Lowriding is a lifestyle that just captivates folks from all walks of life. Often times, youngsters feel such a strong influence from the sport that they become hooked, dedicating their future to the slow and low world of the Boulevard. Max Alvarado is one of these riders; in fact, aside from his immediate family, Max Alvarado’s life has been consumed with the Lowrider passion since he was a twelve-year-old boy. Growing up in Elk Grove, CA., Max had a neighbor who had a customized Lowrider that was the talk of the block. Any passersby that caught a glimpse of the machine respected it and none more so than Max. Much to his delight, the neighbor asked Max if he would be willing to wash the machine if he was paid to do it. Chances are that Max would have done it for free, but the neighbor paid him anyway, and this became a regular routine that left Max forever intoxicated with the passion of Lowriding.
As he grew older, Max began to test the waters, initially holding the keys to a ’58 Apache truck. He continued his journey through several different makes and models, sitting behind the wheel of a few G-bodies; namely, a Cutlass and a Buick Regal. His dream ride, though, was to own the very car that most people agree represents the Lowriding lifestyle as a whole. Of course we’re talking about the 1964 Chevrolet Impala Convertible, a staple in the garages of countless Lowriders for decades. At one point, Max did get close to that dream and bought a ’64 Impala hardtop, which he named “Mad Max ’64.” This ride was clean and while it gained a lot of attention for him, it just simply lacked the convertible option he ultimately wanted. Determined to have one someday, Max pressed on.
In 2003, Max joined the large, family-oriented, and always positive USO Car Club. The club’s camaraderie would prove to be the perfect support system for his search, as he longed for the chance to build the coveted convertible. The club brothers took great care of Max, and looked for any opportunities that might help to put him in the driver’s seat of his dream ragtop. Finally, the dream became reality when one of the club members decided to sell Max an all-white topless ’64 Impala for a cool fifteen grand. The car was nice, but Max wanted to give it his own personal style and touch, and he instantly got down to business.
Modeling the ’64 build after the famous all-red 1961 Impala Convertible named “99 Problems,” Max decided to give the ragtop a complete frame-off restoration. The original “Mad Max ’64” hardtop had set the bar for him, so if his efforts fell short with this new “Mad Max ’64,” the disappointment would be hard to take. Because of the pressure he trudged on, he sent the car to Andy, of Andy’s Customs in Sacramento, California, who completely rebuilt the 327-c.i.d. V8 engine and transmission. While he was now certain that the car would run like a dream, the next step was to make it look like it did, too.
Gilbert’s House of Lowriders in San Jose, California provided the bodywork and paint preparation on “Mad Max ‘64. Thanks to their efforts, this ’64 boasts the unique and bold one-tone color of Red from the undercarriage, to the interior, to the exterior paint and custom red ragtop. Max says the color choice had nothing to do with the areas he has lived in (as some have wrongfully assumed), but rather the motivation stemmed from his desire to build something eye-catching and unique. In general, he wanted to build a car that would just represent him and his custom car ideas, as well as represent USO Car Club in a strong way. He took other matters into his own hands, installing the stereo and hydraulic set up himself, using a Pioneer 300-watt amp and four 6x9s for the audio. As for the hydraulic set up, Max assembled a pair of 8-inch cylinders up front and a pair of 12-inch cylinders in the rear, using two chrome ProHopper pumps powered by six deep cycle batteries. Andy’s Customs had already reinforced the frame, and suddenly Max’s ride was ready to hit the streets!
While most people might think this ride looks complete, Max insists that he is far from finished with this masterpiece, vowing not to stop building until this topless beauty is displayed on a turntable as a certified show-stopper! Max thanks his wife and kids for their support, and he gives big thanks to Gilbert, Bubba, the USO Family, and everybody else who helped with the build-up of the new “Mad Max ‘64.”