Eddie Espinoza, who used to cruise and get tickets all the time with his Orange County buddies up on Bristol Street, wanted to be different from that scene one day, and while he came to thinking outside the box he dared himself to be, well, himself and started looking around for the perfect ride. He found a ’63 Chevrolet Impala up in the city of Modesto, CA, which is part of the San Joaquin Valley. Eddie bought the car and brought it back from the agricultural valley down to Southern California. Eddie knew he would also have to change up the look of the ride to sort of stand out or be somewhat different from the normal street cruisers out in the O.C. boulevards.
After attempting his first do over of his ’63 hardtop by himself, he went to check out this car club that some guys named Chuck and Pork chop had invited him to. To his surprise, he was told by their car committee that the car had to be re-worked starting from scratch, because there were a few flaws that could not be fixed unless it was completely taken down and to start all over. After a long weekend of drinking his sorrows away, he jumped into the full redo on his ride, but only this time, it was with guidance.
The first thing that he did was to take the car apart and have the bodywork touched up and ready for paint. Influenced by some of the great paint work and designs by Mario Gomez, he visited Danny D of Baldwin Park, who took on the task of saving as much of the original Gold color that Eddie’s daughter Brianna had picked. The results were 6 months of prepping and painting, followed up by countless hours of pinstripping that would tie all the multi-colors together.
From what Eddie tells us, he thought that he would be close to being done and ready for assembly. Boy, was he wrong. Once the paint was done on the exterior, the engine was yanked out, the firewall and the radiator core support were shaved by the Dragon shop out in Santa Fe Springs. This was done so it could be painted to match the exterior. With his engine out, his two club buddies decided to help him out by taking the chrome that was on the engine and chucking it in the garbage. With his pride bent like his motor parts, Eddie went and had his engine painted by Danny D (the D’s stand for Dollars, lots of them) and then assembled by Aaron “Bubba” Garcia.
Bubba dressed up the engine by bolting on the billet accessories that were bought at the Pomona swapmeet over a period of a few trips. The engine parts included installing a Zoops serpentine pulley kit, polished intake and powder-coated Edelbrock carburetor. This setup was a perfect combination as the engine was hooked up with a Flowmaster bolt on exhaust kit installed by Jason at the Muffler Man in Placentia, which allowed the engine to breath and run more efficiently.
Next for Eddie was to re-do the suspension as Eddie and his camarada Bubba took on the task of reinstalling hydraulics on this soon to be bad and classic Impala. Two Hurricane CCE Hydraulic aluminum pumps were installed to allow the suspension to lower at the touch of a switch. With all the weight of batteries and the power of the upgraded motor, the suspension also received a brake upgrade from ABS, as a four disc brake kit was used to help stop the car on a dime.
With the motor all-chromed out and the hydraulics done, Joe of Joe’s Polishing in Whittier worked on the trim for the exterior of the car. Once those gleaming chrome strips were put on at Chuy’s garage on “La Calle Hamel,” the car came home and against Eddie’s will, a saws all was used to cut out the factory dash. The reasoning was, you have a custom paintjob, custom motor compartment, and now you’ll have a custom dash and interior to go with the rest of the car.
With no dash in the car, Eddie went back to Danny D who designed the interior. Once the designing was done, the car was taken to Henry of Henry’s Customs who took on the stitch and fiberglass job. Henry wrapped the Lexus seats and interior in leather and suede. The interior had upgrades that included a chrome ididit column, retro tek digital shifter, digital gauges, and molded panels that were prepared and sprayed by Eddie’s friend Pete “Brocha” Calderon.
With the help of his wife Daisy, who was there from the beginning of the build, Eddie decided to name the car “The Last Laugh” because people doubted the direction and dedication it would take to complete this type of car build. At the end of Eddie’s build, he got the last laugh as he has shown everybody in the OC that you could build a clean car even when there is some doubt!
The Last Laugh
Owner: Eddie Espinoza
Vehicle: ’63 Chevrolet Impala Super Sport
City/State: Santa Ana, California
Club: Lifestyle Los Angeles
Engine: Stock 350-cid GM engine painted and dressed up with chrome accessories.
Tires: Premium Sportway 5.20s
Wheels: 13×7, 72-spoke chrome Dayton wire wheels