As a person who does business as an automotive restorer, Johnny “Big Worm” Griego sees a lot of vintage metal, some of it good and a lot of it bad, but the good stuff usually ends up coming back with him to his shop, Big Worm Restoration in Inglewood, California. Big Worm has been doing cars for some time and has had no less than two other cars featured in the pages of LRM, a ’61 Chevy Impala ragtop and a ‘62 Impala. This latest endeavor for Big Worm took him and his son Johnny, Jr. to the outskirts of Roswell, New Mexico, which is infamous for it being the UFO “mecca” of the world.
Big Worm wasn’t looking for little green men with big heads and little bodies, no sir, but what he did find was a fine-finned fifties Chevy with the potential to be his next big lowriding statement; his latest version of “Venice Ridin’ ” Coming back home to his loving wife, Sonia, and daughter Destini, Big Worm proceeded to have his crew of men–like Tony, Alfredo, Jesse Aguayo, Juan Hernandez of H&D Towing, and buddy Andy Gomezbring back to life this jewel found in the desert.
A year and a half later, