While this might be the first time that Agostino Onorato of San Pedro, CA., gets a feature in Lowrider, it’s definitely not the first time he’s been seen in a Lowrider. Agostino has been around for years and has certainly had his fair share of Lowriders, but none compare to this feature car. Affectionately known as 59 Times, this beautifully customized 59 Impala was a seven-year project that was as close to a frame off restoration as possible. Agostino always had his heart set on a 59 Impala, but could not find anything worth building. Everything was either too expensive for the quality, or just too far gone for his rebuilding taste. After weeks of looking, he finally approached Ralph Fuentes, who had a 1959 Impala. This 1959 Impala was originally a California survivor car that had previously graced the pages of LRM as Cloud Nine. The deal was struck, and Agostino drove off in the 59.
Even though the car was clean when he bought it, Agostino knew that he wanted to make the car his own and build it to his liking. Once Agostino knew what he was going to do with the Impala, his crew took the 59 hardtop and it was inventoried before being disassembled. The first stop was with the family painter, Steve Deman of Chino, CA., who took on the project. This car had minor body work or should we say body mods, added to it, as the car was a solid starter car. Some of the modifications included Steve shaving the door handles to make the car look longer and more streamlined, while the exterior mirrors were also shaved. This allowed Steve to shoot the car in a pretty, Candy Cobalt Blue. The wings and the roof of the car received a Pearl White foundation and subtle graphics. Steve also receives credit for all of the pinstriping and painting of the engine compartment.
The 1970 383 engine was dressed up by Don Luce of Garden Grove, who refurbished it with Street and Performance components that includes a serpentine kit, valve covers, breathers, and an air cleaner. An Edelbrock Endurashine intake and Demon Carburetor combination were used on the engine as well. In order to keep the car running cool despite all of its massive chrome, a Matson Radiator with single Spal electric fan was used. Other goodies in the engine compartment included a custom radiator line, Optima battery tray, and an ABS braking system. Seeking to let the engine breathe more efficiently, Agostino took the car to Tim, of San Pedro Muffler, who installed the Magna Flow exhaust system on the car.
While the car’s engine was being reworked, Homies Hydraulics of Paramount, CA., was allowed time to create a custom pump for the finned Impala. While the car’s hydraulics were going to be designed, Agostino linked up with Rick Leal of Electronic Interior of Torrance, CA. Rick installed an Alpine and JL Audio sound system that was going to rock the classic car. The JL part of the Audio system consisted of two 10-inch W7 JL subwoofers and Alpine amplifiers that power up the Alpine midrange speakers.
Once the paint was completed, Agostino paid attention to detail and sent his car to Manuel Rojas of Downey, CA., who took credit for the assembly. Manuel made sure to install all the accessories that included a set of cruising skirts, continental kit, power windows, power vent windows, and modern amenities like the Dakota Digital Gauges. They also installed the billet tips on the bumper bridge replacing the factory rubber ones. In the assembly process, Manuel refurbished the moldings and trim, which were carefully installed, leaving the car ready for the last part of the build.
The interior became the final piece on Manuel’s to-do list for his prized 59. With a molded and painted dash that featured custom digital gauges, shaved switches, chrome bezels that were frenched into the dash, this Impala really set the bar for interior design excellence. Agostino wanted to make sure that he went to the right person to handle the interior, so the car was taken to Henry of Henry’s Customs of Azusa, CA. Henry designed the door panels with designs that flowed from the rear of the car all the way to the kick panels. Henry then wrapped the complete interior in leather. With several hours of stitching and fabricating, Henry tied the interior of the car to the exterior, making a one-of-a-kind look that really separates this Impala from the pack.
The build was long but worth the wait for Agostino, as the car came made its debut at the Pomona Grand National Roadster Show this past January. With this car finally finished, Agostino loves to take this winged beauty on cruises. It’s a sure bet that you can see him at your local shows.
Owner: Agostino Onorato
Vehicle: 59 Chevrolet Impala
City/State: San Pedro, CA
Engine: 1970 GM 383 engine and 350 transmission combo.
Setup: Custom-built Homies whammy setup powered by eight batteries and controlled through three-square dumps.
Tires: Radial 155/80R13’s.
Wheels: 13×7 Dayton Wire Wheels.