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Contributed By Tony Colombini

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Tony Colombini brings his 25+ years of design and marketing experience with a proprietary process to work for his clients. Who once designed for a variety of industries, Colombini is focusing his design practice to his passion for classic cars, motorcycles and kustom culture.

More from Tony Colombini

In the world of classic cars, each vehicle tells a story. For Tony Colombini and his son, Billy, their 1956 Ford Fairlane is a testament to their enduring passion for automobiles and a symbol of overcoming adversity. This Fairlane, affectionately named “Riffraff” after an AC/DC song, embodies the strength and resilience of a family bonded by their love for cars, even in the face of life’s toughest challenges.

Tony Colombini, founder of BlackTopMedia, which includes BlackTopTV and BlackTopMagazine, has cultivated a life deeply entrenched in car culture. His work celebrates the automotive lifestyle, showcasing everything from car shows to detailed restorations. However, it’s his personal project, the 1956 Ford Fairlane, that truly captures the essence of his commitment to this culture—a commitment made even more poignant by his son’s story.

Several years ago, Tony’s son experienced a life-altering automotive accident that left him paralyzed from the waist down. Despite this significant challenge, the love for cars that Tony and his son share remains undiminished. This Fairlane has become more than just a project; it’s a venue for father and son to continue sharing moments, overcoming barriers, and enjoying the thrill of the ride.

The journey of restoring the Fairlane has been a labor of love and learning. Tony admits he wasn’t formally trained in auto mechanics. Much of what he has accomplished with “Riffraff” was self-taught—from learning how to turn a wrench to understanding the intricacies of a classic car. The project has transcended the typical car renovation. Through this meticulous process, Tony and Billy have found a shared purpose and a path to healing, one custom detail at a time.

Perhaps one of the most distinctive and meaningful features of the car is its roof, adorned with lace—a creative idea added by Tony, and painted by Hitoshi at Cambra Speed Shop in Orange, CA. This unique design choice conveys a piece of the family’s story, literally cut from a tablecloth provided by his wife. This detail shows the personal touches that make classic car restoration so special—it’s an art form, a mobile family heirloom. In essence, Tony’s Fairlane is a rolling symbol of resilience. Every outing in “Riffraff” is a victory lap, a celebration of persistence over the physical and emotional challenges his family has faced. It’s a clear message that despite life’s unpredictability and hardships, joy can be found, created, and shared.

The Fairlane has also become a community connector. Whether Tony is taking his wife on a date, cruising with his son, or accompanied by his dog Hilda, this car draws attention and admiration. It’s a familiar sight at local car shows and fun runs, where it not only turns heads but also starts conversations—bridging generations of car enthusiasts. 

The Colombinis’ story is a powerful reminder that classic cars are carriers of history, builders of relationships, and icons of enduring spirit. For Tony and Billy, the Fairlane is more than a means of transport; it’s a companion in their journey—a journey not defined by a destination, but by the road traveled together.