For most of us, our lowriding influence can typically be traced to a particular Lowrider magazine article we read or a certain vehicle we may have seen cruising down the local boulevard. For Leo Caldera of Tiempo C.C. in Las Vegas, Nevada, it was one person in particular who provided such influence. While growing up, he often found himself helping his brother and uncles with their respective builds, but it was his cousin, Rudy Medina, who would provide a life-changing influence that still sticks with Leo to this day. The Chevy pickup truck Rudy Medina owned would eventually serve as the inspiration for Leo to build this frame-off ’49 Thrift Master Chevy pickup.
Eight years ago, Leo finally found a ’49 Chevy truck worthy enough for a build of this magnitude. As with most projects, the first step in the vehicle’s transformation was to bring the straight-six 235 engine back to life. Leo opted to keep everything original; the engine was completely overhauled and after the accessories were painted and detailed, the heart and soul of the vehicle remained intact and was finally in place. Unlike many trucks in this genre, Rudy did not want to make it into a Hot Rod-style build or even a Custom Rod low-low. “I wanted to keep mine as original as possible,” Rudy explains with pride. While the truck was mostly complete, he turned to Brothers for the additional parts he could not find. The entire vehicle’s moldings and trim pieces were then sent to The Chrome Shop, where they would be polished and chromed-out, along with all the rest of the metal work found throughout the pick up.
With the project in full swing, the Chevy was sent off to California Auto Body. Once there, Miguel would create a one-of-a-kind color, using a unique blend of Denim Pastel blue along with blue-gray paint mixtures. With the vehicle’s unique paint scheme in place, it was time for Wizard, of Wizard Custom, to cut and sew the Cyan Blue cloth interior, contrasting this Chevy’s unique color. After the original Firestone whitewalls were mounted and the wood grain floors and railings were installed, the only thing left for Leo to do was to cruise the infamous Las Vegas Boulevard.
Sadly, Leo’s cousin and inspiration, Rudy, passed away shortly before the project was completed. His family however, knowing the importance of Rudy’s influence, donated some of the original parts of Rudy’s Chevy truck to be included in Leo’s project. While Leo would like to thank both his brother and his cousin Rudy for introducing him to the lifestyle of lowriding, he owes an even greater debt of gratitude elsewhere. “I owe a bigger thank you to my wife, Amy, and our four kids for being supportive throughout this extensive project,” says a grateful Leo.
Owner: Leo Caldera
Vehicle: 1949 Chevy Thrift Master
City/State: Las Vegas, Nevada
Club: Tiempo Car Club
Engine: Original straight-6 235 with Fenton headers
Body/Paint: Custom Denim Pastel blue and blue-gray paint mixture.
Interior: Cyan blue cloth bench seat by Wizard of Wizard Custom.
Sound System: Alpine head unit with Alpine mids and highs.
Tires: 5 ’70-15 Firestone wide whitewalls
Wheels: 15-inch Artillery wheels.