“I’ve been lowriding since 1973 when I rolled with the Lords of Frisco,” explains Ricardo Padilla of Hayward, California. Even so, this NorCal veterano hadn’t thought to take the low route with this ’56 Chevy Bel Air, which was originally a gift from his wife. Then, one day, a group of Low Vintage Car Club bombs drove by his house and gave Ricardo the idea of converting his Bel Air into a lowrider. With his wife’s blessing, Ricardo began to teach his old ’56 some new tricks.

The newly motivated Ricardo became a man on a mission. He returned to All-Time Restoration in Redwood City, California, where he had some performance-related restoration work performed on the Bel Air, and said, “Dismantle the car because I’m making a lowrider.” To Ricardo, that meant “air suspension, different interior, different paint and everything chrome plated.”

That shop and the others that Ricardo enlisted (see Tech Specs for the particulars) did an excellent job, too. Some two and 11/42 years and $26,000 (by Ricardo’s estimation) later, “Straight Flush” is a clear winner, raking in a number of awards at various L.G. Productions shows in Northern California.

And Ricardo isn’t done yet. Future plans for the classic ride include new paint and a chrome undercarriage. Ricardo credits everyone, especially Jaime Trevio, who helped him take the low road with his ’56 Bel Air, a journey that began the day that those bombs happened to cruise down his street. Ricardo was so inspired that he even joined that very club and now rolls with Low Vintage C.C.

Tech SpecsStraight FlushOwner: Ricardo Padilla

Vehicle: ’56 Chevrolet Bel Air

City/State: Hayward, California

Club: Low Vintage C.C.

Engine/Drivetrain: Matt DeLeon at All-Time Restoration in Redwood City, California, took 20 years off of the engine compartment when he equipped the ’56 with a balanced and blueprinted ’76 Chevy 289-c.i.d. engine mated to a 350 Turbo transmission and 2-inch exhaust.

Body/Paint: Jose at J.J. Body Shop in Hayward sprayed the two-tone red and white finish using House of Kolor paints. Isaac applied the numerous murals, while the multitalented “Wim” of San Leandro, California, laid down the pinstriping as well as the wonderful window etching.

Interior: Luis at Abel’s Body & Glass in Hayward did the stitching on a two-tone interior that matches the exterior.

Sound System: Kenny at Sound Specialists in Hayward got the call to install the auto electronics, which include three TV monitors (including one in the trunk) and a dual-amp Audiobahn sound system.

Suspension: A four-switch airbag setup was installed by Danny Torrez at his home in San Jose, California to put the air in the Bel Air.

Tires: Wide whitewalls

Wheels: 13-inch OG wire with two-prong knockoffs