Car salesman manager John “Harpo” Mananian of Fresno, California, knows about deals as he is always wheeling and dealing. So when John came across his ’62 Chevy Impala SS convertible he knew that he had to jump on the deal. You see, this Impala used to belong to a little old lady who used to drive the car to church and back. The proof was the documentation that showed that the Impala had only 62,000 original miles when John closed the deal. Don’t think that John got over on the old lady; he got taxed 15 Gs for the solid-running car.

Once the ragtop was home, John and his crew–Rafael, Danny R. and Ralph–dismantled the convertible. John was originally going to restore the car but then decided that he would give it a custom finish. John started off by sending everything out to be restored and rechromed by Mike and Danny of New Age Chrome of Fresno. When it came time for the paint, he called on old friends who came through with flying colors. As the car was coming together, John added a few custom accessories to the fully loaded “deuce,” including a chrome tilt column, Trendz billet steering wheel and billet interior door handles. The car was still missing something and that was a plaque, which was provided by Mark of Plaque Works in the San Fernando Valley, who cranked one out in less than a week.

John could not have accomplished his goal of building this without the support of his wife, Ninfa, and car club Eastside. Actually, John’s six-month project wasn’t supposed to have turned out like this. He put his other lowrider project on hold so that he could build this cruiser and, as he told us, one thing led to another and the result is this unstoppable droptop that we are featuring here. With “California Love” turning out so sweet we can’t wait to get a look at his other project when it’s completed.

California Love
Owner: John “Harpo” Mananian
Vehicle: ’62 Chevrolet Impala SS convertible
City/State: Fresno, California
Club: Eastside C.C.-Fresno
Engine/Drivetrain: ’85 Chevy Corvette 350 c.i.d. with polished aluminum heads and dual 4-bbl. carburetors built by Larry Felix of Felix Automotive in Fresno. A dual Flowmaster exhaust system was installed by Manuel of Kustom Mufflers in Fresno. John bolted on an all-chrome three-speed 350 transmission and dual alternators mounted on a Zoops pulley and bracket setup.
Body/Paint: All body work was done by Juanito’s Customs in El Monte, California. The butterscotch paint scheme was laid out in House of Kolor candies and pearls, and was sprayed and pinstriped by Danny Galvez of D&D Designs in Baldwin Park, California.
Interior: The leather tweed and suede interior was stitched together by Wall & EADS Upholstery of Fresno
Setup: Four Pro Hopper steel fat blocks with 1-inch ports, custom bullet reservoir tanks, 1/2-inch stainless steel hard-lines held in place by a custom billet pump rack, four Adex super duty dumps and 12 Centennial batteries sponsored by Battery Systems of Fresno, all installed by Sonny Morales of The Cycle Shop of Selma, California.
Tires: 5.20 Premium Sportway
Wheels: 13×7 100-spoke all-chrome reverse Dayton

More About Mia St John

Mia St John was inspired to start her non-profit foundation known as “El Saber es Poder” (“Knowledge is Power”)

Mia St. John started in Tae Kwon Do in 1973 at the early age of six. She stuck with it, competing until 1996 when her interest shifted to the boxing ring. Why the change? Mia received an offer from the big-time boxing manager/promoter Don King that she couldn’t refuse. In Mia’s early years of boxing, she was mostly seen on Univision Spanish television. When the time came, her management felt that she was ready to crossover. For the next four years, Mia fought preliminary fights before the main events (usually featuring Oscar De La Hoya). For the last two years, Mia has been a free agent and holds an impressive record of 28 wins, three losses and one draw. Mia is currently working on the rematch with Christy Martin in the Spring of 2004.

Mia is a single mother of two, a son and a daughter, and lives in Southern California. She was born in America, but her family is from Mexico. Mia was inspired to start her non-profit foundation known as “El Saber es Poder” (“Knowledge is Power”), that helps inner-city kids by funding educational programs. Many of them are at-risk kids who have been involved in gangs or trouble with the law. Fighting for them is stopped in the streets and brought into the ring! Mia also loves classic cars, including lowriders, but prefers to drive newer cars. She says that every couple of years, she has to buy herself a brand new car!