There were a few blank stares and confused faces among Javier Perez’s friends and fellow La Familia Car Club members during the two-year buildup of his ’54 Chevy Bel Air. Some even good-naturedly told Javier that he was “crazy” to mix a strict old school, all-original bomb restoration with modern custom tricks like an airbag suspension and extensive audio/video gear, but this self-described “family man” from Albuquerque, New Mexico, knew what he wanted and went after it. He even christened the car “Que Loquera” to reflect on those who thought him “crazy.”
Javier’s certainly had the last laugh on anyone who doubted his intentions. His beautiful Bel Air is all that and more, combining as it does a clean restored look with modern day amenities hidden just below the surface. Best Paint and Best Interior awards, along with numerous First Place trophies from various car shows in the “Land of Enchantment,” attest to the vintage Chevy’s appeal.
Tech SpecsQue LoqueraOwner: Javier Perez
Vehicle: ’54 Chevrolet Bel Air
City/State: Albuquerque, New Mexico
Club: La Familia C.C.
Engine/Drivetrain: The all-original ’54 Chevy 235-c.i.d. was restored by Javier and his father at Pepe’s Carburetors in Albuquerque.
Body/Paint: Mike Baca of Professional Paint & Body in Albuquerque, along with the late George Jaramillo, smoothed out the 50-year-old Chevy sheet metal before putting down the award-winning Candy Oriental Blue paint with green and blue pearl. The flaming eyeballs on the doors and ’50s-style pinup women on the trunk are the work of Albuquerque muralist Ray Trujillo. John at Albuquerque’s Duke City Bumpers did a fine job with the chrome-plating chores.
Interior: Javier took a little trip up the road to Montoya’s Upholstery in Bernalillo, New Mexico, where Steve Montoya reworked the original tweed and did the trunk to match.
Sound System: Javier liked the classic style of the ’54, but wanted this bomb to bump like some modern-day boulevard cruiser, so he began assembling a bunch of gear that included a Pioneer head unit, Profile amps, Kenwood crossover, Boston Acoustics mids and tweeters, and Bazooka tube subwoofers, before hooking everything up in a neat stealth-type installation. He also installed a TV monitor in the driver-side visor connected to a DVD system, and tells us that since the photo shoot has added another TV in the trunk.
Suspension: Javier and his car club brothers put the “air” in this Bel Air with an airbag setup.
Tires: Firestone with 2-inch whitewalls
Wheels: 14-inch with crossbar hubcaps