Everyone knows that it takes more than money to build a custom lowrider. It also takes talent, time and a lot of love. In the case of 24-year-old Greg DeAlba of Pomona, California, who spent a year and a half–the first time around–turning this fine ’58 Chevrolet Yeoman station wagon into a showstopper, it took all of those ingredients and more. We say “the first time,” because this is the second incarnation of “Touch Of Love,” which was originally featured in LRM (April 2000) in a much milder form and painted pearl lavender. With only two months remaining before the Las Vegas, Nevada, Super Show, “I decided to do more body mods and repaint it for my satisfaction, not for competition,” notes the Elite-SoCal Car Club member. “To my surprise it’s won a few Sweepstakes trophies.”
Digressing a moment, Greg might never have built this wagon at all if his family hadn’t gotten him interested in working at their shop, Mario’s Auto Works in Montclair, California. “When I was in high school I didn’t want to work at the shop.” But, Greg’s dad, Mario DeAlba, Sr., and brothers Mario, Jr. and Albert all got together and built him a graduation present that got him interested in working at the shop again: a restored ’64 Chevy Impala station wagon. “It was restored to almost original condition,” recalls Greg. “Then I took over the job and ‘spoked’ it, lifted it, and with time got it to hop a little. All this with expert guidance and help, of course,” Greg adds.
That car was eventually sold overseas and within a month and Greg came across the ’58 Yeoman. He paid only $1,500 for the wagon, but he had a ton of work ahead of him. In fact, it was in such bad shape, a second wagon had to be purchased for parts. “With money and time on my side, I decided not to cut corners, but to put my skills to the test,” says Greg. And what a test!
With the body off, Greg began the long process of filling the frame from front to back and reinforcing it for Roadster hydraulics. All new steering, braking and suspension components were installed, most of them polished, plated or anodized by Montclair professionals including Victor at The Best Polishing & Chrome, Cuco at C&M Plating and Nick at Corsair Powdercoating. The second time around, the engine bay received more “love,” including “shaving” the firewall and smoothing the radiator supports for an even cleaner look.
The original engine was replaced by a “built” 350 V-8 from an ‘80 Impala by Art at BP Crank & Arrow Engine in Azusa, California. Mods now include a Torker intake manifold, custom machined valve covers, dual exhaust with 12-inch glasspacks and tons of chrome parts. Carlos at Montclair Transmission added a 350 automatic, power steering, a 4×4 slip-yoke driveshaft and narrowed the rearend.
The body also received its share of love with such custom touches as shaved door handles, emblems, rounded tailgate and filled body seams. A heart-shaped Frenched antenna, Frenched ’59 Caddy taillights and a round tube grille add to the long lean look of the wagon. In “take two,” Greg also shaved the wipers and cowl vents and installed Jaguar headlights. For a unique look to the interior Greg even molded the dashboard/instrument panel. With the body and frame prepped and ready for paint, Mario, Jr. took spray gun in hand and lovingly laid on a custom mixed House of Kolor candy violet to the body and interior sheet metal.
The interior was then ready to be redone. The seats were upholstered in white and purple vinyl in an original-style stitch pattern and custom door panels with gold mesh inserts added. Greg molded the rear floorboard section to house the batteries and built a special fiberglass speaker enclosure. A Pioneer head unit was installed in the dash, with two Phoenix Gold amps, an MTX 3-way crossover, two Pioneer 1-inch tweeters, two 61/2-inch Pioneer mids and three 10-inch JL Audio woofers completing the system.
Ray at Roadster supplied the hydraulics including two show pumps with aluminum blocks, three Delta dumps, six batteries and two solenoid blocks. Two 8-inch Roadster cylinders with 31/2-ton springs are fitted up front, while two 10-inch cylinders with 1-ton springs are used on the rear. Roadster also supplied the 13×7 Zenith wires, which Greg wrapped with P155/80-13 Mojave tires, for the finishing touch.
“Many people might find it hard to believe that [I] could have done this,” says Greg, “but that’s exactly what made me do it…to prove to myself that I was capable of creating something from practically nothing and redoing it even better. And I owe a huge thanks to my mom, dad, brothers and my wife, Adrianne, for their love, support and inspiration.”
This is no trailer queen either; you’ll see Greg rolling hard on the boulevard any weekend. “The wagon was built to satisfy me and show others my talent, not for show or for trophies,” admits Greg. However, it won numerous trophies its first time out, and has taken more the second time around, proving that love is indeed all you need.
|Touch of Love|
|Owner:||Greg De Alba|
|Vehicle:||’58 Chevrolet Yeoman SS|
|Engine:||350-c.i.d. V-8 with Torker intake and custom valve covers|
|Setup:||Two Roadster pumps, three Delta dumps, 6-inch (front) and 10-inch (rear) cylinders, two Prestolite solenoid blocks, six batteries, three switches|
|Wheels:||13×7 Zenith by Roadster|