Determination is the key ingredient for all Lowriders. Be it financial obstacles or mechanical obstacles, Lowriders are forever hurdling something to make it to the finish line with their builds. Thirty-six year old Carlos Cruz of Hollywood, Florida is no stranger to dedication, and thus is no stranger to recognition, either. When he puts his mind to building a top quality show car, he succeeds. In February of 2008, his ‘59 Impala “The Boss” graced the fine pages of LRM and Carlos is back at it with his second attempt. As a pioneer in the Lowrider movement in the ‘90’s, Carlos had always wanted a ‘64 Impala. The car is considered by many to be a seminal model in the culture, and Carlos was ever so determined to get the keys to one. Driving through Miami, he found a bright yellow 1964 Chevy Impala SS sitting in weeds almost as tall as the vehicle. After the third time passing it and numerous conversations, he and his father agreed that it would be a good investment. They placed their phone number on the windshield and waited for three weeks for the callback that finally came, and when it did, the duo quickly took ownership within days.
Since he was still in high school, Carlos had a list of priorities that superseded fixing up a vehicle, but the reminder sitting in the garage ensured that his schoolwork was done first. Whenever his homework was completed, an eager Carlos spent hours on end staring at the car and envisioning the perfect Lowrider. Finally, it was time to get started, and Carlos and his dad brought the Impala to TEC Customs in Opa Locka, Florida for the body work. Over the course of the next two years, the Chevy was completely restored; removing all of the car’s rust and replacing the metal, glass, hood, trunk, and doors left this ’64 looking less like it had been parked in weeds and more like it had been parked in a showroom. “Red” laid down a House of Kolor Kandy Red paint job along with a white pearl top. Carlos scoured the internet and started buying up the necessary chrome pieces and trim for when the vehicle arrived back home.
As eager as he was to drive the classic Chevy, he was just as eager to learn about it as well, taking matters into his own hands by adding the chrome and trim himself. This learning process was supervised by his father, and Carlos and his dad had a great time assembling the Chevy’s details. Once he had completed his tasks, Carlos sent the Impala off to Kenny’s Upholstery in Hallandale Beach, Florida, where the staff removed all the ripped and torn materials and brought the interior back to life using a combination of beige tweed and vinyl. Where most people would be satisfied with the level of completion, Carlos was not. The next step was completing the suspension.
James McHugh of McHugh’s Auto Body took the Impala from streetcar to show car by adding a four-pump, four-dump CCE hydraulic setup and notching the frame for the drive shaft. Still not satisfied, Carlos had master painter Keoni Teixiera from Sunrise, Florida add three shades of House Of Kolor patterns and gold leafing that flows throughout the body and even on the new set of Dayton Wire Wheels! The top was repainted in a tan pearl and pin stripes were added to accentuate the paint.
The result of all the combined hard work was well worth the journey. As one of the longest owned custom vehicles in South Florida, Carlos has a lot to be proud of. “I want to thank my father, Jose, my good friends Martian, Keoni, Lyzette, Luis, Tom and James for helping me to bring my dream to life,” Carlos tells LRM. As a member of 25th Street Riders, Carlos’ Impala certainly maintains the excellence required by the fast rising club. With two exceptional builds under his belt, there is no telling what boundaries he will push with his next..
Owner: Carlos Cruz
Vehicle: ‘64 Chevrolet Impala SS
City/State: Hollywood, Florida
Club: 25th Street Riders C.C.
Paint: “Red” from TEC Customs and Keoni Teixiera tag-teamed the design on the Impala, adding a House of Kolor Kandy Red coating with a tan pearl top along with House of Kolor Kandy Apple Red, Scarlett Kandy and Cherry Designer Pearl graphics and designs. Keoni laid out some pinstriping and gold-leafing throughout the foundation.
Engine: The stock V8 327-c.i.d. was overhauled by Leo Anaya in Hollywood, Florida. Action Plating in Hialeah, Florida chromed everything in the engine bay and an Edelbrock four-barrel carburetor was added.
Interior: Kenny’s Upholstery in Hallandale Beach, Florida removed the original threads and replaced them with full custom beige tweed and vinyl materials that loop through the dashboard, the entire cabin, and trunk.
Suspension: James McHugh of McHugh’s Auto Body in Hollywood, Florida handled the lift, installing a full four-pump, four-dump CCE hydraulic setup. 8-inch CCE cylinders to the front and 10-inch cylinders to the rear raise the Impala. Six group 24 batteries ensure the heavy frame can pull off every move from the six-switch plate mounted on the dashboard.
Wheels: 100-spoke 13×7 Dayton Wire Wheels painted and leafed to match.
Tires: P175/70R13 Cornell rubber.