Johnny Salters has been doing a lot of smoothing and painting, and not just on this car, but on plenty of other cars for almost 20 years. You see, Johnny not only performed almost all of the work on this fine ’59 Chevy Impala, but he also does it for a living. He’s been into lowriding for 15 years and has owned a body shop for all but three of those years. Prior to that, he was working for dealerships and doing the backyard boogie. This car has been a culmination of all of his years of doing both collision and custom bodywork. Johnny’s no stranger to the pages of Lowrider Magazine, having had his ’61 Impala convertible, “Straight Talk,” resting on these pages.
“Cloud Nine” floats above the rest because of Johnny’s attention to detail. Almost everything that you can think of received some kind of attention, whether it be paint or chrome. With that, comes putting in the time to make it happen and, in this case, it was a two-year stint. Like many working on something like this, Johnny started other projects during this one, only to wind up selling them. In the end, his biggest challenge was staying true to this one project to see it all of the way through.
When you live in a place like South Carolina, it helps to have friends on the “Left Coast” to ask questions and get pointers from. Johnny had help from some of the best in the lowrider industry, like John Kennedy and Mike Lopez at Bowtie Connection, Anthony Fuentes of Homies Hydraulics and hydraulics pioneer Ted Wells, just to name a few. These people helped expand Johnny’s knowledge and make Cloud Nine what it is. From help and parts on the setup to figuring out what accessories should go on, it’s always nice to have the assistance of others in the know. Couple that with Johnny’s vast knowledge from years in the game and he’s become the go-to guy for lowriders in the South.
Things like a digital dash and a head unit hidden in the glove compartment bring some modern amenities to the 47-year-old car. But, in general, Johnny made it about chrome and paint. The bumpers not only received chrome, but also felt the buzz of an engraver, adding a nice touch to them. Open the hood and there’s plenty of chrome and engraving to accent things like the air filter, breathers and a few other parts. The firewall received smoothing and paint, and the fender wells were chromed.
Move to the trunk and there’s more of the same, with the Pesco pumps receiving the same attention as the rest of the car. The cloud-like blue paint combined with the chrome and blue pinstriping seem to float the pumps in suspended animation. Six batteries keep the theme going, and the chrome capacitor and amps provide a backdrop for it all.
Cloud Nine received plenty of love and attention during its construction, and for his efforts, Johnny found himself with offers to buy the car. We’re sure that whoever winds up with the car will be on Cloud Nine the first time that he takes the car out on the street.
Cloud NineOwner: Johnny SaltersVehicle: ’59 Chevrolet ImpalaCity/State: Monetta, South CarolinaClub: No affiliation
Engine/Drivetrain: A Chevy 350-crate motor was equipped with a serpentine belt system from Street and Performance and a Turbo 350 transmission. A Flowmaster exhaust was made in three sections for chroming and a Matson radiator keeps things cool.
Body/Paint: Johnny did all of the work at his shop, Salters Custom Paint in Monetta. The firewall and “belly” of the car were molded and shaved. The car was then painted with OG DuPont color 910, Ice Blue. A Continental kit was added to the rear of the car for good measure. Phil at Ridgefield Signs put down the pinstriping and Homer of Atlanta, Georgia, created the murals. Supreme Plating in Inglewood, California, was Johnny’s long-distance chrome plating specialist.
Interior: Johnny installed an CARS Inc. interior and carpet kit. Tri-color cloth inserts complement the paint, while a Dakota Digital dash keeps the driver aware of the engine vitals. Other interior additions include Trailmaster spotlights, Wonderbar radio and color bar.
Sound System: An Alpine head unit is running the signal to two Audiobahn amps and playing out of an Alpine component set located in fiberglass kick panels. A set of JL Audio 10W6s resides in a custom box. All of the work was performed by the owner.
Setup: Johnny used four Pesco 777 aircraft pumps and 8-inch Ted Wells custom side-port cylinders in the setup. Four Adex dumps and four switches control the flow and motions. Six Trojan batteries were color matched and pinstriped. As for the suspension, the control arms were molded and engraved. All of the holes were welded and the frame was completely molded and painted. The car also received a four-wheel disc brake conversion.
Tires: P155/80-R13 radials
Wheels: Enzo Luxury wires