Hidden away just twenty miles from Denver, Colorado is Randy & Rita Sorenson’s prized ride, a 1952 Chevy Torpedo Fastback, appropriately named “Exotic Heat.” As the business owner of The Old West Bar-B-Que Restaurant, Randy knows more than a thing or two about achieving success. Having a close connection with renowned painter Mario Gomez of the Candy Factory in California, whatever vehicle Randy owned would receive a paintjob from the best in the business. Randy purchased a ’57 Nomad that was restored from the ground up. He brought the car to Mario, who told him it was too clean to paint. His next source was famous painter Walt Prey, who agreed with Mario by saying, “your car is too sweet to paint.” Although a bit disconcerted, Randy set his sights on a new canvas with which the paint masters could help.
Located in Canyon Country was the shell of a ’52 Chevy Torpedo. “From the minute I saw it, I was inspired,” Randy shares. “I knew my friends would assist me.” The first step was to make it road-ready. Randy purchased a V8 355 from a Chevy Camaro, and with his past mechanical knowledge; he installed the heavy motor in his garage. The entire car was rewired from the front to back. The next step was procuring the famous painters. He towed the Chevy to Mario’s shop in Lancaster, California. “If you know Mario,” Randy quips, “you know that after you give him a car, it might take a while.” True to form, two years and a few shop relocations later, Randy suggested that Mario grab his camper, equipment, and girlfriend and stay with him until the car was done.
With Randy now acting as Mario’s apprentice, the sanding and shaving began. The firewall was smoothed out, along with the center strip in the windshield. Using over six of his favorite candy lacquer colors, Mario laid down intense flames that blended well with the Butterscotch basecoat. Walt Prey was brought in to pinstripe the Chevy, changing his colors as the paint did underneath. The final step was adding two gallons of Urethane clear to protect the paint. The chrome and stainless steel was given to Gonzalo, of G.E. Restorations in California, for plating. Randy’s friend Pete Lara was brought in to replace all of the glass and push together the new unique windshield.
For the interior, Randy brought the Torpedo to Uph-R-Us in Van Nuys, California where he requested the interior be built exactly like a ’72 Rolls Royce Silver Shadow. The upholstery masters replaced the seats with white vinyl and color-matched yellow inserts and piping. The dashboard was painted and pinstriping was added. The tilt-steering column was imported from a ’72 Chevy Nova, and Randy capped off the design by adding a set of ’59 Dodge Lancer original wheels.
The most impressive feat about the ’52 Torpedo’s build is that the car was built over twenty-years ago. The Chevy remains in pristine condition, and the paint looks like it was sprayed just weeks ago. Unfortunately, the master painter, Mario Gomez, passed away a couple of years ago, leaving behind a legacy as one of the very few legends that the Lowrider culture could forever look up to and respect. His vision and creativity will always remain embodied within Randy’s ’52 Torpedo. “Exotic Heat” blazes through the Denver sun in full remembrance of a truly appreciated artist, as Randy smiles and says, “I want to thank Lowrider Magazine for allowing me to tell this story.”
Owner: Randy & Rita Sorenson
Vehicle: ’52 Chevy Torpedo Fastback
City/State: Castle Rock, Colorado
Engine/Drivetrain: D & K Machine shop provided the V8 355-c.i.d. from a ’69 Camaro. Randy installed the motor and added the turbo 350-shift kit and competition cams. Paul Daley of Total Polishing in Simi Valley, California did the chrome plating.
Body/Paint: Mario Gomez of the Candy Factory with Randy’s help did the shaving and sanding. The center bar of the windshield was removed, the fenders were extended, and the firewall was smoothed down. Mario created a Butterscotch basecoat with gold and yellow pearl mix. The flames were combined with Kandy Apple Red, Kandy Apple Blue, Kandy Magenta, Kandy Tangerine, Kandy Yellow and Kandy Purple in a unique blend. Walt Prey added his perfection with the brush, coating the Chevy in pinstriping that changes color with the paint. Gonzalo of G.E. Restorations in Los Angeles did the chrome plating.
Interior: Uph-R-Us handled the interior, mocking a ’72 Rolls Royce Silver Shadow, by adding white vinyl seats with color-matched yellow inserts and piping. Fiberglass was used for the dash as well as all the framing. A ’72 Chevy Nova tilt-steering column was inserted.
Suspension: The Torpedo was lowered using a combination of springs and blocks to achieve a more aggressive look.
Tires: Gangster White Walls
Wheels: ’59 Dodge Lancer polished caps