For many Lowriders, the sixty-four would be the Impala of choice, but that’s hardly the case for every Lowriding enthusiast, including Pierre Suranto from San Antonio, Texas. The great thing about the diversity among builders’ tastes is that it makes the Lowriding world that much stronger. This superb 1959 Impala, dubbed “Jazzy,” is definitely a testament to that, as it clearly makes a statement on the streets. Pierre is actually not an unfamiliar face within the pages of LRM himself, as highlights of his wedding pictures and featured 1961 Impala have both been showcased in past issues.
Prior to building the 1959 classic we see here, Pierre actually owned a handful of Chevrolet Impala models, ranging from 1961 through 1969. Although every ride he has built became head-turning and prominent vehicles, he always craved to sit behind the wheel of a pristine fifty-nine classic. The distinguished body lines and bold characteristics of this model year kept Pierre yearning to showcase one of his very own, both inside and outside the show arena.
As fate would have it, Pierre’s 1969 Impala convertible was badly damaged in a trailer accident about two years ago. The accident didn’t deter his love for car customizing, but it did give him a motive to make a come back with a more impressive masterpiece. The hunt was on for his next undertaking. Searches began, deals were made, and three weeks later, the sixty-nine was off to Houston with its new owner, and the fifty-nine out of Albuquerque, New Mexico, was delivered to the Alamo city.
It didn’t take long for Pierre to get started on his new found love. After speaking to his close car customizing colleague, Frank Chapa, owner of Performance Automotive and Paint, the tear down was immediate. Most of the work was actually done in Pierre’s own garage, including the engine rebuild and complete body tear down. Sections of the body were transported to Frank’s shop, and the surgical magic began. Each individual part was prepped, repaired, and individually painted, before the remainder of the car was sprayed and finally reassembled. Pierre wanted to keep the car’s original paint scheme, so he opted for a PPG Aspen green with a white base coat and clearcoat combination.
The intense New Mexico weather conditions caused the timeless classic to suffer a horrendous slow death, but the revival was shining through slowly but surely as they tackled the reconstruction feat. Every molding and trim piece was repaired or replaced. Metal Touch Plating of San Antonio was tasked to chrome and polish all of the items that Pierre dropped off. Frank steadily worked through several evenings, as he poured his talent into sanding, polishing and buffing. The car was reassembled and delivered to Jerry Vincent, one of San Antonio’s finest upholsters, for the switch work. Pierre’s desire was to keep the car as original as possible, so Jerry accommodated his wishes and worked up the interior in an original theme. The upholsterer did what he does best, and added in his own mix of materials to create a winning masterpiece. The suede, vinyl, and leather meshed together perfectly, and the concept featured a custom hand-stitched dash cover and matching toddler car seat.
Keeping the original power plant was definitely in line with the redesign blueprint. The 348 V8 was heaved out and completely overhauled in Pierre’s garage. Frank was the wrench man behind the rebuild, and originality was the key behind the eight-cylinder restore. Pierre couldn’t be more satisfied after Frank cranked over the engine. The dynamic heartbeat felt throughout the chassis when all cylinders fired up was beyond words. The powerglide also works seamlessly. In anticipation for a booming stereo system and air-ride, the alternator was upgraded to a hefty model, in order to produce more than enough juice needed.
Tunes are a definite need when cruising, so Pierre wired up a Zune docking station that directly connects to two Audiobahn ADT 1800 amplifiers, a trio of 12-inch dub1200 subs, a 6×9, and a 6-inch speaker. Leaving the factory radio in place and only utilizing the factory speaker enclosures gives “Jazzy” an original look. The Zune dock is a perfect solution, as it features a wireless remote and charges the Zune while it’s holstered. Andrew Perry was then called upon to handle the fabrication of the custom trunk enclosure that houses the amplifiers and subs. A combination of fiberglass and custom panels gave the trunk a modern sleek appearance that Pierre was looking for.
Last but not least, what’s a Lowrider without the switch action? While Pierre will always prefer hydraulics over airbags, air won the battle over juice on this build up. Pierre’s wife, Melanie, felt it was too precious of an automobile to “cut,” and while Pierre was still itching to install a three pump set-up with eight batteries, he agreed with his wife and called on Gilbert Gonzales of USA Motorsports to install a bolt on air ride system. Gilbert and his ingenious crew installed two ViAir 380 compressors, fitted with two 5-gallon tanks. Four switches were mounted under the dash to give Pierre quick access to motion his bowtie beauty to dip in every direction.
Pierre would like to thank his lovely wife for her continued support, Frank Chapa for his tedious labor, Jerry Vincent for his custom touch, and Andrew Perry, and the gang on Chevytalk for all the advice and pointers throughout the build. This reconstruction is a prime example of what the Unified Car Club members are serving up in the Lowriding scene in San Antonio. “Jazzy” has rightfully taken home first place wins in her debut year, and the numerous prestigious awards it has received to date is just a taste of what is to come, as Pierre continues to showcase this prestigious fifty-nine. While the Suranto’s are very happy with “Jazzy” at this time, you can bet that upgrades are always in the works.
Owner: Pierre Suranto
Vehicle: ’59 Chevy Impala
City/State: San Antonio, TX
Club: Unified Car Club
Engine: Stock 348-CID with Powerglide transmission.
Interior: Jerry Vincent installed a custom mix of leather and suede.
Paint: Frank Chapa straightened the fine lines of the ’59 and laid down a flawless paint scheme that included PPG Aspen Green & White Base Clear with a Clear Coat.
System: Three 12″ subs, three 6×9’s, one 6″ and two Audiobahn amps all linked up to a ZUNE player with wireless Dock and remote.
Setup: Air Ride, 4 switches FBSS, 2 380 compressors, 2 5 gallon tanks, slam bags, installed by Gilbert Gonzales of USA Motorsports.
Wheels: 13×7 Dayton wheels.
Tires: 155/80R13 BF Goodrich.