Diamonds are forever,’ and nothing solidifies the Impala’s permanent place in automotive history like a 1961 Impala Convertible. When Al Cortez set out to make his mark on the pages of lowrider history, in his mind there was no other logical choice than a ‘61. “When it comes to building a lowrider, nothing represents that more than an Impala. Out of all the Impalas, a ‘61 stands out from all the rest. It had a major impact in American muscle car history. It gave birth to the Super Sport and was the start of the big engines, like the 409, making it a true American icon. So when the idea of making ‘Game Killa’ came to mind, I knew it had to be a six-one,” says Al with a grin. Al was right, and he had his work cut out for him to not only do justice to the ’61 but also to build himself a true diamond in the rough.
While some builders use flake to make their car sparkle, Al had a completely different approach; scattered throughout the car are thousands of real diamonds covering the continental kit, engine bay, under carriage, trunk and side moldings! These aren’t your average run of the mill diamonds, either. “The diamonds are laboratory cultured under high pressure and heat. That creates a dazzling clarity not found in your average natural stones,” Al explains. “The only difference between cultured diamonds and the natural diamonds is that the Game Killa’s cultured diamonds are flawless!”
With such an extravagant idea, the rest of the car had to follow suit, and the money didn’t stop flowing with the rocks as no expense was spared when it came to the rest of the build. “Jessie Marquez, owner of Custom Lowz, was selected to build Game Killa. He was willing to take on this project when other builders simply felt that is was impossible. With more than 20 years in the game, Jessie is considered to be one of the most underrated car builders in California. Al’s grandiose idea is the culmination of a lifetime of dreaming about building the most unique car possible. “I think we all have all done that one time or another,” Al says. “On those days where you and your buddies sit around and fantasize about building the ultimate Lowrider if time and money were not obstacles. That’s how I approached it; I was patient and held nothing back when it came to building this car.” Al isn’t kidding, either, after seven years and about $300,000, Al insists that the build is still not over. “This car is truly one man’s dream come true and is a true contender among the top Lowriders in the game,” Al says with confidence.
From front to back, it’s apparent where that high price figure comes from. “David the Master Engraver was selected for his fine, detailed approach of engraving in this project,” the proud owner says. “The engine is hard lined with a 350 motor and a one-of-a-kind custom carburetor filter cover by Seven St. Inc. For a theme, Joe Montano, from Oxnard, created a masterpiece of a mural in the trunk that tells a story of two worlds struggling in a battle between good and evil on judgment day,” says Al. From the looks of it, either outcome is a win if the demons and angels resemble those ladies. To top it all off, a Gator-skinned ragtop seals the deal.
This six-one truly is a childhood dream come to life. Now that it’s all over, Al has ensured his page in the history book of Lowrider. “This car is from the streets and for the streets, and I’m hoping it will go down in the history books as one of the best,” he says. Al sends his special thanks to Jessie Marquez from Custom Lowz, David the Master Engraver, Speedy from High Class, Zenith California Wheels, Joe Montano, Jagster, Seven St. Inc., Jose and Mario Martinez (Lethal Weapon), his Klique Family, Tony from Dream On , Elite C.C., Jeff from Icee Fresh, Tiffany Co. Jewelry and everyone that lives and dies by the switch.
Owner: Al Cortez
Vehicle: 1961 Chevy Impala Convertible
City/State: Oxnard, CA
Engine: Hard lined 350 Chevy, custom carburetor filter cover by Seven St. Inc. with a custom serpentine system, built by Jessie Marquez of Custom Lowz.
Body/Paint: Jessie Marquez from Custom Lowz gave the car its paint combination with the trunk Mural that was completed by Joe Montano.
Setup: Hard lined, gravity-fed custom Pesco style pumps by AH2, with four-square dumps to cap off the hydraulic setup.
Interior: Jessie Marquez, of Custom Lowz, installed a twin console with switches in the front and back, custom LED floors and door panels.
Wheels: Engraved 13×7 Zenith Wire Wheels.