When you’re surrounded by uncles and cousins that are into lowriding you can’t help but catch the bug, and this is exactly what happened to Richard Lopez of Reno, Nevada. As with most kids, they never really begin to understand the influence their family has on them and for Richard, the final confirmation of their influence came when he purchased his first car. After years of toying with model cars and bicycles it was time for Richard to pick up his first ride. So at 17 years of age he opted for a ’70 Impala.
As with most kids that are 17 years old, your dreams tend to be bigger than your budget but that still didn’t slow Richard down. With the little money he saved from side jobs working with his dad, his first priority was a set of wire wheels. Once the wheels were installed he primered the car and hit the streets. Since then, the rest is history and the bug has never left as Richard has owned 26 classic cars. He further explains, “I bought and sold many of them in order to get the ones I wanted.” Ultimately, his goal was to have a Bubble Top and he now proudly owns two—one of which was featured in the August 2010 issue of Lowrider and the other, which is still under construction.
Ask any lowrider enthusiast and they’ll be sure to tell you that the one thing harder than tracking rare parts is dealing with a nagging wife so as the old adage goes, “A happy wife means a happy life,” and Richard was sure to give his wife the gift that’ll keep on giving. That gift? A ’65 Impala. “My wife has always supported me with building cars” says Richard. He adds, “I felt that it was time that I did something for her so I bought the car and brought it home as a surprise for her.”
The Impala, which was purchased from his boss, was treated to a full restoration and after spending nearly a year tracking down all the parts required for the re-up, he began the restoration himself in the garage. “I work fulltime so everyday after work and on the weekends I would work on the car. But when the kids played sports, I skip those weekend,” says Richard. In all, the build took eight months to complete and he’d not only like to thank his wife and kids for the support but also Bowtie Classics out of Lincoln, California.
In closing, this car truly is a blessing in disguise and it pays homage not only to his uncles and cousins that influenced his drive to build lowriders but also his immediate family for supporting his passion. Richard would also like to extend a dedication to his good friend, Paul Davis of Bowtie Classics, who passed away last year.
“Mrs. ’65 Impala”
Owner: Denise Lopez
Vehicle: 1965 Chevrolet Impala
City/State: Reno, Nevada
Engine: John Figoni of Figoni Racing in Reno, NV, installed the 383-stroker engine from a ’98 Chevy with a 350 transmission. Street Fighter TCI, Edelbrock 600 CFM carburetor & intake, GM Performance valve covers, March Performance Pulleys serpentine system & air cleaner, MSD electronic ignition, Optima red top battery, Billet Specialties wire loom/oil pan/transmission pan, BeCool three core polished radiator, Flex-A-Lite cooling fan.
Body/Paint: Richard Lopez of Lopez Brothers in Reno, NV, did the bodywork and sprayed the Spies Hecker dark brahma jewel paint on it and let Armando Serrano of Psychotic Customs lay multicolor candy and pearl patters on top, he also pinstriped it and added the day of the dead mural.
Interior: Once the I Did It steering column, Billet Specialty steering wheel and Dakota Digital gauges were installed, Bob Ketner of Bobs Custom Upholstery in Reno, NV, stepped in and took care of stitching together the leather interior with suede headliner.
Sound System: Richard of Lopez Brothers in Reno, NV, installed the all-Alpine sound system.
Tires: Firestone 155/80/13
Wheels: 13×7-inch cross lace Zenith