Another ORMHOF OG, Brian Chuchua, class of 1978 on Episode 171


ORMHOF inductee Brian Chuchua, Class of 1978 drops some cherry bombs on us as he tells the Jeep history from the beginning. From paying $5,000 for a Jeep franchise to participating in year 2 of Jeep Jamboree to racing the first Mexican 1000. So grateful to interview long-time history-makers in the industry. Congratulations to Brian Chuchua, a 1978 inductee into ORMHOF, Brian is why we say; legends live at  Be sure to tune in on your favorite podcast app.


5:09 – the education today is not career advancing, for sure

10:59 – I was drag racing my Jeep with the V8 at all the local drag strips

14:28 – I made the cover of Popular Mechanics

17:24 – the Pan American highway existed, but the bridges did not, so you had to ford all these rivers

25:15 – I drove my Jeep up the steps of the Sydney Opera House

30:09 – we built the first Blazer and sold the name to Chevrolet

36:54 – the original SEMA was to fight the legislation on wheels

Special thanks to for support and sponsorship of this podcast.


[00:01:14.010] – Big Rich Klein

On today’s episode of Conversations with Big Rich, it is my honor to talk with Brian Chuchua. Brian is a 1978 inductee into the Offroad Motorsports Hall of Fame. His first race was in 1954, just a year or two after getting his Jeep, and the same year that he graduated high school. He was on the Jeep Jamboree in 1954 on the Rubicon. In 1960, he drove his Jeep to the Panama Canal. He opened a dealership in 1963 in Fullerton, California. He’s one of the founding fathers of SEMA in 1964… Or ’63, excuse me. That’s just the beginning. Brian, thank you so much for spending the time and talking today about your history.

[00:02:02.520] – Brian Chuchua

You’re very welcome.

[00:02:04.880] – Big Rich Klein

Let’s start off right at the very beginning. Where are you born and raised?

[00:02:11.670] – Brian Chuchua

Born in Belle, California.

[00:02:14.400] – Big Rich Klein

Belle, California, Southern.

[00:02:16.340] – Brian Chuchua

Yes. I went to State Street Elementary School in Hymanston Park. Then from there, we moved Southgate, and I went to Stanford Avenue School. Then from there, I went to South Gate Junior High School, which I graduated from. Then my folks moved to Lehabra Heights. I had to transfer to Fulton High School. I graduated from Fulton High School in ’54. I went on to Fulton in junior college, graduated ’56. That’s my…

[00:03:10.320] – Big Rich Klein

Your schooling background?

[00:03:12.150] – Brian Chuchua


[00:03:13.080] – Big Rich Klein

How were you as a student? Were you a good student or were you preoccupied with things outside of the school?

[00:03:22.070] – Brian Chuchua

I’d say it right in the middle on the corner in a school. And then the off-roading was part of it for me because every weekend I’d head for the desert. When I was in high school, I would spend the weekends camping. And with my Jeep. And then I made accessories for my Jeep. And people said, Well, gee, I want one of those. So that’s where I got started at making the roll bars and tow bars. I sold roll bars to Chevrolet for their Corvettes. I did obviously roll bars for Jeeps. That was where I manufactured. My father owned a steel warehouse in Compton, and I did a lot of my working there.

[00:04:29.280] – Big Rich Klein

Is that where you learned to weld as well?

[00:04:34.020] – Brian Chuchua

I learned to weld in really high school. Fullerton high school, I had a welding class, sheet metal class, tape class, and all the automotive stuff, which doesn’t exist today. I took every class they had.

[00:04:54.390] – Big Rich Klein

Great. I wish that was one of the things that we still offered instead of some of the other social education that the kids are getting nowadays.

[00:05:09.070] – Brian Chuchua

Now, the education today is not career advancing, for sure.  READ MORE

Follow Big Rich

SHare this article

This site uses cookies to offer you a better browsing experience. By browsing this website, you agree to our use of cookies.