When you’ve won more than 100 Best Of Shows and never lost a car show, there’s only one thing left to do and that’s… retire. Now it might sound arrogant or even a bit precocious, but when you’ve built that dream car and no one steps to the plate to challenge you, then it might be the only reasonable thing to do. Actors do it, boxers do it and things are no different for Robert Espinoza, the owner of “Pura Onda,” this pure-bred ’64 Chevy Impala SS.
What you see on the cover of our first 30th anniversary issue is a car that helped change the Traditional class. This latest incarnation of the legendary Colorado low-low was shot almost three years ago, but it sat in our files waiting (along with Robert) to grace the cover of LRM. Robert spent years completely rebuilding this show-stopping head-turner, ending up with the final configuration that you see here.
A man who’s never happy with standing still, Robert’s always trying to find the next new thing. That diligence have netted him quite a bit of mention in both lowriding and the car community in general. Pura Onda is a three-time World of Wheels champion, Super Chevy national champion and Grand National Rocky Mountain champion, but the wins that mean the most to Robert were his two back-to-back titles in the Traditional Lowrider class.
The car was completely revamped after it was featured in the May ’99 issue of LRM and again in our “Best Of The ’90s” special two years later. The championship car was banned from competition by Go-Lo Entertainment (now Lowrider Events) in 2001 after it reached its limit of Sweepstakes wins. With the support of his family, Imperials Car Club, Camille, Thomas and countless others, Robert and his unstoppable vehicle rematerialized a few years later.
The redone SS features a slew of aftermarket mods and one look inside of the trunk brings you back to the old school of gold accompanied by tons of engraving. Trust us when we say that gold is coming back. One look at the custom jewelry market will prove just that, and artists all across the world are trading in the platinum and silver for gold. Gold is now making a comeback and Pura Onda is positioned perfectly.
Every little detail in the car from the woofer magnets to the seat brackets have been dipped in gold, and they perfectly complement the brown and white motif found throughout the car. Up top on the roof you’ll find just the right amount of gold foil followed by pinstriping that accents the car in the right manner.
Swing around to the front end of the vehicle and you’ll see enough gold to satisfy Mr. T and Slick Rick. It’s an eye-catching presentation leading you straight into and under the hood where it seems as if 90-percent of the pieces are gold-plated. Pura Onda’s a timeless piece of art that showcases lowriding at its finest and words could never explain what the eyes see.
Whereas most lowriders nowadays are bright and shocking, this vehicle exudes nothing less than traditional charm and a royal flavor of luxury. It ranks among the most luxurious rides that we’ve seen, its looks are captivating and it turns heads effortlessly. So give credit where credit is due because you’re now looking at a true piece of lowriding history.
Pura OndaOwner: Robert EspinozaVehicle: ’64 Chevrolet Impala SSCity/State: Pueblo, ColoradoClub: Imperials C.C.
Engine/Drivetrain: Robert built himself a balanced and blueprinted 327-c.i.d. with three deuce intake at Classics Customs in Pueblo, and mated it with a Powerglide transmission and custom dual exhaust with Bowtie tips.
Body/Paint: Gary Cobos at Custom Colors in Roswell, New Mexico, did an otherworldly job on the exterior with PPG Autumn Wood paint (now don’t go copying!) with a pearl white top.
Interior: Upholstery by Larry and John Hernandez.
Sound System: Kevin at Car Toyz installed an Eclipse head unit, Rockford Fosgate 800W amps, Rockford Fosgate crossovers, mids and highs, and three JL Audio W6 12-inch woofers.
Setup: Four gold-plated honeycomb pumps and Fenner-Stone motors were installed by Sam’s Custom Hydros in Denver, Colorado. Rounding out the system specs are four dumps, four switches, two Pro Box gold solenoids, American batteries and Show-Time Hydraulics hoses all around. Look underneath the car and you’ll also find a modified Canadian convertible frame and an all-gold undercarriage with engraving. The plating and anodizing was expertly handled by Ruben at Electroplating in El Paso, Texas.
Tires: P155/80-R13 Remington
Wheels: 13×7 100-spoke Masterpiece