Cal Blast: A Car Guy’s Modern Soda Shop
November 22, 2017
This isn’t your grandfather’s soda shop! California Soda Blast has become one of SoCal’s premier media blasting facilities, catering to the automotive restoration crowd. And their also Pomona Swap Meet regulars… setting up on Road 25, Space 18 at every show. If you’re working on a project and you need help removing the old paint, bondo, undercoating, rust, adhesives, or whatever, you should definitely come down to Pomona to talk to the Cal Blast team! We recently caught up with Albert De Alba Sr., owner of Cal Blast, to find out a little bit more about the business:
TELL US ABOUT YOURSELF
Pomona Swap Meet: What’s the best part of your job?
Albert De Alba Sr.: Making our customers happy.
PSM: Have you always been interested in classic cars?
ADA: Yes, I was born into it. My dad does custom paint and body work, and he has always had custom cars. My first car was a ’63 VW Bug and my dad and older brother taught me how to do body and paint on it.
PSM: Do you currently own a classic car?
ADA: I am blessed to currently own 6 classic cars. One is a world famous kustom lowrider – a 1963 Chevy Impala named El Rey. I built that car from the ground up with some help from my son and my cousin.
PSM: If you won the lottery tonight, what kind of classic car would you buy?
ADA: 1959 Impala Convertible.
PSM: Any favorite memories of the Pomona Swap Meet that you would like to share with us?
ADA: I’ve been coming to the swap meet ever since I can remember. Born and raised in Pomona, my Dad, Mario De Alba Sr., would take me and my brother to the swap meet when we were kids, along with his two friends, Mitch and Carlos.
PSM: So Ford or Chevy, or ???
ADA: Chevy – all day everyday!
TELL US ABOUT YOUR COMPANY
PSM: How can customers contact you?
ADA: They can come visit our store at 687 N. Benson Avenue, Unit C in Upland, Calif., 91786, call us at (909) 949-9505, or visit us online at CalBlast.com. They can also find us on Instagram or Facebook.
PSM: Tell us a little bit about your company and its history.
ADA: We are a family owned and operated business that has been around for 13 years.
PSM: Do you offer different types of blasting, and different package options? What is the difference between them all?
ADA: We offer blasting for basic parts, small or large, to complete exteriors, to full rotisseries and we also do blast and primer packages. We do rust repair as well.
PSM: Why is soda the best option for media blasting versus sand, glass, or something else?
ADA: We use soda for our blasting because it will strip anything in its path – like paint, primer, undercoat, body filler – without any damage to the metal. We can blast plastic parts, fiber glass, carbon fiber, aluminum, etc. This product is aggressive to the coatings but gentle to the parts. It is environmentally friendly and biodegradable. There are no chemicals involved.
PSM: What makes your services different from the competitors?
ADA: The knowledge of restoring, body working, painting, and building top quality show cars for 30 years. We treat every car like it was our own and we have the right equipment to do the job correctly the first time.
PSM: Will soda blasting remove rust? If not, what do you do when you encounter rust on the body panels?
ADA: Soda does not do good on rust, but we do a second copper blast to safely remove the rust and neutralize it so it is ready for a new coating.
PSM: Your company specializes in soda blasting. But this isn’t the only service that you offer at the shop, is it?
ADA: No. We also do rust repair and body & paint, from stock to full custom.
PSM: You mention on your website that it is easiest to soda blast a car if it is disassembled. Do you do the disassembling for the customer or do they bring you their car already disassembled?
ADA: If it is an exterior only blast, then the car doesn’t have to be disassembled. The soda does no harm to the glass or chrome whatsoever. On full rotisserie jobs, we want just the body shell and parts. For those who don’t have the means to disassemble the car on their own, we also offer that service.
PSM: How long does it take to strip a whole car?
ADA: The basic cars are 1-2 days and the full rotisserie jobs take about 4-5 days. We take our time to do a detailed job and blast everything twice.
PSM: I’m sure there is a large range depending on the size of the job, but approximately how much does it cost to get a car soda blasted?
ADA: It definitely depends on the size of the car, but it usually starts at $800 for full exterior or $1800 for full rotisserie.
PSM: Anything else customers should know about your company or your products?
ADA: We are the only true automotive blasters. We are dedicated only to blasting cars and have the correct knowledge, medias, and equipment to do so. We also make sure to blow and clean out all the media so it doesn’t stay trapped in the corners to create future problems.
Not gonna lie, Cal Blast makes me want to buy a project car! If you already have a project that you need help with, come out to the next Pomona Swap Meet! You can find the parts and accessories you need, and you can meet Cal Blast on Road 25, Space 18!