When Joaquin “Lolo” Vega of San Fernando, California, was approached about this abandoned project he welcomed the change of pace. As a hydraulics switchman in the lowriding world, Joaquin was ready to try a new style of car building. Joaquin’s friend Joe “Little Man” Lomeli offered Joaquin the car for a reasonable price and when all was said and done, Joaquin was the proud owner of this custom ’79 Chevrolet Monte Carlo.

The 24-year-old hydraulics installer at C&L Hydraulics in San Fernando started off on his project by inventorying what the vehicle had. The results were a rolling shell, which would need major TLC. First on Joaquin’s agenda was to hook up with fellow club member Alfonso Cabral of Pasadena, California. Alfonso would do most of the body mods that the car would receive, including a suicide front end, molded hood and trunk, chop top, walk-through, and molded and smoothed belly. Other tricks included a see-through trunk floorboard installed by Carlos “Negro” Salas of Pasadena. Once all of the modifications were out of the way, it was ready to be painted.

Joaquin took the car to Carlos of Toker’s Custom Paints in Northridge, California. Carlos put Beto, his best body guy, on the job and the result was a clean canvas to be painted by Carlos. Carlos started off by basecoating the complete car in House of Kolor silver, followed up with several coats of candy lime green with a few subtle tape shades as accents. The colorful Monte Carlo was then cleared and rubbed out, but not before the hood was shipped to Abel Rocha of Arleta, California, who worked his airbrushing magic. The results was an Aztec theme to show off Joaquin’s Brown Pride since his car is named “Orgullo Mexicano.”

From there it was back to the shop, where the car was put back together. The frame, which was molded, smoothed out and painted to match the car, was put back underneath the body, but not before having cylinders attached to it to pull the body off of the frame. This super-modification allowed the tricked-out drivetrain, chromed undercarriage and tubular rear bridge to be shown off. The drivetrain consists of a candy green ’95 Chevy 350-c.i.d. engine which was dressed up with billet accessories. For a transmission, Joaquin visited Ralph’s Transmission’s in Reseda, California, who rebuilt a racing Power Glide tranny, which would handle any torque that the engine can produce.

When it came time to chrome out the car, it was done through Lolo’s club hookup, Astro‘s Plating in Van Nuys, California, who took credit for the chrome section on the frame and the exterior of the car. Orgullo Mexicano also received a touch of gold, which was done though Angel Edwards of Whittier, California.

The hydraulics was an important step for hydraulics installer Joaquin, who would have to build something that proved respectable in the hydraulic world. After hours of brainstorming with his brother Alex (or “Chino” as everybody knows him) the result was a six-pump setup. Four of the primary pumps would be used for the suspension. These pumps were custom machined by McGyver and Eric of Pro Hopper Hydraulics and featured four OG square dumps, Parker check valves and slowdowns. The complete system is powered by two yellow top Optima batteries. As for the other two pumps that we mentioned, they would be bolted onto the walk-through section of the car. These two hard-lined aluminum pumps would have the hard task of lifting the body off of the frame at the flip of a switch.

Next up on the six-month project was the interior makeover. This took the collaboration of a few people including upholster Joe of Joe’s Custom Interiors in Arleta, who scratch built the complete frame work. With all of the woodwork completed, Joe upholstered the car in velour and a custom sequin material, which can be truly appreciated when the swivel seats spin to let you out of the vehicle. Joe also installed the Auto Meter gauges in the center of the dash. The interior also features such modern gadgets as two 7×8 monitors, DVD player controlled by a Kenwood head unit, two chrome Volfeni amps that push MA Audio speakers. The install of the sound system was done by Audio Kreations Custom Sounds of Sylmar, California, who made sure that the stereo system sounds pristine.

With only six months to produce a show winner, Joaquin pulled off a major upset as he has already qualified for the Lowrider of the Year title. We can’t wait to see the outcome at the Las Vegas, Nevada, Super Show when all of the heavy hitters battle it out with Joaquin for the prestigious title. At least you can say that Joaquin has Brown Pride on his side and in his ride.

Orgullo Mexicano
Owner: Joaquin "Lolo" Vega
Vehicle: ’79 Chevrolet Monte Carlo
City/State: San Fernando, California
Club: Outstanding C.C.
Engine: ’95 Chevy 350-c.i.d.
Setup: Six Pro Hopper aluminum pumps, four square dumps, 8-inch cylinders, two Optima yellow top batteries, six switches
Tires: P175/75-R13 Cornell
Wheels: 13×7 100-spoke Luxor