Memories are funny things. Sometimes, the mere mention of something can trigger feelings, emotions, and even make you feel like you were just there. That’s exactly what happened to me after I read Saul Vargas’ email, requesting that I write the story about “Cherry ’64, a pristine Impala, worthy of the bold name. You see, I had already experienced the joy of riding in this classic convertible beauty, on a cold Las Vegas October night of last year. As I was reading his email, I was transported back to this moment; feeling the night chill against my face, and hearing the strains of James’ Brown “This is a Man’s World,” hypnotizing me with its haunting waltz-drum pattern. I sat at my desk for a few moments and visualized the bright Vegas lights that we witnessed as we passed them in what seemed to be slow motion, as we cruised down the strip with the top down inside this amazing Lowrider. After I snapped out of it, and came back from my little trip down memory lane, I picked up my phone and gave Trino Alfaro a call to set up a date and time to meet up for the interview.
Once the agreed upon date had arrived, I made my way out to Tracy, CA, to the Alfaro residence. As I pulled up to the court, it looked like the whole neighborhood had turned in for the night except for one house. With the garage open and the lights on, the Alfaro residence stood out like the light at the end of the tunnel. As I pulled into the driveway, I noticed a man wearing a work jacket and a red beanie. That man was Trino Alfaro, who was up late at night working and cleaning up some parts for his new project, a ’58 Impala hardtop. Once he noticed that I had pulled up to his drive way, Trino greeted me in the best way he knows how to, with a cold beer. As we stood in the garage that was filled with trophies, car parts, and old photos of previous cars owned by Trino, he pointed out an old photo of a Grand Prix with a Playboy logo on its grill. That was the first car that Trino ever owned. “I got it off my brother for $500 in payments,” explained Trino, who was only fourteen years old at the time. His brother, who had lifted the Grand Prix from the front and back, bought a Cadillac that Trino also eventually purchased from him. “I used to take it cruising down Charter Way in Stockton, CA. with my friends,” he says with a mischievous grin. Apparently, Trino and his friends were all between the ages of 13 and 15 years old at the time! “My first ticket was for Unlicensed Driver, not because I didn’t want one, but because I couldn’t get one at age fourteen,” he laughs.
Trino went on to show me the rest of the cars that he’s owned throughout the years. Most of his previous cars were made up of Cadillacs, and a few ’64 Impala hardtops. Once we got to “Cherry ’64,” he explained how he had been looking for a ’64 convertible for quite some time. Getting a lead to the whereabouts of ’64 convertible from Tony Parker, Trino made the trip to So Cal with a trailer, just in case he bought it. The car was located in Rosemead, CA, and was owned by Big Fern, from Eagle Bank & Tow “When I saw it, it was all rotten and needed a lot of work, but that’s what I wanted, so I took it,” explained Trino.
Always having built street cars, Trino wanted to take the build of his ’64 convertible to another level. After three years of late nights and hard work, Trino was finally able to bust out this full show car, much to the delight of show spectators everywhere. For Trino, taking his masterpiece to show all over the West Coast helped to earn him numerous trophies at every show he attended, and even landed him a cover shoot for Lowrider Magazine. Wanting to enjoy his car, Trino would constantly cruise his award-winning car. “There is nothing more fun than driving your car to a show,” says Trino proudly, adding “My kids like going riding in it.”
Known for never having a car for more than three years, Trino got tired of “Cherry ’64’s” two-year run, so he decided to breathe new life into the car. “In two years, a car gets played out,” says Trino. He decided to take the car down to Joe Morales at Joe’s Auto Works in Tulare, CA, to add some shades to it. “From there it just took off,” explains Trino. “From shading, to flaking, to doing the frame,” he notes, explaining the car’s rebirth. Since “Cherry ’64” had a new paint job, it only seemed fitting to add new murals as well, so he called on Alberto Herrera out of Visalia, CA to work his magic. Tearing the car down in February, and sending out multiple pieces to different locations, Trino was able to bring out the new and improved version of “Cherry ’64” to the Lowrider Magazine show in Portland, Oregon, after only a few months of having it torn down.
