Ever since he was a young boy, Steve Hernandez Jr. has been around the Lowrider Culture. He has been particularly immersed within the “Bomb Scene” in the San Fernando Valley, where he grew up admiring those early makes and models. Steve’s dad owned a 1948 Fleetline, so Steve would often accompany his dad all over town to chauffeur Proms, Quinceneras, Weddings, and the occasional trip to the Pomona Swap Meet for a parts hunt.
Like most children of Lowrider enthusiasts, Steve started with a Lowrider Bicycle, and as he grew into legal driving age, he purchased the classic 1964 Chevy Impala. He cruised around in the Impala for a while, but eventually sold it, before turning around and buying another one. Steve took the second ’64 and restored it, added hydraulics, and drove it around for a few years. The need to own a Bomb kept tugging at Steve, so he made the tough decision to part with the Impala and use the proceeds to find a Bomb. He had his mind set on following his father’s footsteps, and building his own Fleetline. To move forward, Steve decided that he would take the Impala to the next Pomona Swap Meet and sell it.
The following Sunday morning, Steve and his dad met up with their friends to caravan to Pomona, in the hopes of selling the Impala and finding a Fleetline. On the way to Pomona, Steve’s dad was rear ended in his Fleetline on the freeway. The Bomb caught fire and was a total loss. Although the Fleetline was destroyed, Steve’s dad walked away with minor injuries. Obviously, they did not make it to the swap meet but Steve ended up selling the Impala anyway, and his search began for the perfect Fleetline.
Word quickly travelled to Steve’s uncle, Johnny Garcia Sr., that there was a Fleetline for sale in Oxnard, California, and he immediately told Steve about it. They drove up the California Coast and went to see the Fleetline. They arrived to find that the Bomb was a complete basket case. There were parts all over the place. The frame was on one side of the yard, while the body was on the other side. This was going to be a time consuming project, but Steve had found what he wanted, so he made an offer to the owner he knew he would not refuse. Once the deal was made, Steve scoured the yard and gathered the parts for the car, in order to bring it home and begin the restoration.
Once the car was back at Steve’s, he and his father started with the frame. They sent it out to get powder coated. After it was back from the powder coating, they installed new bushings, brake lines, gas lines and motor mounts. The motor and driveline were freshened up and installed on the frame. New brakes were added, and 16″ OG Artillery wheels and Denmon tires completed the frame. The motor fired up, and everything else on the chassis was in working order.
The Fleetline’s body was next to get restored into showroom condition. Steve’s dad took the body to the North Valley Occupational Center where he, Pete, and Sal Igari tackled the body. After the body panels were blocked to perfection, it was time for paint. Steve decided to go with the same color combination that his dad had on his Fleetline. Jimmy Torres of Sylmar, CA sprayed the Fleetline PPG Peaches Pink Rosa on the bottom half of the car and the top of the car was given a classy Dove Grey. After the paint work, the body was mounted to the frame, and Steve’s dad rewired the whole car and made sure the motor was running smoothly.
Three years into the restoration, the Fleetline was almost complete. Next on the docket was to pay a visit to Mike Perez of La Mirada, CA for a new interior. Mike covered the Fleetline in Grey cloth to compliment the exterior of the car. Steve had the interior and exterior of the car looking good, so he needed a lower stance to complete the look. The Bag Man of Anaheim, CA installed a four link conversion with dropped spindles and an air ride suspension. After the suspension work, the Fleetline was lying on the ground and lookin’ fine!
To finish off the build, Steve added the wrap around rain guards, vent shades, pull down bumper guard, banjo wheel and 48 T- Bar that he had accumulated over the years. Jason Jaramillo of the Bomb Shelter in Sun Valley, CA added an Alpine CD Player and two 6X9 speakers, so Steve could play his favorite oldies while cruising with his San Fernando Valley-based club, the Pachuco Car Club.
Steve credits and thanks his father, Steve Hernandez Sr., for the success of the restoration of the car. He would also like to thank the rest of his family as well as his kids for their support. We all know if you don’t have the support of your family; it is more difficult to complete a project. After all of the time and money put into the Fleetline, we doubt Steve will sell it to build another one. This one is a keeper!
One Fine Fleetline
Owner: Steve Hernandez Jr.
Vehicle: 1948 Chevy Fleetline
City/State: Arleta, CA
Club: Pachuco Car Club
Engine: 261c.i. 6 cyl
Drive train: OG Rear End
Body/Paint: Prep by Steve Hernandez Sr., Pete Igari, Sal Igari; Paint by Jimmy Torres
Interior: Mike Perez of La Mirada, CA redid the interior
Sound System: Jason Jaramillo of the Bomb Shelter in San Fernando installed the Alpine CD player and a pair of 6×9 speakers.
Suspension Set Up: The Bagman of Anaheim installed front & rear air bags and the 4 link conversion and dropped spindles.
Tires/Wheels: 16″ OG Artillery Wheels and Denman 600/16 White Wall Tires.
Rare Accessories: Wrap around Rain Guards, Vent Shades, Pull Down Bumper Guards, Banjo Wheel, 48 T-Bar