travel expenses. It all worked out and our business thrived. Our girls helped whenever possible, including building our simple but useful web site, and joining us at some of the swap meets.

Here are some photos that tell a little about our business advertising
history and how we went about building a successful enterprise from
the ground up.



This was our first meet in early 1993, a Goodguys car show in San Diego at Del Mar Fairgrounds. Our booth was across from REPTOID! There aren't many people in the photo because it was wet and stormy, and attendance was very poor.




Here we are at another Goodguys show in Pleasanton at the Alameda County Fairgrounds, with our first car show friends. We were frequently set up next to or close to them at the Goodguys shows starting with the first one in San Diego. They became very good friends. This event was in March 1993.




This time we are at the big Turlock Swap Meet in January 1994, enjoying a break in the rain. Seems it always rains at the Turlock meet.




The Portland Swap Meet is held in April--cold, wet April of 1994. We sure were glad to have our canopy and a portable propane heater.




Now we're at a swap meet in July 1994 at the Alameda Fairgrounds in Pleasanton. We attended MANY swap meets here. A lot of clubs use this facility. We would usually arrive late Friday night, and be set up and ready at 6:00am or earlier Saturday morning.




This is the 1994 Hot August Nights swap meet at the Livestock Events Center in Reno.




This is our "new" airless shotblaster purchased in Gilroy in 1994 for cleaning rust and dirt off of cylinders. It was a big investment for us, but it costs money to make money.




....at the Goodguys West Coast Nationals in August 1995. This time we're in the "High-Rent" district, set up in the main building at the Alameda County Fairgrounds.




Here we're at another swap meet at Pleasanton in May of 1996.




Joe working at the lathe in September of 1995, when his beard was still dark.






It's been quite a journey. We met some wonderful people along the way
that became good friends, offered advice and helped us find our way as we
grew our small business. Joe has worked on easy parts, and on complicated
parts that sometimes were a challenge. He always figured out a solution.
Recently I spoke on the phone with a competitor in Southern CA who said, "Joe solved a problem for a Ferrari cylinder that no one else could fix--he's a genius." Joe always wanted to be really good at something and from the results of our successful business we believe he has accomplished that goal in this very technical niche. He is one of  the best in the world at brake cylinder sleeving, if not THE best!

Job Joe!!!!!       ...written with love by your wife and business partner Heather

(thanks for putting my name first on the business cards and other paperwork)



Joe has worked on cylinders for many interesting and beautiful cars, trucks, and other vehicles. If you would like to see pictures of some of them, click on the Gallery link.


Home  Sleeving Odds and Ends Unusual Cylinders
Brake FAQ Cylinder Sleeving Prices Spridget Master Cylinders Gallery
Testimonials contact us Retirement Z06

Copyright © 1995-2013 Joe Way     all rights reserved