Ambition is the key ingredient to all successful Lowriders. In order to drive the ride, you have to have the drive to build the ride in the first place. Setting a lofty goal and being willing to sacrifice a ton of time and finances to accomplish that goal is par for the course; and it is this determination to stand out that makes us a whole different breed of auto enthusiasts. Luis “Speedy” Rodriguez, of Long Beach, California, is one of these ambitious builders, and he followed these guidelines to greatness. At 21, he bought himself a ’54 Chevy while working at a polishing shop. This was in 1992, and that same year, thanks to the influence of one of his good friends, Speedy joined High Class Car Club. Work on his ’54 began immediately, and it only took the young Speedy two years to turn his classic Chevy into a true Lowrider! “Every year I kept adding something to the car,” recalls an exuberant Speedy. After working at the polishing shop for five years, he decided to open up his own plating shop, which he called “Speedy’s Polishing.” “I always liked working with cars, and especially with chrome and polishing,” says Speedy. In order to get in where he fit in, this took all of Speedy’s efforts, and he once again accomplished his goal.
After almost twenty years of owning his ’54, he sold it to fund the build of his ’94 Cadillac, a process which began a few years ago. “I got the Cadillac from one of my fellow High Class club members,” explains Speedy, who purchased the Cadillac in bone stock condition. Seeing a blank canvas before him, Speedy’s initial intentions were to make the luxury ride a practical street ride. “I was just going to add rims and hydraulics to cruise around in the streets,” says Speedy with a sheepish grin. Of course, this is pretty much the blueprint for all initial builds, until the competition bug bites the builder and pushes them to the max. Speedy was no exception, and it was indeed the competition at the shows that ended up being Speedy’s main motivation to go all out and redo the entire car. “I would go to the shows and would see everyone placing at the shows except for me; so I started dropping more and more money into the car,” he says. The funds were certainly money well spent, as this Cadillac currently has no competition at the shows, and Speedy’s only concern is where to put all of the “First Place, Full Custom” trophies once he gets home. “Before, everyone would beat me,” says Speedy with a sense of accomplishment in knowing that he has given his all to earn these accolades.
The build of the Cadillac began without a hitch, as Speedy decided to pull the engine out and paint the block before adding everything else. He was aware that the aesthetics of the engine compartment would be severely improved, but he was concerned about reinstalling the engine itself. After chroming and engraving the entire engine, he faced his worst fears. “I thought the engine wasn’t going to start, but it did and without any leaks,” Speedy says with a sigh of relief. This detailed approach would also apply to the next key part of Speedy’s build; the undercarriage.
Given the Caddy’s extremely high lock up, one would immediately assume that this Caddy was built to be a hopper. Instead, the 22-inch cylinders work more to showcase the flawless chromed and engraved undercarriage, which is a real attention-getter among show judges. “The only way that I’ll hop it, is if the other hopper is at the same level as mine,” says Speedy.
Extremely proud of the undercarriage, Speedy insists that after all he’s done to this award-winning Caddy; the only unfinished aspects of the build revolve around adding a bit more custom engraving. With one of the cleanest Caddys in the streets, it’s common to catch Speedy cruising his ‘94 down Crenshaw almost every weekend.
While he is very proud of his Fleetwood, Speedy insists that respects and gratitude must be extended to everybody who played a part in his dream build. He would like to thank his engraver, Miguel Chavez, who lent his skills to the project, as well as the crew at Krazy Kutting, who performed all of the sheet metal work. He also thanks his pinstripe master, Manny, Louie and Carlos of CLG, who added fiberglass and upholstery, Wiro the muralist, George of the Stylistics, his High Class club members and of course, his family.
Owner: Luis “Speedy” Rodriguez
Vehicle: ’94 Cadillac Fleetwood
City/State: Long Beach, CA
Car Club: High Class
Engine: Jose Gonzalez helped Speedy pull out the stock engine to dress it up. They started off by painting the engine block and then chromed and engraved every single piece of the engine itself.
Body/Paint: Krazy Kutting took care of all the sheet metal fabrication found on the car before Jose, of Gonzalez Body in Los Angeles, took care of the bodywork. Once the car was ready for paint, Jose painted the Organic Candy Green on the big body. George, of GM Customs, handled all of the patterns, while Manny of Los Angeles added the fine pinstripe work. Wiro, of Compton, took care of the murals found in the trunk and rear panels.
Interior: Luis and Carlos at CLG Customs in Carson masterfully put together the interior by adding bucket seats and custom fiberglass work to the center console, dash, and door panels.
Sound System: Juan, at LA Customs, installed the Alpine head unit to control the Alpine amps, which push the 12-inch Kicker speakers.
Tires: Touring Radials.
Wheels: 13-inch, chrome, engraved and anodized by G Boy’s.