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The sleek gray capsule stood motionless before the gathered crowd. And what a sight it was: tubular exhaust headers, polished valve covers, blower scoop, checkered flag badges, and a custom plate that read *58 Pro. The driver reclined behind a set of custom gauges wearing his favorite black shirt with hot rod flames.

Everybody assembled recognized the man inside and knew how much he would have appreciated what they had done to customize his ride on this, his final journey. But he wasn't able to tell them. James D. Calabrese, something of a local legend in the Southern California hot rod scene, had passed away several days before. Follow the jump for the rest of the story.

[Source: Orange County Register]
Remembering what Jim had said while attending a relative's funeral back in 1990, Karen Calabrese, his wife of 29 years, gathered some of Jim's friends together to help customize his casket. While viewing the black bullet-shaped casket of his brother-in-law Jim had told her, "I want that when I die, and I want headers on it."

"Whatever you want, dear," Karen replied.

"If you don't bury me with headers, I'll haunt you."

So, over the weekend, Karen called upon Jim's lifelong friend, Tony Suskie of Placentia, to head up the casket remodeling. They started with parts from Jim's beloved '58 Chevy Biscayne but others contributed time as well as parts that Jim had longed for. In the end they created the ultimate hot rod for the journey to the great beyond. God speed Jim.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 8 Years Ago
      • 8 Years Ago
      All these people saying that the thought of a casket like this is dumb really need to show some respect. My dad is a hard core car guy, it's what he grew up doing and to this day enjoys. I know if he was sent off in this style it would be an honor.
      • 7 Years Ago
      my dad made that
      I thought that was pretty cool, and i think it was pretty bomb, since jimmy loved his car, I think it looked really cool, and has way more of a personal touch to it!
      I miss you Jimmy!!!
      we all love you very much
      • 8 Years Ago
      I want to be buried in an Enzo. Anyone want to donate the Enzo so I can appreciate it beforehand?
      • 8 Years Ago
      That has to be the dumbest thing I've ever seen.
      • 8 Years Ago
      I find the three statements above false, misleading, and far more offencive then crude language. Could we please remove them out respect for the famialy, and friends of James D. Calabrese?

      And While Im asking for favors, I also believe it be most appropreat to offer a prayer to the loved ones that James had to leave behind. I hope that you find the strenght to continue without James, and never fear that your memorys of him, dare fade. Amen.
      • 8 Years Ago
      if thats what he wanted so be it. everyone else is
      just jealous cause they didn't think of it first. godspeed you
      • 8 Years Ago
      Is that Ron Jeremy standing next to the casket? Oh brother!

      Couldn't they have cleaned up the pipes a little? Looks like they just slapped them on. Hacks!
      Vince Marchisotto
      • 8 Years Ago
      • 8 Years Ago
      HA! A Chev Bowtie on a casket, is that what foreshadowing looks like?
      • 7 Years Ago
      Mr. Calabrese may you enjoy hotrod heaven.