The line between a traditional-style lowrider and a custom low has blurred in recent years; even many OG lowriders are now building what we’ve dubbed “low rods.” So many, in fact, that we run a low rod feature in nearly every issue. Thus, it makes sense to be including some low rod tech, like adding airbags instead of juice to a traditional Chevy Impala.
In this case we’re referring to putting a Master Image Customs (MIC) Speed Bag air ride kit on a ’65 Impala SS owned by Enrique Vargas. Enrique has rolled on 13s forever, but he decided to redo has hardtop more low rod-style by adding bling and bagging it. So he put on a set of 20-inch Alba Karma wheels (with spinners) wrapped with Hankook 245/35-ZR20 Ventus Sport high-performance tires. The big rims and radials looked out of place on a ’65 at first, but now that we’ve gotten used to seeing it rollin’ on alloys, it looks tight!
But when it came time for Classic Auto Customs (in Ontario, California) to bag the car, they found that the offset of the 20-inch wheels and the wide tires created some minor clearance problems on the front end. “If this car was still on 13s or 14s bagging it would be a simple one-day bolt-in operation with the MIC kit,” said Andy Diaz, owner of Classic Auto. “If the wheels had a deeper offset so the rims would sit outboard more, we probably wouldn’t have had any clearance problems either,” he added.
However, in this case, the front inner fender sheet metal had to be cut, the upper spring pockets had to be opened up, lower control arm modifications had to be made and the inner fender panels had to be removed totally. No mods were required for the rear suspension. Otherwise, the installation was pretty straightforward and the car lays out low.
An array of DEI audio equipment will be installed in the trunk soon, so Andy (and chief installation technician Keith Pillow) mounted the compressor and air tank on the left ledge of the trunk leaving the deck and tire well areas open. Enrique also wanted the system to be “quick,” so fast electric valves (with mufflers) were mounted (up under the frame) and a pressure-controlled CO2 bottle was added. For a bit of OG look, custom chromed hard lines were plumbed between the CO2 regulator and the air tank. (The 100-percent duty air compressor is used only as a backup for the gas.) Follow the photos and you’ll see how simple it is to have your ride rolling on air in no time with MIC.