They say if you love someone or in this case, something, you must let it go and if it comes back, then it’s meant to be. Nathan Martinez of Fresno, California, knows this all too well. For Nathan, that love came to him in the form of this ’56 Chevy Bel-Air wagon, a labor of love for the dedicated Lowrider. “This is the only lowrider that I’ve had throughout the years,” explains Nathan. The car was originally purchased from Nathan’s friend, Jaime, of Orange Cove, California, who had the car sitting for years. The potential was too much for Nathan to resist, so he began working on the car soon after he bought it. “The car was primered when I got it, but I ended up painting it Aztec Gold and added some Tru Spokes.” Unfortunately for Nathan, he ended up wrecking it and was forced to sell it to his brother-in-law, a move he ultimately regretted. Fifteen years later at a family reunion, Nathan found out that his brother-in-law was selling the wagon. Nathan seized the opportunity and got it back.
The newly reacquired car had a new paintjob, so Nathan decided to reupholster it. This would also prove to be a move that Nathan ultimately regretted. “The car still wasn’t right to me so I had to redo the whole car,” he laments. The build took Nathan 10 years as he was unable to foresee all the road bumps that were going to get in the way of finishing it. One of those road bumps included getting a divorce. “The car sat in the garage for three years without being touched,” he says. Since then, he has remarried and his new wife, Christina, was the one who pushed him to partner up with his son, Nathan Jr. to finish the car. “She told me that I had to get it done because it was something that I loved and that’s just one of the reasons that I love her,” says Nathan with a smile.
Owner: Nathan Martinez
Vehicle: 1956 Chevrolet Bel-Air Wagon
City/State: Fresno, CA
Club: Old Times
Engine: 350 turbo, Edelbrock carburetor and intake, K&N billet air filter, Bosch sparkplugs, Champion wires, Duralast battery
Body/Paint: Juan Vargas, of SK Auto Body in Selma, CA, used House of Kolors Candy Brandywine and Ice Pearl Flake to paint the wagon and he finished it off with some pinstripes. Dragon, of Fresno, CA, added the murals of the two clowns on the air cooler. Chrome by Robert of Moreno’s Metal Polishing in Fresno, CA
Interior: Old Man Carlos, of Fresno, CA, used vinyl and tweed.
Sound System: Halos, of Monster Tint, was called in again to install the stereo system that included screens on the visors, 900-watt Kicker amps and four JL Audio tens.
Setup: Halos of Monster Tint in Fresno, CA installed the airbag setup.