For Bert Mantilla, lowriding has been a way of life since he was a teenager. Bert’s love of cars and his longevity with them have garnered him the name “og Big Daddy” among his friends. Early on, Bert went on to parlay his love for cars and customizing into a very lucrative business venture called The Tint Shop. anyone who has lived in SoCal or read this magazine years ago saw his ads.
Sixteen years and quite a few alarm, window tint and custom wheel sales later, Bert sold that franchise and started his current business, The Chevy Shop. he specializes in Chevy parts, and building and restoring classics. with 13 years and counting under his belt, it’s been a fun ride. People contact him from all over the country for cars and parts, and he also does complete builds at his large shop in el Monte, California.
This ’56 Chevy Bel air is one of Bert’s personal cars, which he bought from his friend george Munoz. george was about to take the car to the Pomona Swap Meet when Bert intercepted him and took possession of the car. After bringing it home, Bert and his 11-year-old son totally took the car apart and started the eight-month odyssey to complete this fine ride.
Bert spent a large amount of time on the phone tracking down noS parts from all over the country. But all of the phone calls and hassle paid off, getting almost every factory option available, including spotlights, wonder bar, Continental kit, power everything and fender birds just to name a few. The crew at The Chevy Shop knows their way around a car, and the paint and bodywork is top notch on this ’56. The two-tone paint job is visually pleasing and sets the car apart from many a stock paint job.
Bert’s people handle the paint and bodywork for a number of shops, but he had the crew at Bowtie Connection in artesia, California, handle the interior. it features a stock cloth pattern and a hardtop insert for a slightly different touch. a look under the hood reveals an engine compartment as clean as the exterior and with just as much attention to detail as the rest of the car.
The complete package is just that… complete, and Bert is ecstatic about the finished product. But that won’t stop him from selling the car to someone for the right price, because, like most builders, he’s already looking down the road at his next project. But he’s definitely enjoying his “og Big Daddyz ’56” in the meantime.
OG Big Daddyz ’56Owner: Bert MantillaVehicle: ’56 Chevrolet Bel air ConvertibleCity/State: EL Monte, CaliforniaClub: way of Life C.C.
Engine/Drivetrain: a 265-c.i.d. motor with “all matching numbers” was attached to a Powerglide transmission by “Mata.”
Body/Paint: Saul Terrain at The Chevy Shop in el Monte, California, did the bodywork and paint. Dawn gray and black paint complete the two-tone paint scheme. huvero Polishing in Baldwin Park, California, brought the metal back to spec.
Interior: John kennedy and the crew at Bowtie Connection in artesia, California, redid the stock interior and added a hardtop insert.
Sound System: Stock
Tires: P155/80-R13 Cornell
Wheels: 13×7 Dayton wires