We often hear the older guys talk about how things in the scene (and life in general) used to be and how much has changed for the worse. Is it really true or do you just get jaded as you get older? Depends on who you ask, but the younger guys have no basis of comparison about what it was like in the early days of lowriding when so many people pitched in to help with a build, pulled over to assist you in a breakdown, and just put pride aside in general because it was about everyone, not just the few. We should all strive to impart those values in those we’re passing the torch to because it’s all one big family when it comes down to it.
Granted we may be venturing off too much into a “state of the union” type of direction, but when we see car’s like John Herrera’s and hear the story behind it, we get a little sentimental. John’s been lowriding for quite a while, has seen the scene change, but stays true to the camaraderie aspect. He got this ’68 Caprice to build along with his friends and although its initial intention was a simple street car, two of the guys who had the biggest influence on his lowriding life encouraged him to build a car better than he’d done before. One of his friends, Danny Lugo, was battling cancer so being able to cruise with him was one of the biggest motivations to get it done and done right. And as any true car club would, many members pitched in to complete it. “It’s a testament that it’s not money that builds a car, it’s your friends who know how,” John says.
The ’68 was originally found by John sinking into someone’s front yard – a project that had been abandoned by the previous owners. When John began to helm the project Danny Lugo and friend Danny Galvez helped him realize his vision. What was that vision? Old school.
For the drivetrain that meant decking out the 350 it had with 327 accessories, much of which were provided by CFR and painting it to match the car. The 350 trans was rebuilt and put back in place. In the hydros department, John went traditional with stainless tubing, original Adel dumps, four Delco 31 series batteries, and Art from Hoppos provided two pumps and custom blocks. Eight-inch cylinders in front and back along with 3/4-ton coils in front and stock 1/4-ton coils in back round out the package.
All body joints and seams were welded smooth, giving the car a unibody-type look. The header panel was welded to the fenders, fenders welded to the rockers, valences molded in, antennas removed, as well as door and truck locks. John gave Danny Galvez and Philip at D&D Designs creative license to paint, stripe, and leaf the car the way they wanted it. It’s all sitting on original 72-spoke Daytons with Premium Sportway 5.20s.
When finished, Danny was asked to create a rendering for the interior which he whipped up and John took the rendering to Joe at California upholstery to pull it off. The results are pretty clean with baseball stitching, billet handles, custom armrests, a fiberglassed dash, and modified door panels with original style moldings. Hidden Kenwood stereo appointments are hidden under the package tray, in the kick panels, and back armrests. With the original straddle bench recovered in leather and a Nardi Torino wheel, this is one clean ride.
When asked what the hardest part about the build was, John commented that it really wasn’t hard with all the help he had. Danny Lugo got to cruise with John before his passing, which made it all even more worthwhile. “It was like an old-time build, everyone pitched in and everything fell into place,” John says. He aptly named the car “The Troubadour” after the George Straight song. And even if you don’t appreciate country, you can appreciate the song’s lyrics if you take the time to look them up.
The results speak for themselves, but thanks must also be given to Danny Galvez, Danny Lugo, Frank and Gil Menendez, John’s wife, two daughters, family, and his Lifestyle club members. We hope it inspires you to lead by example and pitch in with the friends you love and make new friends by helping out a stranger in the scene whenever you can.
Vehicle Year/Make/Model: 1968 Chevrolet Caprice
Vehicle Nickname: The Troubadour
Owner: John Herrera
City/State: Pomona, CA
Engine: 350 V-8 w/327 accessories and 350 trans
Body/Paint: Custom paint, leafing, pinstriping by Danny Galvez. All body joints and seams were welded smooth, giving the car a unibody-type look.
Suspension: Stainless tubing, original Adel dumps, four Delco 31 series batteries, two Hoppos pumps and custom blocks. Eight-inch cylinders in front and back along with 3/4-ton coils in front and stock 1/4-ton coils.
Interior: Custom leather, billet handles, custom armrests, fiberglassed dash, modified door panels with original style moldings. Work by California Upholstery.
Sound System: Kenwood
Wheels/Tires: 14-inch 72-spoke Daytons / Premium Sportway 5.20s