Narrow minds often lead to complacent behavior. It takes a true creative person to constantly change thoughts and ideas to elevate their own level of perfection. How many times in your own life have you found yourself stagnant, not realizing in most cases that your way of thinking was actually the biggest obstacle? For 26-year old Ralph Villegas of Pueblo, Colorado, the journey of building a Lowrider has been an ever-changing trip, fraught with redirections and adjustments. Initially, Ralph sought out a car that could double as his daily driver; a ride that he could depend on to handle his work commute. As is the case with many Lowriders, that plan took a different turn when Ralph got wind that a friend of his was putting his ’83 Oldsmobile Cutlass on the market. Although the G-body had no motor or transmission, the frame and body was in perfect shape, and Ralph’s vision of the daily driver suddenly changed. At this point, the ideas started to flow and the saga of “Changing Mindz” began.
Thanks to an already established relationship with some riders in the Rollerz Only Car Club, one of the most respected and competitive clubs in the world, Ralph realized the true potential of the Cutlass. Although the original plan after the purchase was to leave the paint and body in stock form, Ralph’s mind once again changed and he enlisted Vanderslice in Albuquerque, New Mexico to overhaul the exterior of the Oldsmobile. A House of Kolor Magenta was laid down along with some wicked graphics, including the newer Oldsmobile logos to give the Cutty a more modern and unique identity. Not to be overlooked, Ralph also had the undercarriage smoothed down and painted to match.
While the exterior had been given the royal treatment, the road worthiness of the Cutlass left much to be desired, especially if this car was to become the daily driver that Ralph was seeking. A Chevy 350 was added to the Cutlass with the help of Ralph’s father, Ralph Sr., who wanted to help make his son’s Lowriding dreams come true. Of course the weather and terrain in Colorado can sometimes be a bit too treacherous for a scraper to handle, so careful attention needed to be paid to the Cutty’s suspension, otherwise it would be on a fast track to nowhere. In order to assist the car in handling the mountainous areas of Colorado roads, the Cutlass was brought to Champions Hydraulics in Pueblo, Colorado, where Jerry and Jim added a custom CCE two-pump, four-dump hydraulic setup using hard-lines that were plated by Denver Bumper. Ralph enlisted Angel’s Upholstery in Alamosa, Colorado to add a custom peanut butter suede and vinyl interior that flows all the way into the trunk.
Now a full-fledged member of Rollerz Only Car Club, Ralph takes pride in all of the decisions and ideas that led him to the completion of his head-turning Cutlass. Throughout his journey, his wife, Crystal, and their baby daughter, Aubrielle, have remained by his side in support. “At the time I bought the Cutlass, my wife was pregnant with our daughter,” Ralph says with a smile, “I guess you can say I now have two kids that make me happy.” When most car builders have a set plan and rarely deviate from it, Ralph used his creativity and allowed his changing decisions to reach his dream.
Tech Specs “Changing Mindz”
Owner: Ralph Villegas
Vehicle: ‘83 Oldsmobile Cutlass
Car Club: Rollerz Only C.C.
City/State: Pueblo, Colorado
Body/Paint: Vanderslice from Albuquerque, New Mexico laid down a House of Kolor Kandy Magenta and Oldsmobile logos to the exterior. The undercarriage was coated to match.
Engine: A Chevy V8 350-c.i.d. was removed from a pickup and added to the Cutlass. The chrome plating was performed by Denver Bumper in Denver, Colorado. The motor work was performed by Ralph and his father Ralph Sr.
Setup: Jim and Jerry from Champions Hydraulics in Pueblo, Colorado added a CCEtwo-pump, four-dump hydraulic setup that uses 8-inch cylinders to the front and 14-inch cylinders to the rear. Denver Bumper chrome-plated the hard-line hoses that carry the fluid. Four Duralast batteries power the lifting and lowering mechanism through the 10-switch panel on the dashboard.
Interior: The masters at Angel’s Upholstery in Alamosa, Colorado added a suede and vinyl peanut butter interior. The dashboard was painted to match the exterior.
Wheels: 13x 7 center-gold Crown Wire Wheels.
Tires: P155/80R13 Mohave rubber.