Building a Lowrider is not only a time-consuming process; it is also an extreme financial burden, depending on the level of build and type of car you are trying to build. An “at all costs” mentality is usually what it takes to achieve the ride of our dreams and many builders will sacrifice just about anything to get there; sometimes even food money! As an individual, that is more than acceptable, but for a family man, your wife and kids’ needs take precedence over your automotive needs. Simply put; you gotta take care of home first. As husbands and fathers, our main object in life is to provide for our families. Not only must we provide love and support, we must put food on the table and a roof over the heads of our family. Many of us have put building a Lowrider on hold while we save for our own home, and put our children through private school and or college. We want to make sure our family is set before we start our builds.
Indio, California’s Benjamin Felix is someone who understands this fully. A lifelong Lowrider, Benjamin comes from a family of Lowriders. We say lifelong because after his birth, he came home from the hospital in his father’s 1976 Glasshouse that was patterned out in Candy Purple. Over the years Benjamin has built a number of cars but as his family grew it was time for a shift in his priorities, time for change of scenery and a new direction. Benjamin knew as a father and husband he needed to make sure that he and his family would be set for the future and be able to live comfortable so he decided to move away from the Coachella Valley and go back to school. Benjamin went to college, completed his studies and obtained his college degrees. After college, he started working for a large corporation in management. Even after he moved away and was in school, he was still attending car shows and cruise nights with his family. As Benjamin put it, he was still getting his regular dose of Lowriding he just took a break from building Lowriders.
After a period of five years, Benjamin and his family moved back to Indio, California and he opened Switch Happy Automotive. With his family set and his business flourishing, it was time to finally get back into building Lowriders. Benjamin had the El Camino for a few years as a driver but it had been parked for a while with a blown motor. Benjamin and his son, Benjamin, Jr. decided that the El Camino deserved a second chance so they put a plan together to turn it in to a show stopper and an example of what Switch Happy Automotive was capable of.
While talking during the photo shoot Benjamin provided a great piece of insight; “Building a car without a deadline is just a dream. If you don’t set a goal, you will never finish the car.” With that ideology, Benjamin had given himself a year and a half to complete the build. His goal was to debut the car at the 2010 La Gente Super Show in the Imperial Valley which was held in October of 2010. The La Gente Super Show is definitely the show to break out your latest goods if you are from the surrounding areas.
The day before the show, the motor was installed and test fired. The morning of the show it was driven into the indoor area of the show. Benjamin met his goal and debuted the completed El Camino at the show. At the end of the show, Benjamin and the El Camino left with Best Paint. Since this first show, the El Camino has won over 20 best paint trophies, as well as a number of first place awards in its class.
Benjamin would like to thank his wife, Arlene, for her support and motivation during those long nights at the shop while the El Camino was being built. He would also like to thank his kids, especially his son, Lil Ben, for all his help. Another thank you goes to Benjamin’s friends, including Orlando, Indio, Angel, Snoop, Carlos, and Sam and Donald who are his brothers from Rollerz Only Valle De Coachella chapter. Benjamin also gives special thanks Mike Lamberson and Sal Elias who, along with Orlando from Perfect Kolors, gave him his award-winning paint job. We here at Lowrider Magazine would like to thank Benjamin for sharing his story and building a well thought out and well planned rolling masterpiece.
Owner: Benjamin Felix
Nick Name: 87 Y-Que
Vehicle: 1987 Chevy El Camino
Club: Rollerz Only ~ Valle De Coachella Chapter
City/State: Indio, California
Paint: Benjamin and his son, Ben Jr. took care of all the metalwork on the Elco including molding the bumpers, firewall, inner fenders and door jams while also shaving the side markers, gas lid, door handles, key holes and emblems. All seams and rivets were removed. Lore and Ben from Indio, California took care of all of the body work on the El Camino. Once the body work was done, Benjamin started with a Candy Oriental Blue base and had Orlando from Perfect Kolors in Indio California finish off the paint work with patterns throughout, including the roof and mirrors. Sal Elias from Sal’s Airbrushing in Riverside California added his murals to the body working in a theme incorporating a beautiful woman and some of the things found in the Coachella Valley. Mike Lamberson from Draggin Lines in Riverside, California added the Elco’s pinstripes.
Interior: Benjamin had recovered the interior in complimenting blue suede and vinyl fabrics while Orlando, from Perfect Kolors, in Indio, California added candy paint to the interior inserts. David Ochoa from 1 Eleven Stereo Shop in Indio, California added a JVC head unit that pushes the sounds through the Infinity speakers and Kicker woofers. All of the components are powered by Kicker amplifiers.
Engine: Benjamin rebuilt the 5.7 350ci Chevy motor at his shop Switch Happy Autoworks in Indio California. He added Jet Hot Coated Headman Headers and Flowmaster exhaust to the power plant and a number of chrome accessories. The 700R transmission is mated to a custom-built drive line.
Suspension: The hydraulic system on the El Camino was installed by Benjamin at his shop, Switch Happy Autoworks and includes two Switch Happy Pumps, 8 inch cylinders in the front and 18 inch cylinders in the back, 3 1/2 ton front and 2 1/2 ton rear springs with two engraved Delta dumps, 8 Accumax solenoids hosed and hard lined, plumbed system powered by four NAPA batteries. Santiago @ Krazy Kutting took care of all of the engraving on the hydraulic system. Upper A-arms molded, adjustable lower A-arms, 6-inch, drop downs to the rear with all chrome plating and anodizing by Switch Happy Autoworks.
Wheels: 13×7 100 Spoke Wheels with blue spokes. Engraved Knock Offs by Troy Stahler, President of Rollerz Only.
Tires: OG 5.20 Premium Sport Ways