It’s been said that romance and chivalry are dead. In this day and age of social media, instant gratification, and disposable commodities, it’s easy to feel that way and not see much in the way of gentlemen holding hands with their ladies or opening car doors for them. It’s nice though when people don’t become a victim of that shallow mentality and still keep it old school by spoiling who they’re with and putting in the effort to keep the novelty alive.
This ’65 Impala SS on these pages is owner Jesse Saldana’s first car and was about as close to love at first sight as one could believe. While lots of us regret selling our first ride for some reason that seemed Ok at the time, not many of us could have imagined putting the effort into making our first ride this beautiful. As the saying goes, nothing worth having in life is easy, but when you put the work in you can really create something special. Though it’s already been featured in Lowrider magazine twice before, it’s now in its third, and as Jesse says, final iteration. With this much detail, we’re not sure you could go much beyond this.
After it’s last go around (using the name Hard on the Blvd) Jesse sat down and sketched out patterns on the vehicle and took it to Greg DeAlba for some additional design input. Starting at the bottom, Albert from Cal Blast in Montclair, California, sandblasted the frame which was also was shaved and molded with all the brake and fuel lines hidden inside. The gas tank was moved to the trunk where a customized unit takes its place. Thanks to the work of Jesse, his brother Oso, Kulture Design, and Indio, one Pesco pump in the front and another in back with Adex dumps, four batteries, and four solenoids keep the juice flowing perfectly.
Powering the SS is the original 350, smoothed out on the exterior to make it look more streamlined. The motor is now upgraded with a Holley EFI unit and Patriot Performance heads with work done by Abel’s Performance in East L.A. It’s all connected to the original Powerglide trans that spins a Currie 9-inch rearend. Classic Performance Products brakes in front and Lincoln Versailles units in the back help slow down the 13×7 Zeniths wrapped in 5.20 Premium rubber.
We’d gladly trade our living room set for something that looked like this car’s comfy interior. Monte Carlo swivel seats in front straddle a handmade console with a custom speaker grille and Lokar shifter. The backseats are custom made with a package tray inspired by a ’50s Corvette with a speaker grille out of a ’59 Impala. A Con2r wheel on a ’70s van steering column sits beneath the ’56 Chevy dash that’s outfitted with custom gauges by Edgar from Maxima Imagen and a clock from Dakota Digital. The twisted and engraved door garnishes are also reflective of a ’56 Chevy. The suede, leather, and vinyl stitchwork was done by California Upholstery, while Kulture Design handled the dash and stereo system with a Kenwood stereo, Kenwood amps, and hidden Alpine speakers. A factory light bar, purchased from Ted Wells, dances to the beat of the music as does the lights above the clock where the original speaker grille was.
The body has been shaved and molded, including the rain cowl, bumpers, inside of the hood and trunk, floorboards, firewall, and belly of the vehicle so it could be patterned out. In front the hood was given a custom sear with the grille modified so only the horizontal slats remain. A moonroof was added by Los Nunez Moonroofs. Custom Harley chopper headlights reside where the originals did with LED taillights in the rear. Mario’s Autoworks in Montclair, California, handled the fabrication and custom paint along with Greg DeAlba, while Edgar from Maxima Imagen did the muraling, leafing, and striping.
The ’65, now known as Blvd Madness was the culmination of lots of inspiration and help from others. Jesse’s brother Oso, also of Thee Artistics, influenced him a lot, as did the club itself. Trips to Elysian Park to see car hops as well as the 1982 Super Show at the L.A Sports Arena also fueled Jesse’s interest in the culture. Jesse also thanks his mom and other fellow club members for helping him put the car together, as well as Albert from Cal Blast for keeping a strong relationship with him over the years. It’s clear a lot of heart went into keeping this car Jesse’s first love.
Vehicle Year/Make/Model: 1965 Chevy Impala SS
Vehicle Nickname: Hard on the Blvd
Owner: Jesse Saldana
City/State: Los Angeles, CA
Club: Thee Artistics
Engine: 350 with Holley EFI and Powerglide trans
Body/Paint: Shaved and molded by Mario’s Autoworks, Montclair, CA. Custom paint by Mario’s Autoworks and Greg DeAlba. Muraling, striping, leafing by Edgar from Maxima Imagen.
Suspension: One pesco pump in the front and another in back with Adex dumps, four batteries, and four solenoids by owner, Oso, Kulture Design, and Indio
Interior: Monte Carlo seats, ’56 Chevy dash, custom console by Kulture Design and California Upholstery
Sound System: Kenwood stereo, Kenwood amps, Alpine speakers
Wheels/Tires: 13×7 Zenith / Premium 5.20s