Model car builder Albert Galaviz of Phoenix, Arizona, was first featured in Lowrider Bicycle Magazine back in the Winter ’97 issue. At that time, Albert’s latest and greatest model was his replica of Joe Ray’s ’73 Buick Riviera, “Dressed to Kill.” Albert’s lowrider model was and still is a mark of excellence in the 1/25-scale model world and now he’s come out with a more potent force purely dedicated to the lowrider lifestyle.
After talking with Albert, we found that what he has done is carve out a niche of building replica lowriders of the one car club best known for their glamorous automotive masterpieces. The fine rides from Lifestyle Car Club of Los Angeles, California, have easily won Albert over. And he has made a good friend in George Correa, the pro builder of Lifestyle’s “Aladdin” ’64 Chevy Impala. By his own account, Albert intends to capture in plastic what no on else has done before… and that is to build a few top-notch lowriders worthy of undeniable praise from his favorite club.
Our interest really peaked when eyeballing his cool rides for the first time. And we just have to know what tools he pulls out of his drawer. “The tools that I use are just your basic hobby knives, scissors and razors,” says Albert. “Nothing really out of the ordinary.” The interior and foil work were done by Albert and his son Ben, who completed the foil work on the “Green with Envy” ’73 Chevy Caprice replica.
Okay, how about Albert’s drop-dead gorgeous paint schemes? “While I can paint my own cars, I prefer to have them professionally done,” Albert answers. “However, if someone else could do better I will definitely have them do it. The individual who I have painting them is Frank Garcia AKA the ‘Cisco Kid.’ He’s the owner of City Life Hobbies in Phoenix and a professional auto painter who uses the House of Kolor brand.”
We can appreciate Albert’s hookups, friendships and connections, too. “I usually get my rims and supplies from City Life,” he says. “The murals and striping were done by the legendary Eddie Doll of Phoenix, who performed on ‘Dressed to Kill’ and ‘Aladdin,’ and the fine line detail was crafted by the same person who striped the real Lifestyle cars, ‘Bugs’ of Phoenix.” Mike Tiltla of Homie’s Hobbies in Phoenix was also on the lowrider supply side for Albert when hard to find parts and pieces were needed.
So far, we know that if you absolutely want the best job done to your model, it doesn’t hurt to have a tried and true specialist add his painting touch, like Frank has done to all of Albert’s creations. It’s also interesting to note that Albert averages less than an hour a day building his models. “I generally spend about five hours per week on them,” he admits, “but when shows come up, it increases to allnighters all the way up to show day.”
Still, after all of the time spent cutting and creating like Albert does either in secret or during an open clinic, he must come to the realization that kids are eager to learn a newfound talent. “When I owned my own hobby shop, I tried as much as possible to help and promote the sport of lowrider model building,” he says. “When an individual is unable to fix his or her own model and chooses to have someone build it for them then that’s okay. A lot of other hobby shops here in town feel that if you don’t build it yourself then you can’t compete.” Yes, we have to admit that when a person decides to go from the bedroom shelf to the contest table, group or individual construction has always been an arguable gray area.
Albert is genuinely appreciative of the people from whom he has gained knowledge. “I give a lot of praise to other model builders such as Mike Tellez, ‘Beetle‘ Rivas, David Anthony Garcia and Frank Garcia,” claims Albert. “If you want to set your standards these are the dudes to watch.” However, there is one thing that no one can argue about and that’s Albert’s dedication to the coolest lowrider hobby out there. But according to him, he must share the limelight with his wife, Maria, son Ben, “Junior,” and a newborn baby daughter named Megan Nicole. Hey, Albert, while you’re up at night taking care of Megan you might as well check on your models, too.