Where’s the only place that you can visit New York, Paris and Rome all in the same day? That’s right, Las Vegas, Nevada, where anything goes, just like this awesome scale model replica of the “Las Vegas” Lowrider Car of the Year owned by Joe Ray of San Gabriel, California. A decade ago, Joe took the gamble of his life and applied the Vegas theme to his ’79 Lincoln Mark V known at the time as “Hollywood.” The former Lifestyle C.C. president struck it big with his ride, and now someone else was ready to try his luck building a plastic miniature of the legendary lowrider.
Skilled but modest model builder David Anthony Garcia of Santa Fe Springs, California, was taking a gamble of his own by building a replica of one of the baddest vehicles in lowrider history, Many others have attempted to build a little version of “Las Vegas,” but have fallen short of the mark. David Anthony was up to the challenge, having been putting together plastic models for as long as he can remember. Legend has it that David Anthony was born with an X-Acto knife in one hand, a tube of Testor’s glue in the other and his first words were “Revell/Monogram.”
David Anthony knew that he was in for a major challenge since no model company makes a ’79 Lincoln. David Anthony had to gamble on building a body by hand using lots of plastic and glue, and sculpting the body using personal pictures as his guide. He cut a Targa-style top and slanted and raised the windshield. He next cut through the rear window, and then shaved and molded a El Camino-style trunk with a removable lid.
With some of the body mods completed, David Anthony took a short break before starting on the sides of the model. He carefully crafted door hinges that allowed the driver’s door to come down like a tailgate and the passenger side door to swing out in suicide fashion, before he shaved the bumpers, gas lid, moldings and emblems. David Anthony then added roll pans in the front and rear, shortened the wheelwells for more upholstery room, and installed custom headlights and taillights lenses. Since David Anthony was trying to recreate a miniature version of a legendary ride, he drew inspiration by listening to music by Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd while he worked just like Joe Ray back in the day.
Once the handcrafted Lincoln’s body mods were finished it was time to move on to the Las Vegas car’s intricate and hard to duplicate paint job. The original car was candy covered by master painter Mario Gomez of the Candy Factory, and David Anthony studied the real deal for weeks on end before picking a mixed palette of car paint and House of Kolor hues to engulf the model. David Anthony first laid out a butterscotch basecoat and then applied special blends of gold, blue, purple and lavender candy paint, along with flakes and pearls that replicated the car’s rainbow pattern effect.
Already passing a big milestone by completing the model car’s difficult paint composition, the next step of the project was to mural the Las Vegas strip along the side panels, duplicating “Cartoon’s” artwork of the Luxor, Circus Circus, MGM, Riviera and other famous hotels on the “Sin City” strip. David Anthony also did his best on reproducing the two Las Vegas showgirls on the hood and trunk of the Lincoln, before laying down by hand the Las Vegas logo on the car’s doors.
Knowing how finely detailed the interior of the real deal was, David Anthony set forth to complete the car’s insides to the best of his abilities. Just like the real Las Vegas, the model features the most popular forms of gambling in Vegas, including craps in the tailgate driver’s door, keno in the passenger’s side door, blackjack (21) in the dashboard, a roulette wheel in place of the rear seats and a numbers table in place of the center console. He also moved the steering components to the right-hand side just like the real car.
David Anthony continued by adding a pair of gold-plated slot machines towards the rear of the vehicle that are separated by the prestigious Lifestyle plaque and a “Lifestyle Casino” gold-plated ice bucket. He covered the interior in hot pink and amber velour (using the diamond tuck pattern), along with mirrors and hanging lamps. David Anthony took the idea through to the engine bay where more gambling tables were added. For the final interior touches, David Anthony laid down a perfect blackjack hand as the car’s seat and placed a gold-plated Boyd steering wheel.
All that was left was duplication of the Lincoln’s 460-c.i.d. V-8 engine, with a gold-plated air cleaner just like the real deal. David Anthony also plated the car’s frame and suspension pieces in chrome and gold. David Anthony added a set of handmade custom Crown wire wheels with diamond-cut spokes (as only “The Best Are Crowned”) to complete the “casino royale.”
The Las Vegas Lincoln is by no means the only model that David Anthony has come up with recently. His ’32 “Deucenberg” was put together using a ’32 Ford Revell kit, and it too is super-customized, with a chopped top, hand-built stretch fender skirts, doors and trunk that open and close, 25-inch photo-etched wire wheels, tweed interior with billet accessories, star blue pearl paint and an airplane engine.
David Anthony’s wide ranging tastes in transportation led him to build a “Rockabilly” Rat Rod ’25 T-Bucket with black primer and red flames along with pinstriping and a Zombies logo on the trunk. The Rat Rod was fixed with a fully blown Chevy 350-c.i.d. engine with a six-carb setup that was built mostly from David Anthony’s “junk box” of unused parts. David Anthony also chopped a ’48 Ford Woody convertible, which was painted in Buick maroon with hand-painted woodgrain, and sports fashionably cool leather ox-blood interior, Cadillac “sombrero” hubcaps, and a Ford flathead engine with dual carburetor setup.
David Anthony’s vast talent also helped him create a fine ’41 Chevy pickup, that was given a split-hinged hood exposing a ’48 Chevy straight-6 engine block detailed to the fullest with hydraulic pumps underneath the hood detailed to match the engine, The truck was sprayed with a two-tone paint scheme: black fenders and blue body and bed. David Anthony went on to add a cut-out grille, custom headlight shields, bumper guards, resin “Spider” hubcaps and, David Anthony’s favorite, a cool serape blanket in the back.
The master plastic builder showed us two more rides, including a ’63 Ford Galaxie sporting a pearl yellow paint scheme with candy butterscotch fades and rainbow flaked roof. The Galaxie interior simulates black leather with a donut-style steering wheel and color bar under the dash. For the wheels, David Anthony went with the old school look by placing Cragars, and completed the traditional lowrider with a set of rabbit ear TV antennas, side pipes, tube-style grill and pinstriping.
David Anthony also hooked up a ’66 Cadillac convertible that seems to be all “Pimped Out.” The cool Caddy was sprayed with candy grape paint over a metallic silver base with tribal “in-n-out” flames. The car’s outrageous interior wears leopard print seat inserts, while incorporating photo-etched pieces, flame-cut steering wheel, pinstriped dash and a pair of bongos in the back. Bellflower pipes were placed in the rear, and the ride rolls on Astro Supreme wheels.
Like we said, David Anthony has been building unbelievably clean model cars for a long time. David Anthony takes his time on his and his customers’ model cars, even pulling an all-nighter if called for. So if you ever want to see some of the finest model creations ever built, hit up a local SoCal show, where David Anthony sometimes makes a special guest appearance, or visit the Garcia family’s Drag-N Shop in Santa Fe Springs, where you can catch the whole gang hanging out and working on some more amazing custom models.