Lowriding is not just about cars, it’s also about family. It’s a tradition that can be passed from one generation to the next, from father to son to grandson. This is a custom that Ernesto “Lil Ernie” Acosta, now proud owner of this classic 1954 Chevy station wagon, is very familiar with. Ernie’s grandfather, Hector, bought the wagon in 1980, and passed it to his son, Hugo, who then passed it to his son Ernesto in 2014. In the late ’80s to early ’90s, Ernie’s dad had been working on building the wagon. He took it to car shows, the Pomona swap meet, and cruising on Hollywood Boulevard. In 1993, Hugo took the car to a LOWRIDER magazine super show with Lil Ernie in tow. Later that same year he crashed it and decided to rebuild it.
After the car accident, as far as Ernie could remember, the wagon was primered gray with rust on the tailgate, no motor or transmission, and in pieces. His dad would have to push the car and have Ernie steer it in order to move it. They first removed the Chevy 350 motor and installed a Chevy 250 straight-six with a 350 transmission. The motor and transmission did not fit, so they had to get mounts made and replace the original fan with an electric one. Even with all the modifications they barely fit, yet they got the car up and running in late 2007 to early 2008. Hugo then left to Texas with the wagon. While he was there, he got the body and paint finished by Braulio Rodriguez from El Paso.
Ernie could not wait to have the wagon passed onto him as his grandfather did to his dad. But when Ernie turned 17, he figured that his dad was never going to give it to him, so he decided to buy his first car: a primered 1970 Impala. Over the years Ernie had been working very hard and saved up enough money to start building his impala, but in 2014 at a Stylistics meeting, his dad surprised him with the wagon for his 21st birthday. Ernie was determined to keep the tradition alive and see the wagon cruising back on the streets, so he decided to put his Impala on hold and pour all the money into the station wagon.
Before passing the wagon to Ernie, his dad took off the hydraulics and welded all the holes for the cylinders. So the first thing that Ernie did was take it to Rick from Low Life Hydraulics to get it cut for hydraulics again. Then he took it to Efrain Arellano at Ridin Dirty Upholstery to finish the interior. Ernie had to redo all the chrome and stainless steel from the ’90s and decided to chrome the front suspension as well. Once everything was done, the challenge was putting the wagon back together again. Ernie needed some help so he asked his mom who helped him install the grille and bumpers. His club brothers—Jose, Jr., Anthony, and Chetes—helped him assemble the suspension. Anthony, Chetes, and Rudy also helped Ernie attach the back window and reassemble the back brakes.
Ernie finally had his lowrider, just like his Stylistics club brothers who he always looked up to. He enjoys hitting the streets and taking the wagon for a cruise, just like his dad did back in the ’80s and ’90s. You can see Ernie cruising on Sundays heading to Crenshaw, or on Broadway and 132nd Street representing Stylistics Los Angeles. His next project will be to finish his 1970 Impala.
Ernie would like to thank his mother, Margarita Vallejo, for helping him late at night, his grandpa Hector Acosta, and his dad Hugo Acosta for passing the wagon down to him. He would also like to thank to his club brothers Robert, George, Roger, Dave, and Tony for all their advice, not only on lowriding but on life.
1954 Chevrolet Station Wagon
“Old ‘N’ Kicking it”
Ernesto “Lil Ernie” Acosta
Stylistics Los Angeles
1970 Chevy 250
Bodywork & Paint
two pumps, two dumps, two switches front and back, three batteries installed by Rick from Low Life Hydraulics
Stock/crossbars 15×5, Coker 5.60s
Stock interior with Original-style vinyl upholstery done by Efrain Arellano from Ridin Dirty Upholstery