April 3, 2012

Sixteen and DRIVEN

Josh Fernandez Chevy Suburban sub enclosure

Ever have one of those moments when you come across something that makes you think “This is just Wicked Cool”?

Well I had one of those times while at Spring Break Nationals 26 in Daytona Beach, Florida. Don’t get me wrong, there were a lot of vehicles at this show that were wicked, cool, amazing & awesome that got my attention. But let’s face it, we expect that right? I mean after all this was SBN and some of the best were there showing off their toys.

Well, anyway, about MY moment. It was Saturday night at the NiteGlow Vehicle Lighting Competition, and I had wondered off well ahead of Johnathan, who was taking photos, when I came across this customized and lit up Chevy Suburban. As I walked around the back of the vehicle, I noticed a piece of paper taped to the back hatch area. It was hand written and said “All worked performed by a 16 year old”. Immediately I stopped in my tracks and thought “Now this is just Wicked Cool, that a 16 year old had done all of this work on this Suburban!”

Well upon further investigation, I found out this 16 year old not only performed the work on the Suburban, but also had a Porsche 924S at the show that he began working on when he was 12. Pretty darn “Wicked Cool” don’t you think? I, personally, have put in countless hours in the shop customizing vehicles, spent even more hours admiring different works, and have a deep appreciation for someone’s ability, efforts and hard work.  So when I come across a DRIVEN Lifestyle of a kid doing this, well, it makes my heart swell a bit, to say the least.  Oh, and kudos to his dad, for supporting him, teaching him, and allowing him to pursue his dream.

This young man’s name is Josh Fernandez and this is his DRIVEN LIFE.

At the age of 11, while helping a friend’s mom move, Josh was gifted a broken down 1987 Porsche 924S! Although it did not run, had some paint and body issues and the transmission was about to be history, as it had seen better days.  Josh and his dad accepted the gift and a young boy began to embark on what would become a true journey of a lifetime.

Working out of their small one car garage at their home, Josh and his dad repaired all of the mechanical issues.  Next, after what seemed like ages of begging, Josh’s dad allowed him to begin tackling the paint and body issues. At the age of 14, armed with sand paper and a fifteen dollar spray gun, Josh and a friend began the task of stripping the paint. Luckily a man driving by saw what these kids were trying to do and offered his assistance. Josh, wanting to have a complete hands on approach with this car, struck a deal with this man and ended up with a fresh paint job on the entire car and gained a tremendous amount of experience and knowledge in the process.

Now that the car was running and the paint and body looked good, Josh wanted to tackle restoring the interior.  Again working out of his garage at home, Josh & his dad began working on the seats, dash and the panels. After the interior it was time to freshen up the wheels and tires. But do you think he stopped there? NO. Like so many of us that only lead to more things to do, to make it “complete”.

Being limited to a budget, Josh bought a complete set up from a national chain store, including box, subwoofer and amp.  He made some modifications to this so that it was interchangeable with his mom’s car, his dad’s Suburban and his Porsche, making it truly a plug & play system. Shortly after, he and his dad went to a car show in Orlando, Florida and just for the fun of it, entered to see what would happen. Well, he won a GPS system in the shows raffle and took 1st Place Best European of show. Needless to say, this is all it took. Josh was hooked on shows and even got bit by the audio “BASS BUG”.

Being inspired by shows like “Unique Whips” on Speed channel, Josh decided to fabricate his first sub woofer enclosure on his own. Still being limited with funds, Josh decided to forgo his usual birthday gift of a yearly pass to Universal Studios, in exchange for a sub woofer to install into the subwoofer box he had planned to build. He spent many hours drawing out designs and researching box designs, and eventually built his first sub woofer box. Josh said it looked beautiful, with Plexiglas and subtle lighting, and fit the Porsche perfectly but had one major downfall, it didn’t sound as beautiful. Josh quickly realized that box size, the shape, the port, and many more variables came into play when making a box sound good. So he went back to the drawing board. He researched the internet even further and eventually was able to educate himself of the specifics of building a properly designed sub woofer enclosure.

