Car culture is an acquired lifestyle. Much like anything in life, we’re introduced to different cultures and it’s up to us to decide whether we like it or not—and lowriding is no different. Regardless of whether you low-ride, hot-rod, or do the import thing, each discipline of car culture has something that draws in each of its participants. In the same breath you will hear many who talk in a very general sense. These are the folks who talk about growing up in the scene with hardly any details; on the flip side you’ve got your guys who remember exactly what part of the culture drew them in. Well, Joel Bouche is part of the latter group. He’ll tell you how he learned about lowriding from being around the scene, but his memory gets specific as he says, “I remember rolling in my uncle’s 1970 Impala. We used to roll through the streets of Dallas/Fort Worth and I knew right then and there that this lifestyle was for me.”
While the memory of his uncle’s Impala is specific, he understands that his uncle’s Impala sparked his interest in lowriding, but it was a Cadillac that stole his heart. “I’ve been in love with the Cadillac brand as far back as I can remember. To me a Cadillac represents wealth and accomplishment and I was able to purchase my first Cadillac coupe at the age of 16, but unfortunately that Cadillac only lasted me about a year because I got side-swiped one day while on the way home.”
Fast-forward to present day and his Cadillac is no joke. But it didn’t start this way. While the car of choice for most builders is a stock vehicle, this Cadillac was far from stock when he first bought it. He purchased the 1984 Cadillac for $1,500 and he knew that he had his work cut out for him. “The Caddy must have been a very old build because the trunk was suicide hinged, and the back seat was removed in exchange for a wall of speakers. To add to that, the hydros were barley working and the quarter-panels were buckled.” As he reminisces about the purchase, he looks back intensely and comes back saying, “Yup. I had pretty much purchased a true P.O.S., but that didn’t stop me from knocking the ugly off of it and transforming the car to what you see today.”
To begin the overhaul, he first had the trunk removed and the hinges redone to open the proper way. Following that, he ripped out the wall of speakers and installed a new backseat and then did a face-lift to give it a more modern, ’90s appeal. Soon thereafter, he had the body worked on, ironed out all the kinks, and basically had the ugly removed just to get it prepped for paint—and as with most builds this is where the story gets interesting. “The car was shipped to L Customs in Fort Worth for a what was supposed to be a three-month paintjob.
Unfortunately three months turned into a two-year wait, but looking back it wasn’t so bad. While the car was at the paint shop I was able to pay off my paintjob in payments and got two years of FREE storage. After it all I can honestly say it was well worth the wait. Luis layed down a flawless Burgundy Wine paintjob.”
Soon after getting the car back home from its two-year vacation, the car quickly became a driveway decoration. “The car came with the unpopular 4100 engine, which gave me all kinds of hell. After listening and paying three different mechanics who claimed they would get the 4100 back to good running condition, I took my losses and pulled the motor out myself! With the help of many friends and lots of YouTube videos I installed a Chevy 327 with a turbo transmission. Two carburetors and three transmissions later the car was back on the streets.”
With the car finally dialed in, it was time to get the final touches done. Lokey and Tanner layed the pinstriping and gold/silver leafing, which helped finalize and complete the paintjob. But during the build, it was almost as if the law of attraction came into play, as he was approached by Rey Herrera of GoodTimes Car Club. He was invited to one of their club meetings just to see if he would be interested in joining the GoodTimes familia, and after meeting the crew and getting the rules and guidelines, he was in. Now, a part of the family, one would think it was all smiles and laughter, but this added some additional pressure to Joel. “I knew my car needed more upgrades to be able to get my plaque, and that became my number one mission. That meant my undercarriage had to be fully chrome, so I got J.B. Chroming out of Fort Worth to chrome whatever I was able to remove from front to back. While everything was at the chrome shop I also took it upon myself to paint the frame and belly, have the Caddy reupholstered, and I also redid the hydro on the car, which was not easy, but after much research I was able to reinforce the stress points and get the front, back, and side to side working like it should.”
In all, the car took three years to build but it’s hard to say if it’s even done. While the car would be considered perfect to many, Joel still continues to do whatever upgrades he can and sums it up best when he says: “Lowriding is a never-ending game that comes with its good and bad times, but at the end of the day you get to see your hard work pay off, and there are NO REGRETS.”
In closing he would like to thank his wife, Veronica, his daughters, Sidney, Britney, and Journey for always being there to lend a helping. And no shout-out would be complete with out mentioning GoodTimes familia for their motivation and support.
1984 Cadillac Fleetwood
327 with shorty headers
Axalta Burgundy Wine with gold, black, and silver patterns
Two basic Hoppo’s pumps with four dumps and eight group 31 batteries
Red vinyl and suede seats
Pyle head unit and mid speakers
13×7 Zenith with Milestone tires