WHEN Justin Hills became a 'legend' of the Sacramento Autorama, he was told by someone very wise to put the award away for 20 years.
"You're not ready to appreciate it yet," said the mature car enthusiast as he congratulated Justin on his achievement.
"Most of them are over 80," said Justin of his fellow inductees at last month's official ceremony to honour those who have made an outstanding contribution to the custom car scene.
In the heart of the custom capital of the world, the Sacramento Autorama has brought together some of the most notable custom car builders of all time.
"It is cool to be part of a group of people that I have been reading about for so long," said Justin. "These are people I look up to and that feels really good."
Justin admitted he was nervous on the night, even though he had known about the honour for the past year. After his 1960 Dodge, known as "Atom" won the 2013 H A Bagdasarian Award for World's Most Beautiful Custom, Justin knew he would be going back to Sacramento in 2014.
"It's a nice feeling knowing that people are now actually waiting for my next car," he said. "And it is really cool knowing that my cars are competing against some of the major players in the custom car scene right now; people like John D'Agostino, Rick Dore and James Hetfield from Metallica."
Justin's next project is already underway and this time he is honouring his English roots.
A collector in Atlanta recently bought Justin's 1949 Buick and it was in this same town that Justin purchased a 1953 Jaguar XK120.
Last November Justin towed the Jag across the southern states of America to the docks in LA. The car arrived in Australia in January and is now comfortably at home in the Hills and Co Customs' Taree workshop.
With a racing history, the small car is different to Justin's usual projects.
He said he is excited to take on the challenge but is aware he could spend many hours in the planning stage.
"You have to get the design right.
"It doesn't matter how well finished your car is, if the design is wrong you end up with an ugly car."