The early 1970s is considered by many to be the inception period of the culture we all know and love, Lowriding. This was also an important time in the life of Tony Valadez for that very reason. He was there in the beginning, growing up in Orange County and feeling the urge to ride slow and low. He hung out with the older guys in his neighborhood, who would take him along to cruise all of the hot spots in Orange County. Tony and his group of friends would cruise Santa Ana, Anaheim, Stanton, and Buena Park, and on Sunday nights, they even ventured out of Orange County to cruise the legendary Whittier Boulevard in East Los Angeles with the masses of Lowrider enthusiasts.
As he got older, Tony dreamed of owning his own Lowrider, so he decided to make that dream a reality by dedicating a whole summer to working and saving up enough money to buy one. Sure enough, he bought a 1958 Chevy Impala and immediately lowered it and put on some Astro Supremes. Tony cruised in the ‘58 for a couple of years before he sold it to buy a 1961 Chevy Impala, which also rode on Astro Supremes. After high school, he sold the ‘61 and bought a 1973 Impala, but this time, Tony installed Cragars on this car.
In the mid-1970s, Tony met his first wife, and started a family. Around the same time, Tony’s friend, Jerry Palomino, told him about a 1947 Chevy Fleetline that he saw for sale near the freeway in Corona, California. Intrigued, the duo drove out to find the owner, and Tony ended up buying the car from him. The ’47 was complete and in stock condition, and since Tony deemed it worthy of an amazing restoration, he decided to sell off his ’73 Impala to get the money he needed to make it happen. With a child on the way, Tony had to put the build on hold, although he was able to transform the car into a personalized daily driver with rims and a lowering job in the meantime. After the birth of his son, the cost of raising a family took a priority over building the Fleetline, and Tony realized that he would have to sell it. Although he regretted letting it go, his growing family was his priority, and Tony made the necessary sacrifice.
As the years went by, Tony’s first marriage dissolved. Eventually, Tony remarried and around the same time, he started to look for another Bomb. He found a 1954 Chevy which he loved, but right before he was about to commit to buying it, he backed out as he had his heart set on building another ‘47 Fleetline.
The search for another Fleetline was on, and Tony searched swap meets, car shows, and online with no luck. His search discouraged him, but Tony pressed on, finally finding one about four years ago. Henry, from Old Memories SGV, had a black 1947 Chevy Fleetline for sale. An excited Tony bought the car immediately, lowered it, and put some fog lights on it as well. Within a month, Tony’s Fleetline was in good shape, and he took it to a show, where he met two guys who also had Fleetlines. The two men turned out to be Jim Ramsey and Bob Morgan, proud members of the HB Gabachos Car Club. Jim and Bob told Tony about the club and invited him to roll with them to shows. After a couple of months with the HB Gabachos, he knew he had to step his game up to be at the same level of his fellow club members.
Tony started to redo the car, setting a reasonable goal of working on one major item per year. During the first year, Tony had all of the car’s chrome parts refinished and shined up. The following year, he redid the interior, and in the years after that, the air bags and engine compartment were redone. In 2011, Tony began acquiring all of the rare accessories for the Fleetline; a difficult but necessary task for all Bomb collectors.
Tony’s wife, Doreen, jokingly named the Fleetline “Morticia” after a conversation they had one night after Tony had been in the garage working on the car. She commented to Tony that the car had become his girlfriend, since he spent more time with it than her. The only “Morticia” that Tony knew of was the character from the television show, “The Addams Family.” On the show, Morticia was always dressed in black and was sexy, just like the Fleetline, so the name stuck.
Reviewing his car on paper for this feature opened up the floodgates to a lot of Tony’s Lowrider memories, and he is humbled to think about how much Lowriding has meant to his life. Although he sold his first Fleetline and took time off from Lowriding to raise a family, the decision to buy and restore this one gave him the feeling that he had never left. In fact, he just picked up right where he left off; cruising the streets of Orange County, California.
Owner: Tony Valadez
Vehicle: 1947 Chevy Fleetline Aerosedan
Club: HB Gabachos
City/State: Garden Grove, CA
Paint: Henry Acensio from Henry’s Custom Body & Paint in Garden Grove, CA., sprayed the Black Lacquer.
Interior: Jesse Flores, from Flores Upholstery in San Pedro, CA., added the Hampton Coach Kit.
Audio: Tony installed the Alpine Audio System by himself.
Engine: 1954 Chevy 235c.i.d with Dual Carbs, Fenton Intake Manifold, and Wayne Valve Cover.
Transmission: Three-Speed Chevy.
Exhaust: Dual Straight Piped Exhaust with Glasspacks.
Suspension: Laid Out Kustomz in El Monte, CA., added the Air Bag set up.
Chrome: All of the vehicle’s chrome plating was done by Sam Barragan, from Buena Park Chrome, in Buena Park, CA.
Wheels: 16-inch Artillery Wheels.
Tires: BF Goodrich 16-inch Silvertowns.
Accessories: Dual Visor, Lighted Vanity Mirror, GM Fan, Tissue Dispenser, Sherill Compass, Turn Signals, Gold Mirror, Cat Eye Lighter, Banjo Steering Wheel, Red Head Flashlight and Hat Holder.