Growing up in Dallas, Texas, you knew that the hot spot for lowriders to cruise and chill was in Reverchon Park on the outskirts of downtown Dallas. That was the place for lowriders in “Big D” to see and be seen back in the day says Luis Morales. People would chill, cruise a little bit, park their cars and have a few hopping contests here and there.
Luis’ childhood friend, Jose Flores, was a great influence on him and in the ’80s they would hit all of the shows in Texas with one of their many hoppers. Luis remembers hitting 28 inches and making waves with their custom-built hoppers. Back then, they were the only Tejanos who would go to California and compete with the hoppers there. Luis also joined Los Amigos Del Barrio Car Club in the ’80s and cruised his ‘57 Chevy. He’s no longer in the club, but his “Amigos” still keep in touch.
Looking to make a career from his love of lowriding, Luis opened up a Dallas shop called LM Customs. This business venture has evolved into a full customization shop that offers frame-off restorations, frame wraps, custom paint and, especially, the exceptional hydraulic and airbag setups that Luis is well known for. LM Customs is responsible for some of the best lowriders coming out of Dallas, including centerfold vehicles like “Outcast” and “Pocket Change.”
So now Luis shows one of his new prize possessions, a ’65 Buick Riviera called “Tight Grip.” This project came about when one of his friends suggested that Luis needed to bring something out from the shop that was his own. Luis remembered a Rivi that was rusting away in a friend’s backyard. Luis was doing some custom work for this friend, so he traded out some of his skills for the Rivi. The car was taken to LM Customs where Luis immediately tore it apart and took the body off of the frame.
The Rivi received a disc brake upgrade all around, the frame was reinforced and the rearend was replaced with that of an ’85 Chevy Camaro. The body was almost immaculate so Luis did just a few things to it here and there. He did build a custom grille. The body was then painted by Luis using House of Kolor candy brandywine paint. Palmer from Dallas added gold leafing and pinstriping to accent the body lines.
Before the project was complete, the car was hooked up with a custom Air Ride Technologies suspension. Eric at Extreme Customs in Dallas fabricated some fiberglass that houses the air tank, along with amplifiers and subwoofers. The Rivi now revs up on an ’86 Chevy 350 engine.
After the Rivi was finished, Luis started to take it around the show circuit and he’s been winning numerous awards and trophies. Luis thanks everyone who was involved in the project and who made Tight Grip one of the cleanest Rivieras around. He’s now working on his ’57 and a few other projects that will be coming to life soon, so keep an eye on LM Customs down in Big D.
Tight GripOwner: Luis MoralesVehicle: ’65 Buick RivieraCity/State: Dallas, TexasClub: No affiliation
Engine/Drivetrain: The stock engine was replaced with an ’86 Chevy 350 that was rebuilt by Jose Flores in Dallas. The engine was accented with all hard-lines, custom air filter setup and billet accessories. The engine also sports a chrome alternator, compressor and serpentine belt kit, as well as custom engraving on the valve covers, air filter cover and manifold.
Body/Paint: Luis and Francisco at LM Customs in Dallas straightened the body, hooked up a custom moonroof and applied House of Kolor candy brandywine paint. The car was then accented by Palmer from Dallas, who laid down the finishing touches of pinstriping and gold leafing.
Interior: Christian Rojas at LM Customs took on the extensive interior work, replacing the old dash with a digital display and adding new seats covered in custom two-tone leather and suede. The center console was also painted, gold leafed and pinstriped to match the exterior.
Sound System: The sound system was handed to Eric at Extreme Customs in Dallas, who put his fiberglass skills to the test. Eric built custom fiberglass kick panels and a head unit housing that flows seamlessly across the dash. Eric took the trunk to the next level by building a housing for three Kicker woofers and two Kicker amps. The trunk also received a custom fiberglass air tank housing. After Eric finished smoothing out the fiberglass, Luis painted it to match the car’s exterior.
Suspension: Luis wanted the Rivi to drive smoothly so he set it up with an Air Ride Technologies suspension system.
Tires: P175/75-R14 Cooper skinny whitewalls
Wheels: Custom powdercoated 14-inch wires.