“Gently they stir, gently rise. The dead are newborn awakening. With ravaged limbs and wet souls. Is everybody in? The ceremony is about to begin. Wake up! You can’t remember where it was. Has this dream stopped?” The “Lizard King” announced. “No, the journey has just begun.” Let Jesus Alonzo AKA Chuy “The Rabbit” of East Los Angeles, California, and his immaculate ’63 Chevy Impala elevate you and seamlessly take you on a voyage to a strange and peculiar world.
This is a world that’s well known to the elusive Rabbit. The Impala has been part of Chuy’s life since 1979, and was first featured in the August ’93 issue of LRM. Originally, Chuy had dubbed the ride “Club ’63.” Years went by with many restless nights and trophies won, slowly playing out its only tune. The car sat for years like an old record on the shelf occasionally being pulled down and played when old friends were around, laughing as they exchanged tales of many moons ago. Revisiting those memories struck something in Chuy, something deep down inside was rekindled, just like when your favorite band comes out with their latest album; it’s ready to play once again until that one wears old and thin.
Chuy and some of his fellow Lifestyle Car Club members started to destroy a dream. With the garage radio going full blast (“Woke up this morning and I got myself a beer”), Chuy and crew started tearing the car down and within two days it was turned into a rolling shell. This would be perfect for Mario Gomez of the Candy Factory of Lancaster, California, who took on the task of laying out the graphics over the “Big Ed” Madrigal flake paint job that already existed. The tangerine flake canvas that was prepped by Joe’s Customs of East Los Angeles would compliment the candy patterns that made the vehicle look extra-long and sleek.
With the car cleared for protection, it was taken to Walt Prey of Walt’s Custom Colors in Chatsworth, California, where the foundation of pinstriping was laid out. This would serve as a template that would later be added to by Danny Galvez of D&D Designs in Baldwin Park, California. The ’63 would then be cleared and given to Joe Ray, who color sanded the complete body and buffed it out without burning the intricate paint job. Chuy then had help from his nephew Victor “Vicky Lou” Contreras, in reassembling the exterior of the vehicle. He proved handy when it came time to hold the bumpers in place while the tio (uncle) bolted down the bumpers. The duo dubbed “Stone and Pigs Customs” then jumped onto the next stage and that would be to dial in the chrome-plated block. After a few hours, they found out that it would be necessary to replace the old 327-c.i.d. engine and drop in a new power source. Chuy then talked to his friends at House of Lowriders in San Bernardino, California, where Oishi ordered him a new crate engine with Vortec heads that ensured reliability as well as a little performance.
Next on the agenda was to go through the OG setup. Chuy tore down the cast-iron Fenner Stone pumps and made sure that all of the gears were spinning properly. He then made new racks for the six 31-series batteries that would power the system. Chuy then ran new wiring for the switches and Waterman dumps.
“Stoned Immaculate” as the car was now known (after the Doors lyric and title of a new album) was now ready for the interior work that would take some designing, as the car was gutted to bare metal. First they had to figure out what would be dropped into the vehicle. Since Chuy wanted to give the interior a sporty look, he used ’65 Buick Riviera seats for the rear and ’64 Impala SS seats for the front. With all of the pieces coming together, Chuy called in fellow club member Danny Galvez, who lent his expertise in frame building for a custom dash and center console.
Chuy then called Frank Sanchez of California Customs of East Los Angeles who installed the sound system before it was sent out to the interior shop. The car was ready for the next episode, which was to take the Impala to Bob Mercado of Bob & Sons of Pico Rivera, California. Bob then took his time to wrap the interior in vinyl and tweed, ensuring that all of his lines would be straight.
With the interior done and tight looking better than new, the car was ready to be taken for a spin just like a new album. Chuy says that he might just shelve his classic ride and start on a new project. Good luck and keep up the good work. “The future’s uncertain and the end is always near.”
|Vehicle:||’63 Chevrolet Impala|
|City/State:||East Los Angeles, California|
|Engine:||Crate Chevy 350-c.i.d. small-block|
|Setup:||Two OG cast-iron Fenner Stone pumps, three #6 Waterman dumps, six 31-series batteries, two switches|
|Tires:||13-inch 5.20 Premium Sportway|
|Wheels:||13×7 LA Wire|