Derek Collins, from the Way of Life Car Club, designed a creation to represent his late grandfather’s memory. His ’61 Chevy Impala, “Grandpa’s Money,” is not only a timeless classic but also tells a story of hard work, determination, and pride, making it a family heirloom.
When Timothy Hurdle died, he left his grandson money to complete his ultimate dream car. Derek always envisioned that his prized possession would be set apart from other rides yet he still wanted to maintain the classic look of a lowrider vehicle. With the financial help from his grandfather and the encouragement and drive from his son, Derek was able to bring back from the ashes a ’61 Chevy Impala convertible.
Having grown up in Pasadena, California, Derek saw the old-school cats cruising around in their candy-painted rides hitting switches up, down, and side to side all throughout the neighborhood. While observing this scene as a young boy, he always knew that someday he wanted to create a classic lowrider of his own. Derek would always turn through the pages of Lowrider magazine to see what type of new and extraordinary creations other people were coming out with. When he discovered that his son had an interest in the lowridng scene he decided to purchase a ’61 Chevy Impala and start from scratch. “This car was one of the key factors that helped keep my son out of trouble,” Derek says. “After the death of my grandfather, I wanted to complete it to keep his memory alive. I wanted to finish restoring this car because my grandfather passed before he ever had the chance to see the end result of this project. It was something that I had to do for me and for him.”
Grandpa’s Money was created over a five-year time period in the backyard of Derek’s home. He cannibalized other cars in order to give birth to what is now his prized possession. Derek says that the engine is a very important part of his car. It’s a 350 Chevrolet crate motor with an RV cam that was dressed up with chrome accessories. This car’s drivetrain also features a 700R transmission with a chrome adjustable driveshaft. With a better-than-stock engine, the car had to receive a brake upgrade to help stop the vehicle when cruising. Chrome disc brakes were then added to the car all the way around. To keep the engine running and breathing right, a set of headers and Flowmaster mufflers were added to the car. The motor was built by Derek’s friend Danny Wallace’s ’06-’07 shop class from Burbank High School. This accomplishment made Derek’s car even more special. Young students put a lot of their own blood, sweat, and tears into this project in order to make a one-of-a-kind motor for Derek and to continue the remembrance of his late grandfather.
Along with the help of the students, Derek also wants to thank his neighborhood, Victor from The Best Polishing and Chrome Shop, and Bert Mantilla from The Chevy Shop for being his Guardian Angels in creating his lowrider legacy. Additional shout-outs go out to B&R Auto Parts, Danny Wallace, Ted Wells, Leon Montoya of Homies Hydraulics, and Andy Lodi.
Route ’61Owner: Derek CollinsVehicle: ’61 Chevrolet Impala convertibleClub: Way of Life Car Club
Drivetrain: 350 Chevrolet crate motor with a mild RV cam, 700 transmission with chrome adjustable driveshaft, chromed headers, and chromed Flowmaster mufflers
Body/Paint: Oriental Blue with a silver base from Marco at M&M Customs
Interior: Original ’61 interior kit ordered from The Car Shop in Detroit, Michigan
Sound System: Audio Concepts in Oklahoma
Suspension: The hydraulics were done by Ted Wells from Old School Hydraulics and the three chrome pumps with Adex dumps are from Andy Lodi. It’s equipped with eight batteries with 8-inch cylinders in the front and 12-inch cylinders in the back, along with chrome coils both front and back.
Wheels: 13×7 Dayton wire wheels