Name: John Walker
Home: La Jolla
Vehicle: 1954 Chevrolet 210 Station Wagon
Surfing: Tourmaline Surfing Park, Pacific Beach
John Walker is an encyclopedia on old cars. "'54 was the last year of the volumetric style of design, a holdover from the '40s. Everything back then, whether it was a blender or a vacuum cleaner or car, looked like a rocket. In 1955 Chevy streamlined their design to make it more flat panel instead of bubbled. Harley Earl was the head designer for General Motors from the '20s into the '50s and this was his style."
John also prefers the steel body to the "woody" station wagon. "Some of those woody owners won't put a wet board on their roof. Woodies have become items of obsession; they're meticulously restored, never driven, never used. My wagon's more of the 'Wind an' Sea' aesthetic. It's not pristine; I drive it to surf here or carry tools in the back to take care of some rental properties. I have a stepladder back there that gives me easier access to the rack. I carry wet boards. My two little kids ride in it, eat in there. It's functional."
He uses the vehicle, but also cares for it. His 4.3mm wetsuit is kept in a plastic tub that's "essential to keep from exposing the interior to rust. If I get the car wet or dirty, I clean it off when I get home."
John has surfed Tourmaline Park for 15 years. "Craziest thing I've ever seen out here was a 30-foot boat that drove right through the lineup of surfers. We were sitting on our boards wondering what was going on and we noticed the guy was asleep at the helm. We shouted at him to wake him up, but it didn't work. He was heading for the point and would've crashed if a wave hadn't rocked his boat enough to wake him up. He lost a little Zodiac raft off the back. About five seconds after the Zodiac washed up on shore scavengers had it in the back of a truck and were pulling away with it. I guess that's 'salvage rights.'"