Model: Elvida Santos
Makeup: Liza Macawili
Bikinis: Kandy Shop
Establishing yourself with a great build can be a gift and a curse. On one hand, you’ve built a car that everybody respects; on the other hand, you’ve gotta build another one to prove it wasn’t a fluke! After debuting his stunning ’57 Rag, “The Blueprint,” Andre “Dre Ghost” McGee knew that he had to come back with a car of the same caliber, and he had his work cut out for him. We first spotted the Las Vegas rider’s ’58 Chevy Impala convertible coming together a few years ago at Bowtie Connection of San Pedro, where John Kennedy and his crew worked on the classic.
With such a load of work to be done, the full frame-off restoration was a few years in the making, but it would all be worth it in the end. Thanks to Bowtie’s expert crew, the guys stripped the car after making sure that everything lined up. This build was going to be another ground up custom restoration that Bowtie Connection was known for, and everyone involved knew it would be special.
The major item on the agenda was to transplant and bolt on an LS-3 Corvette engine into the convertible. The aluminum engine and transmission were purchased through Street and Performance, as were all of the accessories that were bolted onto the engine. After wiring a few components, this engine was ready to roll. A combination of paint, chrome and engraving make this engine compartment a standout on the show circuit. Airbrushing was also used on the custom molded coil covers, for added detail. Street and Performance pulleys, brackets, and engine accessories were used to dress up the engine block. A Matson four-core radiator and Spal electric fan keep the performance engine running at cool temperatures, and the engine compartment turned out to be a walk in the park, as the Street and Performance crate engine is essentially a turn-key project.
The car’s body was actually in pretty good shape, making it easy for the Bowtie Connection Crew to get the car ready to spray a House of Kolor candy Oriental Blue finish. The body received a dash that was patterned-out in a custom finish to match the frame by Zack Felix of Felix Dezigns. The frame was also done by Zack, and featured a silver flake base accented with patterns, done in Oriental and cobalt blue, which further tied the scheme into the exterior. Finishing off the custom paint scheme were murals airbrushed by Abel Rocha of San Fernando, California, showing Biggie, 2Pac, and Tookie Williams playing poker at the Bellagio. Abel also did other subtle murals throughout the car, in places like the door panels and on the continental kit.
Since Homies Hydraulics of Paramount, California, did Dre’s last setup, they took on the job of making this rag top hop. The trunk received two pumps with a custom whammy tank and mounting plate. Once it was complete, Dre and his friend, OJ, took the setup apart and gave it a modern twist by using Hernan’s Engraving to etch in all of the extra details that they needed to have a winning setup. The setup features three Adel square dumps or hydraulic valves, which are plumbed in hard lines, and the system is powered by six batteries that were mounted on custom racks and covered with paint and murals.
While the car was still at Bowtie Connection, John had his upholstery department tackle the interior. Freddy, who made sure that all of the interior lines were matched perfectly, stitched the original-style interior up. Freddy also took care of the custom convertible top, which had to be built from scratch. Having the top match the car keeps the whole “blueprint” theme going. Interior tricks include a chrome rack (done by A1 Plating), electric windows, bench seat, Flaming Rivers tilt column, and Dakota Digital gauges. Exterior options include a Continental kit, spotlights, cruising skirts, disc brakes and engraved bumper guards by Hernan Custom Engraving.
Dre is no stranger to the pages of Lowrider, as he was quite well known after his ’57 Chevy Impala convertible was featured. The feature inspired everyone in Vegas to copy the car’s style and since it was gone, every builder of note was claiming to be “King of Vegas.” Now that the ’58 is done, Dre will just let the car do the talking and we will have to see how many feelings get hurt when they go up against this custom Vegas ragtop. For the future, Dre is already planning out “The Last Episode”—a ’59 ragtop and once he’s done, his son will be going to be taking over the throne. Only time will tell when that day will come, as Dre shows no signs of slowing down yet.
“The Blueprint 2”
Owner: Andre “Dre Ghost” McGee
Vehicle: 1958 Chevrolet, Impala convertible
City/State: North Las Vegas, NV
Club: Street Players C.C.
Engine: A Street and Performance LS-3 Corvette crate engine was hitched to a 4L60E transmission. The engine was also dressed with Street and Performance pulleys and Flowmaster exhaust.
Body/Paint: The Blueprint features a House of Kolor candy Oriental blue paint job with a silver-flaked dash and rolling chassis, done by Zack Felix of Felix Dezigns.
Interior: A leather and suede factory-style interior kit was put together by Bowtie Connection.
Sound System: An Alpine head unit controls Rockford Fosgate amplifiers and speakers, which include Alpine 10-inch subwoofers.
Setup: Two chrome pumps with a custom whammy tank reservoir with three Adel dumps and custom tubing and three Parker slowdowns.
Tires: 5.20 Premium Sportway
Wheels: 13×7 reverse Zenith wires with powdercoated wheels