Growing up in the Lowrider scene gave Ralph Garcia of Stockton, CA., a first-hand glimpse of the culture that would one day envelope his life. “My dad had a Grand Prix back when San Jose used to be the place to cruise in the ‘70s,” explains Ralph. Some of his earliest memories include being on Story and King during its peak with his parents, and seeing the culture thrive right before his own eyes. While he had the heart, as a teenager, Ralph never had the money to pay the entry fee for car shows, so he and his friends would show up anyway just to cruise after the show. It was a fun time in his life and Ralph began to grow up just as fast as the cars that cruised the Boulevards of his San Jose stomping grounds.
Once grown, Ralph purchased a 1966 Impala hardtop and was approached by a San Jose member of Impalas Car Club to join. Unfortunately for Ralph, two days after he was approached, he found himself in prison and never got the chance to hook up with the Impalas Car Club. His stint behind bars gave Ralph a better perspective on life, and after he got out, he put his life back together and bought himself a house in Stockton. Ralph was also able to purchase a ’66 Impala convertible off of Ebay from a listing in Ohio. The car was in good condition except for the frame, but that didn’t stop an excited Ralph from cruising it like that for a while. Reconnecting with his Lowrider aspirations was a must for Ralph and he happily began his Lowrider career anew.
As time went by, one of Ralph’s friends knew Frank of the Impalas Stockton chapter. The association connected him with the car club that had reached out to him a few years earlier. “During a Christmas party, Victor Charles with “Fortune Teller,” Mickey aka Cupcake with a ’63 convertible, and myself made a bet,” Ralph says with a smile. The bet became a challenge that if Victor did a frame off restoration with his newly acquired ’62, then Mickey and Ralph would also have to do the same with their convertibles. “Back then, I just thought it was all talk and didn’t believe them,” says Ralph. Unfortunately for him, they weren’t kidding as Mickey started his frame off first with Victor following. “I had to be a man of my word and stick to it,” he says with a smile. Tirelessly, Ralph worked on the build every chance he had. “You have to stick to it until it’s done or else you will lose interest in it,” warns Ralph, who has seen others stop on their build and never finish.
Ralph would like to thank his wife for putting up with him on all those long nights when he was working on his car. “Building a car is the closest thing to a divorce that you will ever get, since you are sucking the financial well dry and using up all your time somewhere else.”
Owner: Ralph Garcia
Vehicle: 1966 Impala Convertible
City/State: Stockton, CA
Engine: The stock 283 was painted to look like it came fresh out of a dealership. Ralph is planning on chroming and engraving most of his engine soon.
Body/Paint: David Garcia took care of the convertible’s bodywork and sprayed the DuPont White paint, while Alberto Herrera of Visalia, CA., added the murals found on the car’s skirts.
Interior: Rojas Upholstery out of Stockton, CA., stitched up the red interior.
Sound System: Chris, from Stockton, installed the Arc Audio speakers and amps
Setup: Ralph took it upon himself to install the Air-Ride Technology set up in the trunk of his car.
Tires: 155/80 Remingtons.
Wheels: Zenith 72 Crosslace.