For every car that you see at a lowrider show, there is a story. The hard work, bloody knuckles, and countless dollars spent are a fairly good constant, but the real story is with the person behind the build. Everyone’s tale is unique because it involves his or her personal journey.
We talked to Ruben Muro, the owner of this fine ’67 Chevy Caprice aptly named “Dressed in Tribal.” Besides learning about the car, we delved into Ruben’s some 40-plus years of living life as a lowrider.
LRM: When were you first interested in lowriders?Ruben: I grew up in East L.A. and went to Griffith Junior High School and Garfield High School. All you saw were lowriders. Eventually I was old enough to buy my own car by working two jobs.
LRM: How old were you, and what did you buy?Ruben: I was 16 years old and I bought a ’66 Caprice. Not too long after, I wrecked the ’66 and bought a ’67. That became my first real lowrider. It’s the car I cruised Whittier Boulevard in and the one I had when I joined Imperial’s Car Club. I sold my ’67 “Blue Dream” in order to buy a house and then decided to give up lowriding.
LRM: Since you’re here with this car, we know that didn’t last. How long were you “retired”?Ruben: I only lasted a year without a car, and then I bought a ’46 Chrysler Windsor four-door sedan. I partially restored it, joined Duke’s Car Club, but then sold that one too [Laughing]. I moved to Fowler, California (near Fresno), not too long after that and gave up cars for about 16 years.
LRM: Well that’s quite the hiatus! How long was it before you bought your next car?Ruben: In 1998 I bought a ’68 Caprice, fixed it up similarly to my old ’67 Caprice, and named it “Deja Blue.”
LRM: Wild guess here, you sold it right?Ruben: [Laughing] Yeah I did, but I was supposed to be able to buy it back later but then he wouldn’t sell it to me. I went on a mission to build up another car and make it even better, which I accomplished. By not building a typical patterned or muraled-out car, I’ve gotten a lot of attention in the lowrider scene. My roof graphics and interior materials are not an everyday design, but it does tie in with lowriding. I do have an OG Bowman color bar and an in-dash eight-track player, but to keep up with the times I also have a CD player under the dash. There are also a couple of plasma-colored lights that go along with the beat of the music. This car is driven on streets and freeways a lot, which seems to get people’s attention. I wanted to join a car club that represented that, so I joined Premier Car Club.
LRM: We could see the car being quite the head turner, rolling through the streets and freeways of Fowler. How did you find the car?Ruben: Well I had just brought home a ’76 glasshouse when I found this car on the web. It came from Santa Rosa, California, which I bought from the original owner. It was the help of people like Josh, from Josh’s Extreme Creations, and Sonny Morales, of the Cycle Shop, for helping with their own time and money to build my ’67. My son Richard has also helped me put the car together. I’d like to thank my wife Margie for putting up with all my frustration, and the time and money that was used to put this car together.
LRM: We want to say thank you to you for building such a nice car and sharing your story.
Dressed In TribalOwner: Ruben MuroVehicle: “Dressed in Tribal”City/State: Fowler, CaliforniaClub: Premier Car Club in Los Angeles
Engine/Drivetrain: The original 327-cid resides in the engine compartment connected to a Powerglide transmission. The block was color matched and a chrome air cleaner, fan shroud, and valve covers were added to dress up the engine bay. The car was converted to a dual exhaust. Keith, at Keith Automotive in Fresno, California, is responsible for the work.
Body/Paint: The body features shaved handles, a partially molded hood and trunk all covered by House of Kolor’s Oriental Candy Blue. The roof is covered in tribal designs and Josh, at Josh’s Extreme Creations in Fresno, performed all the painting and bodywork choirs. Brad “Espo” Espinosa, of Sanger, California, did all of the pinstriping. A 42-inch moonroof was installed by Sunroof Performance in South Gate, California. The fiberglass console and package tray were done by Joe, at Cut Throat Hydraulics and Customs in Fresno.
Interior: The interior is a combination of colors and textures, starting with the blue and silver carbon-fiber material. Combine that with gray vinyl, a complementary molded and color-matched dash, and center console, and you’re dressed in tribal. Jesse Hernandez, of Hernandez Upholstery in Fresno, did all of the stitchwork. Jay’s Auto Body in Fowler color matched all of the interior pieces.
Sound System: The dash is adorned with an OG eight-track player with a Sparkomatic eight-track-to-cassette adaptor for show. A Panasonic head unit resides under the glovebox and sends its signal to a hidden 600-watt Interfire amp. A set of 51/4 coaxials reside in the kick panels, and the package tray houses two sets of Pioneer 6x9s. Two 10-inch Bazooka tubes are also hidden in the trunk. The installation was handled by K-Audio in Selma, California.
Setup: The two modified mini whammies are the heart of the system. One resides in the trunk and the other one is in the engine compartment. Hard lines connect the 8-inch cylinders in the front and rear, which handle the heavy lifting. Delta dumps, four Ford solenoids, and eight switches control the movement. Three Centennial batteries provide the power. Sonny Morales, of Cycle Shop in Selma, California, performed all the afore-mentioned work.
Tires: Premium Sportways 5.20s
Wheels: The 14-inch L.A. Wires 100 spokes were stripped by Sal Morales, of Fear No Mind in Selma, California.