Falling in love with the lowrider lifestyle is almost a certainty when your whole family participates in the culture. Don’t take our word for it though, just ask Matias “JR” Zamora of Santa Ana, CA. “All my cousins and uncles were lowriding and I grew into it,” he explains. For the most part, they had street rides and would only go to local car shows but later on, they joined Uniques car club and started traveling to bigger shows. Most of them have since started families and aren’t really lowriding anymore.”
Matias’ father never had a lowrider, but he was a fan of old school Chevys and despite his love for the Bowtie, he bought Matias a ’79 Olds when he was sixteen years old. “My dad bought it from an old lady in Costa Mesa, California. By the time I was eighteen, it was all customized with a custom trunk, interior, graphics and hydraulics. I had everything except a chrome engine and undercarriage,” says a proud Mathias. The car was called “Thee Joker” and it was well known in Santa Ana. One of his friends came by to visit with another friend who ended up taking a liking to the Oldsmobile. After awhile, Matias ended up selling it to him. The car served as a stepping-stone in his lowriding career, and while Matias had several other cars, he never had one that quite satisfied him like that Oldsmobile.
It was during the build of a ’70 Monte Carlo that his spark would return. While going to the Long Beach Swap meet to find parts for it, he spotted his dream car, a ’59 Impala. “It didn’t have an engine, tranny, or interior but everything else was complete and I got it for a really cheap price,” he says of that fateful day. “At the time, I was still living at my mom’s house where the garage could only fit one car, so I ended up having to let the Monte Carlo go, but not before taking the engine and transmission out of it.” His intentions were to transform the ’59 into a clean street ride with hydraulics. The one car garage became hazardous, and before he knew it, the car had dings and scratches from the kids pulling out their bikes and skateboards from around the car. This forced Matias to repaint it, which ultimately defined the project. He took it to M&M and wanted a two-tone stock paintjob, but once he started talking to Mario Martinez who showed him some different patterns and styles; he was convinced that the Impala deserved a more modern style. “I like custom interiors, but I felt that with Impalas and Bel Airs, you can’t go wrong with a stock look.” Still, the gamble paid off, and after paint and chrome, Matias ended up with the gorgeous ’59 pictured here.
Since our photo shoot with the car, Matias has added a few changes, but he feels that the project is complete and is ready to move on to the next one. “I’m not sure what it will be; all I know is that it will be an Impala,” he says with a smile. Matias would like to extend his gratitude towards everyone who helped him with the build.
Owner: Matias “JR” Zamora
Vehicle: 1959 Chevy Impala
City/State: Santa Ana, CA
Club: Klique OC
Engine: Tomas Ruelas of Tommy’s Customs in Santa Ana, CA, installed the 350 motor with TH 350 transmission, Flowmaster exhaust, Hedmen headers, Holley air filter, Edelbrock intake, Billet Specialties brake cylinder cap, custom serpentine belt by Santa Ana Speed Shop, Taylor short boot 8mm, Interstate battery, Accel sparkplugs and four row, dual core Champion Radiators.
Body/Paint: Mario Martinez of M&M Auto Center in Rialto, CA, used PPG metallic money green paint to paint it before he patterned the trunk, hood, roof and dash. Mike Lamberson of Dragon Lines in Riverside, CA, stripped it. Peter Tapia of Anaheim Plating in Anaheim, CA, took care of chroming the undercarriage while New Year Metal Finishing in Santa Ana, CA, did the rest.
Interior: B&B Classics in Upland, CA, used the original pattern with a custom color for theinterior.
Sound System: Albert and Caesar of OC Auto Sound in Santa Ana, CA, installed the double DIN Alpine deck and Phoenix Gold amps and speakers.
Setup: Miguel Martinez of AMC Customs in Riverside, CA, installed the Hoppos gravity fed pumps, also a single Adex, two Deltas, six Accurates, and six deep cycle Trojan batteries were used. A-arms were laser cut and molded, rear control arms were molded, upgraded to disk brakes, slotted rotors, Y-Bone, 605-gear box.
Tires: 5.20s Premium Sportways
Wheels: 72-spoke Dayton’s with Zenith knockoffs