A Man with a Vision: Carlos Molina
A Man with a Vision: Carlos Molina
By Nicole James
Photos Provided by Carlos Molina
As children, we have all at one time wanted to be a race car driver, but how many of us dreamed of making the cars we now drool over as adults? Carlos Molina is the founder of Projekt Cars. Projekt Cars is a marketing company which helps other companies gain exposure for their products. Projekt Cars has a lot of diversity in project vehicles they build which range from BMWs to Jeeps and Tundras, and have built over 100 vehicles for SEMA booths.
“As early as pre-school I exhibited an affinity for automobiles and automotive design.” Molina Said. “It was then that I explained to my parents my desire to become a scientist so I could ‘make new cars.’” This childhood innocence and imagination is what Molina credits for igniting his future passion for the automotive industry.
This passion carried over into high school for Molina and was the catalyst for the changes he made to his first car, a 1966 Mustang. “Initially, my car did not have any paint, and was a straight-six model with the basic interior. In a few months I had installed a 289 cubic inch V8, converted the interior to a “Deluxe edition” trim level, and had painted it Ford Blue.”
After Molina graduated college, he received his officer’s commission in the US Army in Military Intelligence. “My first duty station was in Panama City, Panama. Several crushing disappointments at the Post Exchange (PX) in receiving incorrect automotive parts led me to search for a means of obtaining aftermarket parts through an intranet. I dubbed the online program Projekt Cars.”
This was the beginning of a virtual storefront which alleviated the hassle of ordering through the PX and provided an avenue for modifying vehicles to overseas soldiers. Years later, Molina used the name to acquire sponsorship parts for SEMA builds.
“When I returned from another overseas assignment in Italy during 2000, I anxiously awaited my new BMW to compete in the Hot Import Nights shows I kept seeing on the “Internet“. After a $4000 investment in an upgraded Audio/Video system, body kit, and 19-inch two-piece wheels, I drove eight hundred miles to Del Mar, California. Even with my changes, which I felt complimented lines of my BMW 323i, it did not stand a chance against the wild vehicles at the show. I quickly learned about vehicle sponsorship programs and began developing my first string of proposals.” Molina said.
These proposals helped Molina acquire an extensive list of modifications and opened the doors to SEMA representation. The BMW e46 was first introduced to a SEMA booth in 2002 and was welcomed back four subsequent years. Since then, Molina has managed over sixty different SEMA platforms, now under Rollin’Art.
“Modifying vehicles has been a part of my life since the first episodes of Happy Days that I watched as a toddler. Although my past career in the military and my current career in engineering did not cross paths with the automotive industry, I have made every effort to be involved with the aftermarket scene. The cars I have completed were on my dime, marketed on my own time, and ensured an impressive return on investment to my sponsors. I exhibit a relentless passion for my builds on a daily basis and strive to always present the best possible final product. I am confident in my ability to provide positive attention for any brand, and will go beyond expectations in capitalizing on this opportunity.” Molina said.
One of Molina’s main goals for Projekt Cars was to have the focus of the automotive community centered around the Southwest. “There are many great builders located in this region that are overlooked by magazines and after-market companies since they are not on the West or East Coast.” Molina said.
The current Projekt Cars touring organization has positively promoted various companies over the years. This year Molina was able to help several members attain SEMA recognition, and a boastful amount of sponsored products. “We currently have 20 active members throughout the US who are motivated to help their sponsors with their marketing initiatives.” Molina said.
Some of the highlights of Carlos Molina’s car career include:
– Built over 85 cars for SEMA, prior to 2013
– Built & Placed over 20 vehicles at SEMA 2012
– Launched Marketing initiative for PAS magazine in the US
– Built vehicles which have appeared in numerous publications worldwide
– Spokesperson for several aftermarket companies for last 10 years
– OEM experience as Production Manager & Warehouse Manager; DCX, Expert in lean manufacturing
List of the SEMA 2013 Builds:
- 2012 Mercedes Benz E350 | Advanti Wheels
- 2013 Jeep Wrangler | RevTek Suspension
- 2013 Jeep Wrangler | Konig Wheels
- 2013 Jeep Wrangler | 2Crave Wheels
- 2013 Scion FRS | Impressive Wraps
- 2013 Dodge Ram | Feature Vehicle
- 2013 Nissan 370z | Stillen Feature Vehicle
- 2014 Chevy Silverado | Feature Vehicle
- 2009 Dodge Ram | Feature Vehicle
- 2008 BMW 335i | Standard Suspension
- 2008 BMW 335i | Mach Wheels
- 2008 BMW 335i | R1 Concepts Feature Vehicle
- 2011 Mercedes Benz E350 | Rohana Wheels Feature Vehicle
- 2010 Mercedes Benz E350 | Rohana Wheels Feature Vehicle
- 2012 Nissan GTR | Newtek Wheels
List of the current Projekt Cars on our tour:
- Projekt “Hawaiian Kine”: ‘10 Scion xB (White)
- Projekt “Gen”: ’10 Hyundai Genesis (black)
- Projekt “Drifter”: ’09 Mustang GT (Blue/Silver)
- Projekt “Fringe”: 2013 Jeep Wrangler (Camo Green)
- Projekt “Fringe 2”: 2013 Jeep Wrangler (Silver)
- Projekt “Santi” – 2003 Nissan 350Z (Multi)
- Projekt “Silver Bullet”: 94 EX Civic Hatchback (Silver)
- Projekt Stillen: ’13 Nismo Z (Red)
- Projekt “Scarlette”: ’12 Mustang GT (Red)
- Projekt “Slammed IS”: ’09 Lexus (Gunmetal)
- Projekt “DTM Gearhead”: ’00 BMW e46 (White/Mstripping)
- Projekt “Perfection”: ’08 BMW e92 (Matte White)
- Projekt HP Is300: Is300 Lexus (Silver) | East Coast Team
- Projekt HP G35: Infinity G35 (Silver) | East Coast Team
- Projekt “La Sangrienta”: 92 EG Civic Hatchback (Red) | East Coast Team
Current booth vehicles for SEMA 2014
2015 Ford Mustang- R1 Concepts featuring BBK system
2015 Ford Mustang- Standard Suspension featuring R3 System
2014 Dodge Challenger- KBD featuring new body kit I am designing
2014 Chevy Silverado- RevTek featuring 4-6″ lift
2014 Tesla- R1 Concepts featuring BBK system
2014 Camaro- KBD featuring new body kit