In the 1960’s the musical group Thee Midniters recorded a song called “The Town I Live In.” The song, as well as the group, became very popular in the Mexican-American communities in Southern California during the era. The title of the song was also used for a mural in the city of Fullerton, California that was painted in the late 1970’s. For many of Fullerton’s residents, the mural, which includes a Lowrider and the song title, depicted life in their neighborhoods when they were growing up. One of those residents is Michael Dominguez, who is a lifelong Fullerton resident. Michael thought the song title was also the perfect name for his recently completed 1948 Chevy Fleetline.
Michael was first introduced to Lowriding in the late 1970’s by his older cousin, Ernie, who had a 1965 Chevy Impala and was the first president of Groupe Car Club, Orange County. Michael’s older brothers started Lowriding and would take him to Irvine Lake, which was a cruising spot at the time. Eventually, when he was of driving age, he got his first Lowrider, a 1966 Chevy Impala. From that point on, in Michael’s words; “He was hooked.” Over the years, he has bought and sold many cars, including a ‘62 and a ‘64 Impala ragtop. He was a member of Brown Pride Car Club, but stepped away because of work and family responsibilities.
This is not even Michael’s first ‘48 Fleetline; he had one before that he bought, restored, and sold. He really liked the Fleetline, so he set out to find another one. He found one in Lynwood, California that Ruben Cantoran of Ruben’s Garage was selling. After Michael & Ruben made the deal for the Fleetline, it was time to start sourcing parts and shops to get the Fleetline back into pristine condition.
Michael’s friend, Jason Bray, helped him get everything together for the restoration. The back bone of any restoration is the paint and body work. Placentia Auto Body took the body and frame and restored them back to factory condition. Mike, from Placentia Auto Body, then sprayed the custom green on the Fleetline. The factory 235 and three speed transmission were refurbished and cleaned up, and Michael made sure to finish off the mechanics by adding Fenton headers and straight pipes for the requisite exhaust note that every Fleetline has.
Once the exterior was in good hands, Martin, from Martin’s Upholstery in Orange, California, covered the interior in Beige using a mixture of tweed and fabric to compliment the wood grain that was restored by Ruben Cantoran. Ruben also installed an Alpine audio system in the Fleetline that is powered by two amps and five 6×9 speakers.
Michael wanted to make sure the Fleetline layed nice and low, so Ruben, from Ruben’s Garage, performed the airbag installation. The two switch system controls the front and rear airbags and lays the Fleetline low, while giving it a more comfortable ride on the streets of Fullerton.
Fullerton Chrome took care of all of the chrome work, and while the restoration was going on, Michael made a few trips to the Pomona Swap Meet for accessories. Michael added a Banjo Steering Wheel, a Northstar Compass, Red Head Flashlight, GM Tissue Dispenser, and a Traffic Finder to the interior. On the exterior, he added Wrap Arounds, Dual Spot lights, a Visor, Fog lights, Front & Rear Bumper Guards, and a GM Locking Gas Cap. He finished off the exterior with an AAA license plate topper and vintage license plate frames. The final task was to find a name appropriate for the car, which Michael did.
The restoration took exactly one year, as the Fleetline was purchased in November of 2009 and completed in November of 2010. We were able to shoot the car before it had even hit the streets or the shows. At press time, the Fleetline had taken first place at its first car show. We are sure it will take plenty more first place trophies. Michael wishes to give a special thanks to his wife, Jeanette, and his children, Angelique, Sierra, and Sunnie Girl. He also extends his thanks to Jason Bray and Ruben Cantoran for all of their help with the Fleetline restoration. n
“The Town I live in”
Owner: Michael Dominguez
Vehicle: 1948 Chevy Fleetline
City/State: Fullerton California
Paint: Custom Green by Mike at Placentia Auto Body
Interior: Beige Tweed Fabric by Martin’s Upholstery. Ruben Cantoran of Ruben’s Garage added the wood grain restoration.
Suspension: Ruben Cantoran from Ruben’s Garage installed an Airbag system.
Wheels: 15-inch Artilleries
Tires: Firestone 5.60’s