There are a variety of qualifications that make a car cover-worthy for Lowrider Magazine, however, there are two key aspects that all of our choices seem to have in common; hard work and patience. Both of these certainly helped Robert Flores’ ’65 Impala showcase the cover of this month’s LRM.
Robert’s story begins in 1971, when he was born in Cuernavaca, Mexico. At the young age of 16, he relocated to Los Angeles with his beloved mother. As a part of a working-class, single parent family, Robert had no choice but to start working as a teenager to help his mother pay the monthly bills. At that time he also started collecting Lowrider Magazines, and began to study not only the cars, but the car owners as well, as he was interested in what they did for a living and how they were able to have enough income to support their passion. He figured this would help him gain some insight on how to build quality lowriders on a budget. He was frustrated to find out that some cars were built with easy money, or by experienced shop owners, making the dream of gaining a Lowrider cover seemingly impossible for a regular enthusiast. Robert turned this frustration into motivation, realizing that he would just have to work hard and save his money the right way, in order to build himself an award-winning Lowrider.
Robert’s first job was working as a fumigator, a job he held for a couple of years until one of his coworkers told him that if he wanted to achieve his dreams in life, he needed to find a better paying job. Robert stewed on the advice for a few days, before deciding that his coworker was right, and, in a risky move, Robert quit his job. The decision defenetly paid off, and he later found work as a plumber. After moving up in the plumbing company and having a few years of experience under his belt, he started working with his former employee and finally had the opportunity to build his dream car.
Robert found a’65 Impala for sale from one of his friends back in 1991. His friend had decided to sell the car, since it did not have an engine, and the gas prices at the time were skyrocketing to $1.25 per gallon. After borrowing fifty dollars from his middle brother, he purchased the ’65 Impala for only $250 dollars! The car was then towed to his mom’s house, where it sat for 2 years, until Robert was able to purchase an engine for the car. During the engine installation, the heavy 350 engine fell on his foot; luckily the accident did not do too much damage, and Robert was left to ponder his next step. Instead of proceeding, the Impala sat again for a few more years, since the Mini-Truck bug had bitten Robert, and he started working on his ’85 Nissan. On 10-inch, deep dish rims, Robert began cruising with his friends in Inglewood, where he received enough traffic tickets to land him in jail. While doing time for what he loved to do, he had plenty of time to think about what to do with his ’65 Impala, which was just taking up space in his mom’s driveway. After getting out of jail and heading home, he was surprised to find out that his mom had put a for sale sign on the car. Apparently he had gotten out of jail in the nick of time to save his car before it was sold! He began to focus more on his personal life, and while he had saved his beloved ’65 from being sold, it again would have to take a backseat in his priorities.
In 2001, Robert had saved up enough money to purchase his own home and begin a new life with his wife. That following year, he decided to start working on his car and headed down to House of Riders in Hawthorne, CA, with Troy from Rollerz Only, who helped him install a simple set up. After a rough couple of years, Robert decided to get a divorce, while selling his house in the process. With some cash in his pocket from selling the house, he decided to marry his car, and put his all into to making his Lowrider dream come true. Robert dropped off the car at M&M Customs, where Chico and Joe took on the frame-off restoration project. The ’65 Impala began to transform itself, now that the frame was fully wrapped and hooked up with a 4-pump M&M setup. The setup is fully chromed out and hard lined, and is powered by 8 batteries that are neatly housed in a chromed out battery rack.
The next step in the build was to deliver the car to GM Customs in Long Beach, CA, where George began working on the bodywork of the Impala. After a few weeks, the Impala was ready for paint, and George laid down a light blue base before pulling out all the stops with his amazing paint insight. He laid down different color graphics including purple, magenta, and lilac mixed with different pearls, flakes and silver leafing. Curly from Long Beach put the finishing touches on the paint with his unique way of leafing, making way for Oscar of Oscar’s Graphics to add his touch of custom pinstripping.
While the finishing touches were being wrapped up on the car, Robert was approached by one of the members of the Stylistics Car Club, who asked him to join the club. After attending a few meetings and hanging out with some of the guys, he liked what they were about, and decided to join the club. The car was already converted into a custom cruiser, but Robert decided to go all out by adding a bunch of new chrome parts including the entire undercarriage, molded A arms, and rear suspension. After attending a few car shows, a still unsatisfied Robert decided to redo his engine and upholstery one more time. The engine got a full make over, featuring billet pulleys, chrome valve covers, a chrome Elderbrock carburetor, a polished intake manifold, and custom bend chrome tubing. After the engine was redone, the car was taken to master upholsterer Joe at California Upholstery, where he gutted the stock upholstery and replaced it with Honda seats and a custom made center console. The Impala was upholstered with blue vinyl and two-tone purple and blue suede, which complemented the exterior nicely. After the car was completed, it was taken to the San Bernardino LRM car show where it took home multiple awards and was spotted by the LRM staff, who immediately scheduled the car for a photo shoot.
Eighteen years after originally purchasing the car, Robert’s dream of having his car featured in LRM was realized beyond his wildest dreams, as he was even given the coveted Front Cover feature. The ’65 Impala, nicknamed the “Woody ’65” has finally come to fruition, and looks great within the pages of the Lowrider Culture’s leading magazine. Robert would like to thank his kids for understanding his hobby and helping him realize his dream, and would like to extend a thank you to the Jeff Mc Keeve Family for always being supportive. He is grateful to The Stylistics Car Club members, especially George for all his insight and knowledge, and finally wishes to thank his mom for always pushing him and being supportive. For those of you who are having a hard time realizing your dream of building a cover car, just remember that saving money, hard work, and patience are the keys to your success and that your perseverance will pay off in the end.
Owner: Robert Flores
Vehicle: 1965 Chevrolet Impala
City/State: Hawthorne, California
Club: Stylistics Car Club
Engine: ’85 Chevy 350 with performance billet accessories, chrome valve covers, Air filter, custom bend tubing, polished intake manifold and chrome Elderbrock radiator
Body/Paint: Painted by George at GM Customs with multi color graphics; accented with leafing by Curly; pinstriped by Oscar.
Suspension: Four chrome M&M hydraulic pump set up with custom bend tubing and pump rack; powered by 8 Batteries; fully wrapped frame; chromed out front and rear suspension
Wheels: 13-inch anodized spoke wheels custom-painted to match the graphics