Wilson “Chuco” Rivas’ father, Juan Francisco Rivas, was a truck driver who owned a ’65 Impala SS and a ’66 Nova when Chuco was a 5-year-old boy. “He always had those old-school rides,” says Chuco, reflecting on his happy childhood memories. In fact, Chuco’s father owned many classic cars that he used to cruise. As he got older, Chuco used to ask his dad why he didn’t save any cars for him. “I know that if there was some way of him knowing that I would like old cars like the ones he had, then he would have saved one for me,” explained Chuco.
Once Chuco turned 14, he started bugging his dad to buy him a ’65 Impala, just like the one he once owned. One day, his father asked him to go for a ride with him; what Chuco never expected was that his dad had a surprise for him. When they arrived to the location his father said, “You see that car right there? It’s yours!” Chuco was so surprised that he didn’t know what to say. When he looked under the cover, he saw a ’66 Ford Fairlane 500. The car had been sitting on the side of a house for ten years, and to say the least, it was a project car. “It wasn’t what I wanted,” says Chuco, who wanted a Chevy. He learned to love the car anyway because of the way his father gave it to him. “First thing I did to the car when we got it back home was to detail it.” Chuco cleaned every corner of the car, including the engine compartment which didn’t run at the time. “I cleaned it from the excitement of having a car,” he laughs.
Aware of the work ahead of him, he started to work on the car with his dad. Their first task was to get the car running. The duo set up lights in the backyard for some late night wrenching. “Little by little, we worked on the engine and got it started,” says Chuco. The late hours they put into the engine had paid off. “My dad is the one that showed me how to work on the car,” Chuco proudly says of his father. They almost had the car running when on August 9, 2004, Chuco’s father was involved in a fatal truck driving accident that ended his life. “He never got to see the finished project,” laments Chuco. “That’s why I have the dedication to him in the backseat.” Chuco ended up finishing the car engine and getting it running with a friend. He then added the parts, paint, and everything else on the car to his taste.
“The car has a lot of sentimental value to me and I’m never going to sell it. I’m going to pass it down to my son, Estevan Alexis Rivas, who is five years old right now.” Chuco would like to dedicate this to his dad, Juan Francisco Rivas, aka Paquito. “I know he’s looking down and seeing this,” says Chuco regarding the magazine feature. I’m sure he is Chuco, and you can bet he’s proud. Great work!
Owner: Wilson “Chuco” Rivas
Vehicle: 1966 Ford Fairlane 500
City/State: Sacramento, CA
Car Club: Socios
Engine: Chuco has the original 289 small-block.
Body/Paint: For the bodywork, the car was taken down to Tijuana, Mexico, where Balo did the bodywork and sprayed the car with black cherry and burgundy wine patterns, accented by face murals.
Interior: Javier and German stitched up the ruby red and cream-colored interior.
Setup: Chuco himself installed the chrome whammy pump.
Sound System: Chuco installed The Pioneer head unit and the two 6x9s.
Tires: Dayton 155/80R13.
Wheels: 13-inch OG Wire Wheels