When Cruz Rodriguez of Roswell, New Mexico found a lonely convertible just waiting to be reborn, he seized the moment. We Lowriders never believe a car is a lost cause, no matter the state it’s in, and this abandoned vehicle was no different for Cruz. With a little TLC and some creativity, Cruz knew that he could transform this ’67 Chevy Impala SS from a broken-hearted rust bucket into a show-stopping “Heartbreaker.” What else would you expect from a 20-year veteran in the game who flies the Imperial Car Club plaque?
Roswell is known for being the site of unidentified flying objects, but the object Cruz found was much more suited for being as low to the ground as possible. Upon seeing the vehicle for the first time, Cruz didn’t waste a second in bringing this classic drop top to life. He hauled it to his house, so that he could give the car a good cleaning. Soon, all his neighbors witnessed just how dedicated he was in building this car, as he worked at it night and day.
The first step was to take the Chevy off of its frame to see how in-depth this build would need to be. The evidence was painfully clear that the ’67 needed a lot of work, so the next step for Cruz was to find all the best sheet metal he could find. All in all, it took three salvage cars to act as donors to get the blood flowing through this ride. Cruz wanted to go the extra mile on the build, so he smoothed-out the wiper grill, as well as the firewall, and added some small tricks inside and outside of the car for those who appreciate a well built car; especially the show judges. Once the welding was complete, Cruz made sure that the car was rust-cancer free, and trusted the majority of the body work to Big Danny. After Danny and Cruz were satisfied with the car, it was taken to Orlando Cobos of Carino Auto Restorations, so that he could refinish the car. A Cherry Red Pearl base coat was picked for the base, and 6 coats of clear really helped to make that rich color pop! Gary Jenson came in to pinstripe the car, and he gave it the imperial touch.
With the paint and body of the car looking immaculate, Cruz spent lots of time making sure the engine department was as clean as the rest of the car. The 327 V8 was fully dressed up with more chrome than a rim shop! Electro Plating of El Paso, Texas was entrusted with this task, and they once again lived up to their stellar reputation. The crew at Electro Plating chromed out the rear end, the A-arms, and all the interior and exterior pieces, making the car shine from front to back. The interior of the Chevy was stitched up with a red tweed and red vinyl package, including a new convertible top by Victor at “The Stitch.” The car needed some extra artwork, so Cruz had Big Shadow put an airbrush piece under the trunk to highlight the Showtime two-pump set up. The only thing left on this monster build was to upgrade the undercarriage, which Cruz accomplished with the help of his fellow car club members.
After countless hours of sweat, hard work, detailing, and sleepless nights, it was finally time to hit the Lowrider Super Shows. “Heartbreaker” took first place at many shows, a feat not lost on Cruz, whose effort into this build was extraordinary. He is especially proud of the fact that he drives this beauty all the time; it ain’t just a show car. “What’s the point of building it, if you’re not going to enjoy it?” We couldn’t agree with you more, Cruz, and with a car this fine, you couldn’t have picked a better name, as this car will be breakin’ hearts for years to come.
Cruz would like to thank his fellow Imperial Car Club members for all the motivation and support throughout the project.
Owner: Cruz Rodriguez
Vehicle: 1967 Chevy Impala
City/State: Roswell, New Mexio
Paint: Big Danny and Carino Auto Restorations PPG Cherry Red Pearl
Engine: 327 V8 with a turbo 400 transmission
Hydraulics: Cruz and Orlando
Wheels: 88-spoke Daytons
Tires: 5.20’s Sportways