Nightmares… we’ve all had them, some recurring, and they’re never fun. Webster’s defines nightmare as, “a frightening dream, often accompanied by a feeling of oppression and helplessness.” No definition could more accurately describe what 29-year-old Angelo Salazar went through to complete this full-custom ’68 Chevy Impala. “It just seemed like the car didn’t want to get built,” says Angelo, who is also president and founder of Big Time Car Club in Denver, Colorado. “It was one nightmare after another.” That’s why he named his flip-front-end fastback “Nightmares,” the end result of six years of bad dreams for him.

It all started when Angelo bought the stock Impala for $3,000. Like any good builder, he took the car down to the frame in the beginning and from that point on he encountered nothing but problems. “Everything that could go wrong went wrong… everything,” notes Angelo. So, he began to feel that it would never end. “The car sat for more than three years because there was so much money already tied up in it and I was only halfway done.” That’s when he hooked up with Sonny Valdez of Sonny’s in Denver and the car finally got finished. “I owe Sonny a special thanks, along with my family.”

The multitude of metal mods are the work of Raul and Pancho at Total Customs in Denver, including a fully molded frame, firewall, trunk, hood and doors, plus twin Frenched antennas, suicide doors and trunk lid, shaved emblems and trim, and a molded flip front clip. Sonny then proceeded to cover the car with copious coats of candy magenta and flake, topped with patterns in seven colors. Next, Pedro of Pedro’s Customs in Denver took airbrush in hand adding devilishly delicious murals to the underside of the hood, trunk lid and on the firewall before stripping the body in purple and magenta.

The Old School interior was completely handcrafted by Emilio Ceniceros and Vernon Servy at Emilio’s Upholstery in Denver, beginning with gutting the car. Then he built the dash, door panels, overhead panels, trunk panels and swivel bucket seats from scratch, covered with countless yards of ruby red velvet done in diamond tuck and wrinkle patterns accented with hundreds of hand-cut mirrors and gold buttons. A three-spoke wood Grant steering wheel completed the interior tricks.

The hydraulics, originally installed by Eddie at Fino’s Custom Wheels in Denver, were removed when the car was painted, after which Thomas at Robert’s Tires & Wheels in Denver put it back in. The sweet setup includes four gold Masterpiece pumps with chrome engraving, gold-plated aluminum blocks, four gold Delta dumps and polished stainless steel hard lines. Four chrome 8-inch Leaper cylinders provide lift, with 2-ton springs to cushion the ride. A set of 13×7 engraved chrome and gold Masterpiece wires wrapped with P155/80-R13 Remington radials provide the rolling stock. Four Interstate batteries hidden in the trunk provide the voltage, with six Motorcraft solenoids and eight switches to control the moves on demand.

Even though the hardtop isn’t a daily driver, Angelo wanted the engine to run as good as it looks, so he had Russ Dunn of Dunn Automotive in Denver completely rebuild the stock 327-c.i.d. V-8 from the block up with power improvements including boring .030 over, installing a Competition series cam, double-collar timing chain, Edelbrock intake manifold, carburetor and air cleaner, and dual chrome exhaust. Most of the parts are either polished or chrome plated, the handiwork of Alert Plating in Denver and Robert’s.

They say that pain has no memory and now that Angelo’s nightmares are over it’s “all good.” So good in fact that his hardtop has earned him First Place Sweepstakes at the 2001 and the 2002 Lowrider Tour shows in Denver. Nightmares also missed winning the 2001 Lowrider of the Year title in Las Vegas by one point… not bad for a car that almost didn’t get finished. Angelo dedicated his ’68 to the memory of Tony Salazar, who is also the namesake of Angelo’s next ride: a ’71 Chevy Monte Carlo called “Tony’s Dream,” which we’ll be featuring in LRM soon. You see, unlike Nightmares, Tony’s Dream came together in only a year. “Compared to the Impala, it was a dream come true,” admits Angelo with a grin.

Owner: Angelo Salazar
Vehicle: ’68 Chevrolet Impala
City/State: Arvada, Colorado
Club: Big Time C.C.
Engine: Totally rebuilt 327-c.i.d. V-8, bored .030 over with Edelbrock intake, carburetor and air cleaner, Competition cam, double-collar timing chain and dual exhaust
Setup: Four gold and chrome Masterpiece pumps with chrome engraving, four Delta dumps, chrome hard lines, 8-inch Leaper cylinders, 2-ton springs, four Interstate batteries, eight switches
Tires: P155/80-R13 Remington
Wheels: 13×7 engraved chrome and gold Masterpiece wires