Model: MJ Alvarez
Lowriding is life to Alex Rodriguez. As a product of East Los Angeles, Alex grew up just blocks from the legendary Whittier Boulevard. The memories of those early days within the culture hold fond moments for him. “I remember being a kid and going to car shows in the area like the East LA College car shows,” he explains. “My cousins and I used walk the shows, dreaming and talking about how we would build Lowriders of our own one day.”
Alex stayed true to this desire, and his first car was a 1964 Chevy Impala, which he held the keys for at the age of 15. Lowriding continues to be a part of his life to this day, as he has built and owned a number of cars and trucks over the years. A couple of years ago, Alex had completed a 1951 Chevy truck; a project he quickly sold after someone saw it at a show and made him a financial offer he couldn’t refuse. For his next project Alex wanted a Bomb, but he wanted a rare and unique model. He ultimately decided on a 1939 Chevy Opera Coupe.
After searching around for a while, he found a 1939 Chevy Business Coupe that was in pretty good condition. It was not an Opera Coupe, but since Alex had plenty of body and paint experience, he decided to convert the Business Coupe to an Opera Coupe. For those who are curious, the difference between the two cars is that the Business Coupe has the gas tank behind the front seats, while the Opera coupe has two fold down seats behind the front seats.
After performing the necessary modifications on the body, Alex sprayed a custom mixture of DuPont green onto the coupe. Nacho, from Vorteco Machine Show in East Los Angeles, freshened up the 235ci motor while Alex was prepping the body. After the paint cured and the engine was reinstalled, the coupe was off to Joe at California Upholstery for a Mohair interior and trunk kit. One thing that has stuck with Alex over the years is that any Lowrider he has built has had to sit as low as possible. Alex went to the suspension pros at Ground Control in Pomona, California. While at the shop, Joe modified the coupe by tunneling and cutting the frame three inches for a super low stance. A set of 2 1/2 inch dropped knuckles were added to the front suspension as well as an airbag set up controlled by four switches. The coupe not only sits on the ground when it’s parked, it rides a lot smoother thanks to the team at Ground Control. The final additions to the Chevy came by way of a set of 15″ Artilleries and a number of accessories like a passing mirror, driving light, and vent screens.
As with all of his other builds Alex performed the majority of the work out of his home, with the exception of a few details. Yes, you read that correctly; Alex built the car at his home, in his driveway to be more specific! Alex would like to thank his family and friends for their support during the two-year build. He would like to thank Montebello Joe, Joe Gutierrez of Whittier, California and Pelon from Chicano Oldies for their help finding the accessories for the coupe.
We here at Lowrider Magazine would like to thank Alex for sharing his story and this beautiful build with us. We found Alex and the car at its first car show in the summer of 2012, where he took the “Best of Show” honors in only the car’s first time out!
Owner: Alex Rodriguez
Vehicle: 1939 Chevy Coupe
City/State: Pomona, Ca
Paint: Alex handled paint duties at his home, prepping the body and spraying a custom mixture of green DuPont paint.
Engine: Nacho from Vorteco Machine Shop in East L.A. assembled the
235ci engine. Fenton headers and straight pipes were installed for the signature Chevy Bomb sound. Matson built a custom radiator for the coupe.
Chrome: Alberto’s Chrome & Polish
Interior: Joe from California Upholstery covered the interior in Mohair fabric.
Suspension: Ground Control in Pomona, California added a custom air bag set up. They tunneled and cut 3″ from the frame for a super low drop, while 2 ½ inch drop knuckles were installed in the front end.
Wheels: 15″ Artilleries
Tires: Firestone 15/5.60
Accessories: Driving Lamp, Fog Lights, Visor, Fender Marker, Locking Gas Cap, Vent Screens, Glare Shield, Passing Mirror
Brands: GM, Fenton, Firestone, DuPont, Matson