Trino had been without a car club for over a year, and had been approached by a few different clubs who wanted his membership. Going to the Traffic car show in Upland, CA, Trino was approached by members of Traffic Car Club who wanted him to start up a Northern California chapter. Not knowing what he wanted to do, he decided to ride solo until he and a few friends decided to start up a new car club. Unable to come up with a name or color scheme for the new club, he decided to call up Mark Alcala, President of Traffic Car Club, and chose to start up the Nor Cal chapter of Traffic. Trino was the only member of the Nor Cal chapter of Traffic for a year, until people slowly started coming by and joining the club. Currently, the club has 15 members, with 11 of those being active members, and with most of the cars having chrome undercarriage, the Nor Cal chapter of Traffic is on its way to being one of the most prestigious clubs in Northern California.
“I’m already two years in with this car, and I’m already tired of it, that’s why I moved on to my ’58,” says the owner about his cars. “The only reason I’m going to show “Cherry ’64” this year, is because I’ve been asked by people to bring it to certain shows,” he explains.
Not being a fan of letting his cars sit in the garage, you can find Trino cruising “Cherry ’64” around town, driving to local shows, and also taking it out for the occasional beer run. “I’ve enjoyed driving all my cars, and just because this one has chrome and an engraved undercarriage, that doesn’t stop me.” The Nor Cal weather is known for being less than forgiving at times, but that doesn’t faze Trino. “I’ve been caught a few times by the rain while I’m driving. You can only put the top up and keep going,” he says.
A humble Trino pauses to reflect on his time with “Cherry ’64.” “One thing that I will always remember about this car is the love I got from everyone, even since the first day I brought it out.” Trino would like to give a special thanks to his wife, Desiree, his kids, Ill Phil, Tommy, his boss for putting up with all his “b.s.,” and everyone else that helped him out with his incredible build.
Owner: Trino and Desiree Alfaro
Vehicle: 1964 Chevy Impala SS Convertible
Ctity/State: Tracy, California
Body/Paint: The fiberglass in the trunk and hood were done by Trino Alfaro, giving Alberto Herrera of Visalia, CA plenty plenty of room to airbrush his flawless murals. The Cherry Red House of Kolor paint was laid out by Leo Osuna, out in Tracy, CA. Joe Morales from Joe’s Auto Works in Tulare, Ca laid the multi pattern flake found all over the car, from the undercarriage to the engine compartment and all over the body. Works in Tulare, Ca laid the multi pattern flake found all over the car, from the undercarriage to the engine compartment and all over the body.
Engine: Purchasing the 2000 Chevy 350 bare-block from Pete at Bonander Pontiac in Turlock, CA, Trino dressed up the engine compartment with chrome that was done by Moreno’s Plating in Fresno, and Rene at Showtime Chrome Plating in Kerman, Ca. Giving it that extra look of elegance, Trino had all his chrome engraved by Cortez Engraving in Texas and Gino from Fresno. Quiet Masters in Modesto took on the task of adding the custom exhaust that was also engraved.
Sound System: Chris West at Turn It Up Stereo in Tracy, CA built the custom fiberglass enclosure and installed the custom sound system, with the help of Trino Alfaro.
Interior: Installing “Cherry 64’s” third custom interior was left to Mike at 209 Customs. Coming up with a custom design was no trouble for the experienced sticher. Big Ryan from Las Vegas sent Trino the color bar as an early Christmas present. Castillos out of Modesto, CA installed the convertible top. Mr. Wim out of the East Bay was left in charge of etching the windows on “Cherry 64.” Trino finished off the interior with a Dacota dash.
Hudraulics: The Sinister set up was installed by Trino Alfaro, who also made all the custom hardlines.
Wheels: Sinister sponsored the wheels that were custom-painted to match the car by Joe’s Auto Works in Tulare , CA
Tires: 5:20 Premium Sportways