Being a business owner is a job in itself; now try dedicating the rest of your time in trying to build the perfect Lowrider. Danny & Diane Rodriguez, owners of D.R. Antique Car Parts & Accessories, did just that. The couple juggled living in Vegas, going to car shows, and building a car in an amazing balancing act of work and play. Determined, this family didn’t rest until this truck was completely customized from the ground up. The family project, initially started by Danny Rodriguez’ father, Gilbert Rodriguez, became a family affair as the Rodriguez family pulled together to customize the 1958 Chevrolet Apache truck.
The five-year project commenced under that watchful hand of Danny’s father, and he worked on the car until his health complications limited his abilities. During his time with the truck, Danny’s dad created a slew of memories. The family can remember him going outside to work on the truck, watching him build the wood flooring for the truck bed (which still carries his initials) , and they even caught him falling asleep under the truck with Danny’s son while he was wrenching on the suspension, the apparent victim of a hot summer’s day. After talking to Danny, his dad agreed to hand over the keys, as the process would turn into a family project with Danny’s brothers, Steve and David, on board and ready to work.
David handled all the bodywork, keeping the shaved door handles and his father’s signature modification; the Frenched antenna. Once the body was straight enough to paint, David worked his magic as he sprayed the PPG two-stage “Rally blue” paint. This would be a milestone for the build as Mr. Rodriguez was able to see the truck painted, giving the brothers a thumbs up before losing his vision just a few short weeks later. Once the truck was painted, it was left to cure, until a couple of weeks later when it would be color sanded, buffed, and readied for assembly. Now keep in mind that these steps could only be done during the spare time and free weekends that the family had. The first part of the assembly would also be done in California, as the fenders and exterior of the vehicle were put on. Steve also took credit for wiring and tuning the small block 350, which was transplanted into the classic truck.
Owning a shop gave Danny an advantage as he used his shop connections to complete the car, securing everything from the upholstery to the accessories that were bolted on to the truck. The truck was also pinstriped by “The King of the Bugler,” Gary Jensen, who pulled some straight lines to accent the body-lines. Danny also dressed up the interior with a pipe holder, and a color bar that worked through the newer style radio that was installed for the single truck cab.
When it was all said and done, Danny’s father would have been proud of his boys and the family for pulling together and building a tribute to him. I’m sure Danny’s family will enjoy this truck and have their own new memories for the next generation, as they do not plan on ever selling this truck.
The Final Chapter
Owner: Danny & Diane Rodriguez
City/State: Las Vegas, Nevada
Vehicle: 1958 Chevrolet, Apache
Club: Classic Oldies CC
Engine/Drivetrain: Stock 350 c.i.d. Chevrolet small block engine with 350 transmission.
Body/Paint: Rally Blue PPG paint finish
Interior: Custom black interior kit.
Suspension: Stock-rebuilt suspension was painted to original specs.
Tires: 15-inch Broadway H-78
Wheels: 15-inch Stock painted to match wheels