How can you put a price tag on someone’s dream? This seems to be the case for most builds today, as the cost of building a Lowrider can sometimes become the main obstacle for a would-be builder to overcome. The amount of time, and more importantly, money, that goes into creating the perfect build can intimidate even the most dedicated Lowrider. This was the case for Benny Godoy, who grew up in a working class family in Fullerton, CA. As he was growing up in Fullerton, young Benny always wanted a convertible ’58 Impala, but could not afford one at the time. Now an established adult, Benny decided that it was time to finally give something back to himself and make his old dream come true; he decided to purchase the convertible. Benny picked up this convertible about six years ago, and the car had great potential, needing only minor restoration. After Benny got it home, the long task of building his dream car had begun, and he envisioned the car as a one-of-a-kind, restoration cruiser.
Not wishing to rush his dream, the six-year build gave Benny ample time to seek out and purchase the rare options that were incorporated into his build. During numerous Pomona swap meet trips, Benny found his way with a NOS compass, which he purchased out there. California’s Pomona Swap meet also gave Benny a rare power bench seat for his ’58. Items that he acquired through eBay or private parties included Trail Master Spotlights, a Wonder Bar radio, power windows and wing windows, a vacuum ashtray, an Arc Record player, factory AC, a hand held spotlight, cruising skirts and a continental kit. Benny made sure that his ’58 would be able to hang with the big boys, as he loaded the ragtop with all of the factory and era correct accessories that he could find.
The whole car was disassembled for the restoration, as the frame was pulled off and sent out for powder coating. The body was put on a body cart and shipped to Gordon Forbes of Rolling Dreams in Riverside. Gordon, who you might have heard of from the TV series “American Hot Rod,” performed all the body and paint work on this incredible first generation Impala. Gordon sealed the car and sprayed it in a House of Kolor Pearl Orange. Gordon not only painted the outside of the Chevy, but underneath the car as well, as the paint flowed to the floorboards of the car.
Once the car was sprayed and was back on the newly restored frame, it received the refurbished trim that was customized by Apolonio’s polishing in Montclair. Benny then decided to have airbags and a sound system installed on the ragtop. The air bags were installed in Benny’s garage by friend Leo, while the sound system was installed by James Farias and Gabriel Gilmore of Who Bangin’ Audio. The sound system included two Hifonic amps, which powered the MB Quartz speakers. All of these steps were completed before taking the car to the next high profile part of the build, which was undertaken by Ron Mangus of Mangus Upholstery in Rialto, CA. Ron also took credit for adding the grey stayfast convertible top, which perfectly blended the interior and the exterior of the car.
Now that the cosmetic aspects of the car were completed, the original 348 engine was sent out to Mike of High Desert Machinery in New Mexico, so that he could rebuild the engine back to the original blueprint specs. Mike also tuned the temperamental triple deuce carburetors, or as they are sometimes referred to, “The Tri-power” set-up. It took Mike a while to dial them in, but once they were tuned, the big block ran perfectly. The factory AC was connected so that the car could blow cold air, even in the hot California summers. To accomplish this, however, Benny had to track down a rare air cleaner that bolted on with an offset, in order for it to clear the AC pump. With so much power under the hood, the only modern upgrade that was added to the car came in the form of disc brakes, used to allow the car to stop on a dime.
Benny could not have put this car together without the support of his loving wife Cindy, and the support of his four children. Benny had originally bought a ’58 convertible 18 years ago, right before getting married, but once he tied the knot, he couldn’t afford to restore it and was forced to sell it to provide for his family. Benny was finally able to buy this ’58 convertible six years ago, allowing him to fulfill his 18-year-long dream, proving that good things come to those who wait.
Owner: Benny Godoy
Vehicle: ’58 Chevrolet Impala convertible
City/State: Fullerton, California
Club: No Club
Engine: Stock 348-c.i.d. tri power engine
Suspension: ViAir compressor with Universal Air bags to allow the car to lay out and lock up at the flip of a switch
Tires: P155/80-R13 Hankook radials
Wheels: 13×7 chrome Dayton wire wheels