“The Aftermath” continues for Page Gamboa of Los Angeles, CA, as he personalizes another Lowrider. This 1982 Le Cabriolet, is one of only 83 that were built that year. When Page saw this car being built as a Lowrider for his friend Sheen, he knew he had to have it. But Sheen wasn’t trying to sell this ride, since it was a rare Hess & Eisenhardt convertible edition. Coach convertibles are convertibles that were built by independent shops, filling a small void left by the auto industry in the late 1970s and early 1980s, when the American auto industry abandoned the convertible because of low demand and new federal crash regulations which would make the convertible seem impossible to build.
The convertible conversion became a dealer option that was ordered by a new car dealership, or ordered privately, for those who had already purchased their car. This addition was not unlike other modifications, such as rust proofing or custom pinstriping, which could be added before or after the vehicle’s purchase. As far as the car manufacturer was concerned, as long as the car was converted in a way that did not negatively compromise the car or cause warranty problems, then the new car dealership was free to do whatever they wanted to do. These conversions are not considered OEM or factory options, however. Conversions done before the final sale to the consumer, for/by the new car dealership are considered dealer options. All coach convertible conversions sold directly to the private car owner are considered “aftermarket” conversions.
After a few weeks of negotiating on the dealer option ragtop, they came up with a final deal of trading cars. Page traded Sheen a ’58 Impala convertible for the Le Cabriolet, giving a happy Page the third Le Cabriolet in the Westside car club. This was a big deal, since there are not that many convertible Cadillacs left in the U.S.
This car was originally purchased in Ohio, and brought back to Topo of Mafia Customs in Paramount, CA. Topo designed the car to be an elegant cruiser, complete with a Euro Clip update that was not offered back in 1982. The drive train would also be updated to provide reliability for the convertible. This would become a 3-month project that was nonstop, so when Topo received the ragtop, the car was stripped down for the process of a custom restoration began. Topo’s nephew Junior really played a big part in the build, as he performed the lion’s share of the work by following orders given by his uncle. The car was put on a body stand rack and the frame was unbolted from the body, before being shipped out to Homies Hydraulics of Paramount. Cesar from Homies would then do a mild reinforcement on the stock boxed frame. This work would help prevent the quarter panels from buckling from the stress that the hydraulic system might cause. During this process, the body was shipped to Royal Coach who took on the task of blocking out the body, and removing any unwanted rust that the car might have endured while in the humid Ohio weather. They also prepared the car and sprayed it in an ’04 Lexus Olive Green PPG two-stage color. Once they completed their tasks, Topo had a month to complete the car before its debut at the Las Vegas Super Show.
Time management was the key to achieving this deadline, so the crew was forced to juggle the build. While Topo and his nephew assembled the painted frame and the chrome plated undercarriage, the upholstery was sent out. In order to find a motor suitable for the build, Topo had purchased a low mileage 1992 Cadillac donor car, so he swapped out the engine and drive train and installed them in the convertible. The exterior also received the 1992 side molding shell and 2-door Brougham rocker moldings. These fiberglass shells would be painted in a tan color to complement the interior of the car. The trim that was sent out to Cesar’s Plating in Wilmington was also bolted back on, as it complemented the new 13×7 Zenith wire wheels. Freddy of Bowtie Connection from Torrance, CA did the pillow top Brougham upholstery, which was stitched in a tan leather and suede. Freddy also installed the convertible Acme stay-fast top. While Freddy worked on the upholstery, Topo worked on the stereo setup for the car. Topo and Junior started building the trunk panels and speaker box that would share room with the pumps that were simultaneously being installed by Big Frank of Homies. The results of the trunk brought out the best of both spectrums, as it showcased a booming system and an active suspension that could hop all over any competition out on the streets.
Believe it or not, Topo and his nephew Junior finished with time to spare, as they completed the build a week early. Now Page has a car that is pretty rare, but don’t think for a minute that he is scared to give it plenty of action out on the boulevard! Page can be seen cruising the streets in this beauty daily, as if this was the only car he owns. From the Eastside to the Westside you can see him enjoying his Le Cabriolet.
Owner: Page Gamboa
Vehicle: 1982 Cadillac Coupe Le Cabriolet
City/State: Los Angeles, California
Club: Westside, Los Angeles
Engine: Stock 1992 GM 350 5.7 liter engine fully detailed with chrome and other tricks
Body/Paint: ’04 Lexus olive green PPG two-stage color
Interior: Leather and suede interior by Freddy of the Bowtie Connection
Sound System: JL Audio sound system with two amplifiers that power the midrange and three W-6 subwoofers; Alpine head unit
Set Up: Two aluminum Homies pumps, 1 Adex super duty dump, two Italian dumps, plumbed and hard-lined, and six 31-series batteries
Tires: Cornell Radial 155/80R13
Wheels: 13×7, 96-chrome spoke with gold nipple and knock off Zenith Wire Wheels