Some families pass down jewelry, photos, or furniture as family heirlooms but the Garcia family went a slightly different route and passed down a 1964 Chevy Impala. From his earliest memories Leo Garcia would help his dad work on the Impala to ensure that the love of classic cars was carried on. Leo’s dad passed the Impala down to him, cementing his love of classic cars.
For some a multi-colored old truck that looked like it was painted with house paint would not scream diamond in the rough, but to Leo it did. For a few years the next-door neighbor had a rough-looking 1955 Chevy that was being neglected until one day the neighbor asked Leo if he was interested in buying the truck. After a brief negotiation a price of $3,000 was agreed upon and the project that would become Viejita Bajita began. First on the list was to pull the tired old 235 straight-six and transmission for a rebuild. While the drivetrain was out for rebuild the frame was taken to get sandblasted for paint. The original plan was to do a basic restoration and keep the truck close to stock. Plans changed when driving home one day as he drove past a 1948 Chevy. Wanting a better look at the ride he followed it for a short distance until it pulled into a driveway. At first the owner of the 1948 stepped out and looked at Leo like he was crazy for following him home. Explaining that he was a fellow classic car enthusiast shifted the awkward encounter into a long conversation about each other’s projects. The owner of the 1948 was a member of Oldies and suggested to visit Conrad Ramirez at his shop. This chance encounter dramatically shifted the build from a semi-original restoration to a full restoration with lots of modern custom updates.
Once in the shop Conrad stripped the truck to bare metal to get a full understanding of what the project would need. With the truck stripped a plan was formed on how the build would go. He wanted to dedicate the truck to his son and father who both died. The truck was torn apart and rebuilt from the ground up. Custom touches like the plexiglass bed floor and full air ride suspension make this truck stand out and more than doubled the original budget. Seeing the end result and all the positive feedback he gets everywhere, the truck made all the hard work worth it. Leo was so happy with the build and all the support he received from the club that he joined Oldies Car Club, reaffirming the brotherhood that started with a chance encounter. Leo would like to thank his wife, Grace, for putting up with all the long nights and money spent, his son Jr. for all his work on finding parts, and Conrad Kustomz for all their blood sweat and hard work making this dream a reality.
1955 Chevrolet 3100
350 engine with March serpentine kit, polished manifold, Holly four-barrel carb, custom-made Sampson headers
Red Axalta chromabase and clear
Boxed frame. Airbag setup consisted of two ViAir chrome compressors and a 7-gallon polished aluminum tank.
Billet Specialties steering wheel with black suede upholstery
14×6 cross-laced and 175/75/R14 tires