Martín Huerta of San Bernardino, California, is not afraid to drive his ’59 Chevy Impala convertible to the Las Vegas, Nevada, Lowrider Super Show. While most Los Angeles-area lowriders are having their rides pulled to the Super Show, Martín actually gets behind the wheel of “Big Red” and enjoys a nice road trip with the top down.
At almost any custom car show in the Southern California region, you’ll find Martín pulling up ready to show off his cruiser and take home another trophy. He says that he gets the most enjoyment of his car when driving it through city streets and on the freeway. People of all ages, ethnicities and sexes wave at him or give him “thumbs-up”! Martín says that women have even blown kisses to him-not a bad trade-off for the amount of time and money that this bachelor has put into his number-one love!
Being a UPS driver has its advantages! Martín can go places that most people can’t and that is how he came across his dream ride ’59. One midday afternoon about four and a half years ago, while making his rounds, he came across an early ’50s Chevy parked in an alley. Martín got out of his work truck and spoke to the owner. Martín mentioned how he had a four-door ’59 that he’s had since high school and then the guy told Martín that he knew of a ragtop ’59 that was for sale. A couple of nights later, Martín went to a property where the ride was laying in the back of rows of other cars! Using a flashlight, Martín got a pretty good look at it and bought it on the spot.
A total rebuild was in store for Big Red. A frame-off restoration was made, including replacing all of the floorboards, a section in the trunk and a quarter panel. Martín stripped, sandblasted and then powdercoated the frame. Then Alex “Hot Rod” McKenny, a good friend of Martín’s, helped install the air ride system. Superior Plating of Pomona, California, had all chrome plating necessities done in only about a week’s time! D&L Aluminum & Stainless Steel Polishing in Riverside, California, were kept busy shining up all of the trim pieces for the fine ’59. The running gear was updated with front and rear disc brakes and a 605 steering box.
Martín says that he has to give big thanks to Ed “Slick” Schott, who helped him a lot during the restoration. He also thanks the Huertas families, Alex, The Car Shop and friends, and Raul Huerta, who also put his time into this ride (before he passed away). “Rest in peace, Raul. I love you, bro!” Last but not least, Martín says he thanks LRM for “giving an amateur this chance to be featured in the number-one magazine of lowriding!”
For now, Martín says that Big Red is at a stage that he likes and he doesn’t plan to do anything more to it. He also says that he will keep the car until he’s gone! Martín says that when he drives it, all of his worries and stress disappear, but then anybody driving this ride would be on top of the world!
OWNER: Martn Huerta
VEHICLE: ’59 Chevrolet Impala convertible
CITY/STATE: San Bernardino, California
CLUB: No affiliation
ENGINE: An ’86 GMC 350-c.i.d. was fitted with a billet dress-up kit and braided hoses. Engine builder credit goes to Martn himself and Al from Al’s Machine Shop in Riverside, California.
BODY/PAINT: Salvador Arguellos did the necessary bodywork from his home in Perris, California. After that work was out of the way, Salvador applied acrylic enamel single-stage Romero Red and Snow White paint scheme.
INTERIOR: The Upholsterers of Riverside took care of the interior needs, installing a stock Impala interior kit wrapped in red leather. This shop did the dash work as well, refinishing and padding it.
SOUND SYSTEM: Once again, Martn took matters into his own hands, installing a custom Auto Sound head unit.
SUSPENSION: Instead of using a traditional custom hydraulic setup, Martn opted to go with new age airbags. Martn installed them himself and reassures us that he did the right thing going with air as he drives his car everywhere!
TIRES: P155/80-R13 Remington 1.5-inch whitewall
WHEELS: 13×7 Diamond Star knockoff