While the Porsche has served as his classroom in learning the basics, his Dad’s Chevy Suburban has become his actual work space in which to truly show what he had learned.  Josh began making changes to this vehicle, at the age of 15, and thank goodness his dad has been a good sport! Josh has replaced all the stock speakers and head unit with aftermarket products. But his first big change was when he finally convinced his dad to allow him to install a fully customized ceiling mounted 15” LCD TV with full motion that Josh designed himself. This has since been upgraded to a  19” LED TV. Josh had been customizing XBOX’s for quite some time and decided to integrate this into the Suburban as well. He placed one under the 2nd row seats and customized a panel with Plexiglas to disguise the mass of wires. The panel has a “Chevy” logo on the front and “XBOX” logos on the sides, all in which he designed himself.

While watching “YouTube”, Josh became even more inspired and decided to create a sub box for his father’s Suburban. He heard the saying “Go Big or Go Home” and it struck a chord with him. Josh enlisted the help of some people on a car audio forum to determine the best design, and set out to make the enclosure for the Suburban.  The end result was an upholstered box with Plexiglas, lighting and a “Chevy” emblem. From this, he moved onto the door panels. Just as before, he drew out his designs on paper, and then began trying to make it work. His first attempts to work with fiberglass turned into a nice result. Armed with minimal tools, a very small work space, “YouTube” how to videos, a bit of advice from forums, and a lot of ambition, Josh completed this project by the time he was 16 years old.

Josh Fernandez at SBN 26 Daytona Beach, Florida

Originally Josh dreamed of opening a mechanic shop with his dad when he grew up, but this journey has changed his direction. He realizes that customizing is his passion and hopes to someday operate a business with his dad, called “Fernandez Customs”.  All his current projects are signified by his Fernandez Edition logo and I suspect we will see many more of these logos in the future.

Josh Fernandez is a 16 year old from Palm Coast, Florida, attending high school and maintains a 3.54 GPA. In his spare time, to fuel his drive, he works on cars, fixes IPods, Xboxes and laptops as well as odd jobs on houses.  He plans on attending College for Business Administration and Automotive Engineering.

To view Josh’s YouTube Channel for his videos and biography of his creations, visit

My best wishes to Josh, I hope he will continue on his journey of a DRIVEN Lifestyle. With his ambition, I am sure he will be a huge success.


Update* Josh Fernandez won 1st place Street Class SUV & 3rd place Street Class European at SBN26.


About the Author

Cinda Welch
Cinda is also a founder of Driven Lifestyle Magazine. Formerly known as a part of “Team Welch”, Cinda along with her late husband Greg Welch and daughter Natasha Welch Thompson were long time audio SPL competitors and Kicker Car Audio team captains. Together, they held numerous World Records and Championships, also toured with car audio Legends like Alma Gates, and engaged in marketing campaigns for their sponsors. Cinda has been involved in retail, marketing, management and ownership in the automotive industry as well. Most importantly, she has been an enthusiast of the custom automotive culture for over twenty years, including antiques to the extreme latest automotive trends of today. Appreciating the workmanship, talent and vision of all forms of customs, Cinda views the most important aspect is not necessarily the make or model driven, but rather the lifestyle and enjoying the culture. Cinda will be handling accounting, print copy layout, graphic design and some writing at Driven Lifestyle Magazine.

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  1. avatar

    This was a great article. I brought me back to my high school days when I was first learning how to install car stereo’s. He is leaps and bounds ahead of where I was at his age. I predict that this young man will go on to be very successful in whatever he does becuase he seems to have the drive it takes to succeed!!!

  2. avatar
    Josh Fernandez

    First I want to say thank you very much to Cinda , and Jonathan for choosing me for the awesome article about my life and how I got into my hobby. And also for putting my name out there and getting known! If it wasn’t for them, I would have never been offered an internship to go to a speaker manufacturer to learn from them, and also to help design and work on their demo van. I will be going during the summer for about a month or so, to work with them, my dad will be joining me as well on this amazing experience and opportunity! So again I want to thank Cinda and Jonathan for giving me all these great opportunities and experiences, I really appreciate all they have done! Also I want to thank God for being sooooo good to me for giving me all these great opportunities, and for letting me meet with Cinda and Jonathan at SBN, he truly is an Awesome God!
    Thank you and God Bless,
    Josh Fernandez

  3. avatar

    We came into contact with Josh through this article : Sixteen and DRIVEN | Driven Lifestyle Magazine We were pretty impressed with him and his work so we came up with an idea to have him come visit [...]

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