Our culture is comprised and defined by its love for classic cars. We share a love for many classic makes, models, and styles, as Boulevards everywhere have felt the wrath of our pipes in the forms of Bombs, Cruisers, and even G-bodies. While a single car make could never represent our culture, there is one car in particular that has been coveted, made popular, and seen its value appreciated by our culture more than any other. Of course I’m talking about the 1964 Chevrolet Impala. The ‘64 Impala can easily be described as the single most recognizable Lowrider, praised in countless songs, videos, and movies, which have featured it, along with the ’63 model year, as the standard in the Lowrider genre. Thanks to its wide, boxed frame; one of the better makes to showcase true hydraulic motion, as well as its variety of chrome, this car has likely been built by more Lowriders than any other car in our culture. Consequently, trying to make one stand out from the crowd is no easy task. San Diego’s Klique President, Jorge Solorio, took a painstaking three years to transform his car from just another six-four in the lot, into an undercover show winner.
At first glance, it appears to be another classic Impala; candied, flaked, and patterned, sitting low and pretty. Before you judge, however, remember the time-tested adage that ‘beauty is only skin deep’ and take a closer look, as Solorio is quick to explain why his car deserves that second glance. “I went to Chive from Red Line for the paint. At first, I was going to go with an original paint job,” Jorge says, as a lifelong fan of the classic styling of this ‘60’s Chevy. “He told me I wasn’t going to win shows with a stock-inspired scheme, so I left the car in his hands. I just let him run with the whole thing,” Solorio says. After bringing Mario Martinez into the fold to add the panels on the bottom of the car, it becomes clear that his trust in the two painters did not go unrewarded, as the paint alone puts this cruiser in its own class.
Upon seeing this car parked and fully laid out, it’s evident that the work of One Touch Hydraulics is top-notch, as the true artwork and craftsmanship of this Bowtie beauty really come to life. Still walking that fine line between stock inspiration and customization, the interior by Davalos Upholstery of Chula Vista, CA appears to be stock upon first glance. “Guys say I should have done a more custom interior,” Jorge laments. “At first, we were going to go with a hot-rod style interior, but I told him I didn’t want to go custom. I like the original style more.” Creativity flourished that much more during this section of the build, due to the incredible workmanship of Ronnie’s Electronics. The team from Ronnie’s mounted an Alpine deck in a custom console and matched it with custom kick panels which house Beymas mids and tweeters. Not seen, but definitely heard are the Rockford Fosgate subs, which finish off the custom sound system delivering the beefy sound, needed to turn heads.
The next dimension of creativity from this incomparable build can only be seen when you pop the hood. Normally, a stock 350 motor serves as the core of a ’64, but in this one, nestled between the custom striped shock towers, lies the heart of a beast! Jorge installed a 2006 LS-1, plucked straight off of the Corvette assembly line! Beyond the power advantage this engine obviously gives the ’64, the aesthetic value of the engine compartment and design might be even greater. Chromed and polished parts cover as far as the eye can see, including two custom painted engine covers, designed by famed artist Fonzy. The engine covers depict two opposing female faces, painted in Fonzy’s inimitable style, giving this Lowrider yet another exclusive advantage. The hood was smoothed-out by using carbon fiber, which made for a modern twist on an old style.
The mural work continues on this Chevrolet in the form of a huge family-themed mural spanning the entire underside. “The mural in the front is my family. It’s my dad, mom, and my son,” Jorge says beaming. Not one to hide his area affiliation, Solorio also needed a regional touch on this ride, to remind everyone who sees it where he is coming from. “I just put the ‘SD’ in there. I’m a big Padre and Charger fan,” he says with a smile. The Klique colors fly above the paint work as well, leaving little doubt as to the foundation of this lifelong Lowrider.
On the opposite end, the trunk has an attention to detail equal to, if not better than the front. Smooth custom quarter panels with a similar matching carbon fiber treatment house a four pump setup, powered by eight hidden batteries, all controlled through four switches. Underneath the trunk lid more carbon fiber can be found with a depiction of Chicano Park from Barrio Logan in San Diego, where Solorio grew up. “It’s done in a carbon fiber glass,” Jorge states. In our culture we’re starting to see a lot more carbon fiber, and Solorio has his own reasons for choosing the material. “Carbon fiber makes it lighter. Lots of people do metal, but need to use a stick to hold it up. I wanted it to be able to rest on the hinges,” he says. Paying homage to his neighborhood was a no-brainer for this enthusiast. “The murals all show the places I grew up in. Chicano Park has a bunch of murals on the bridges, and we do a big party once a year there. Everybody also kicks it there on the weekends,” Jorge states, with a voice full of pride. He wasn’t afraid to get even more specific and personal within the paintjob, either. “The trunk depicts where I was raised, including the house I grew up in. The street signs are the cross sections of where I lived. I just want to represent San Diego and the neighborhood I grew up in; the car is all about me.”
Underneath this ’64, custom fabricated A-arms and trailing arms mate with a chrome reinforced rear end out back. Remaining thorough in the build, any of the car’s parts that weren’t already painted, pinstriped, or flaked, were sent to Peter Tapia, from Orange County, who doused them with chrome.
“The whole car took me about three years to build,” says an exhausted Jorge. “It was a nice car to start with, but I wanted to add my own style. I went frame-off and wanted to make the car my own, and that’s why everything is brand new. People were surprised for me to bust out [with] that car!” While many of his peers may have been surprised, they undoubtedly couldn’t help but to be impressed by this build, a truly one-of-a-kind Chevy Impala.
We all know that customs are never finished, as there are always more things to do to stay ahead of the game. For now, however, Solorio wants to keep things simple for now. “A lot of people told me to add engraving; personally, I don’t like it. It’s just for points that I’m losing. I don’t want the car to look like a piñata; I cruise my car every weekend and drive it on the freeway!” With a car like this, who wouldn’t want to show it off in every way possible?
Mr. Klique S.D.
Owner: Jorge Solorio
Vehicle: ’64 Chevy Impala
City/State: San Diego, CA
Club: Klique C.C.
Engine: 2006 Corvette LS1 and 4L60 transmission.
Interior: Original with custom console and kick panels.
Setup: Four pumps with custom tanks, top pressure, square dumps, and half-inch port pressure lines.
Wheels: 13×7 Zenith Wire Wheels