Every car has a story. Anyone building a car (or anything else for that matter) knows what we’re talking about. The bad paint job, the lost parts, the killer price that you picked up your car for; it’s all part of the fun of building. Faustino Flores and his wife, Nancy, of El Paso, Texas, have a story that took an unfamiliar twist, but we’ll let Faustino tell it. “Growing up in a family where all of my cousins were into lowriding, you could say that it was only a matter of time before lowriding became a family tradition,” he says. “This tradition soon grew into a car club, and after 22-plus years, Modern Times Car Club continues to live by its motto of ‘Through the good times and through the bad times there will always be modern times’.”

While attending a construction accounting convention in Dallas, Texas, Faustino came across an estate sale being held in East Texas, which was advertising among other things an “unfinished” ’58 Chevy Impala convertible. He quickly cut the convention short and drove to the estate sale. To his surprise, the ’58, although in a body/frame-off stage, was complete, including all of the moldings, interior, original engine, factory air and all matching numbers. It would only require some sweat and time to get this American classic back on the streets. Faustino found out that this ’58 was a one-owner car and that he had beat out the second bidder by $3!

During the summer of 2000, Nancy was pregnant and diagnosed as carrying triplets, so Faustino started working nights and weekends on the ’58 trying to beat out the stork. The restoration was completed in early December 2000, and the triplets were born prematurely but healthy on December 20, 2000. “You could say that my ’58 and my kids came to life at about the same time,” adds Faustino. “Hence the ’58 was named ‘Three-Karat Diamond’ in honor of our triplets, Noreen, Nathan and Nicholas.”

In 2001, the ’58 debuted in the movie The Original Latin Kings of Comedy starring Paul Rodriguez, George Lopez and Cheech Marin. With triplets there was not much time to drive the car, and “wanting more,” the ’58 was placed in the hands of “Pelon” and Johnny where a second frame-off restoration was performed. This time the car was dipped in chrome, including the engine block, heads and carbs, transmission, undercarriage and convertible rack.

After almost 21/2 years of work on the ’58 and some growing up by the triplets, the car made its debut at the Denver, Colorado, LRM Tour show where it placed in Best of Show. “The ironic thing about the ’58 is that it became a part of our family by a winning margin bid of just $3, only later to find out that we were soon to be the proud parents of triplets,” explains Faustino. So there you have it, folks, three is truly the Flores’ lucky number.

Three-Karat Diamond
Owner: Faustino and Nancy Flores
Vehicle: ’58 Chevrolet Impala
City/State: El Paso, Texas
Club: Modern Times C.C.
Engine/Drivetrain: 348 cubic inches of totally chromed Chevy big-block, Tri-Power carbs, engraved valve covers and NOS air conditioning.
Body/Paint: The body was painted a color called “koral reef” and all body work and paint was done at Street Rods USA of El Paso by Keenan Greseth. Pinstriping by Raul Ortiz of El Paso and murals by Jose “Chepe” Apodaca of La Union, Texas.
Interior: Italian glove leather stitched in the original pattern and plushed out with NOS accessories like a color bar, wonder bar radio, factory AC, power seats and LP record player.
Sound System: Pioneer DEH 960 head unit in glove box, two Kicker amps in the trunk and Kicker subwoofers installed by Juan Gonzalez at Music Systems in El Paso.
Suspension: Air ride setup featuring Firestone airbags, Four Thomas/Firestone 1/5th HP compressors with two 3-gallon air tanks, eight SMC valves and eight switches. The “diamond” also features molded and engraved front lower A arms and molded rear arms.
Tires: 5.20 Premium Sportway
Wheels: 14-inch 72-spoke Dayton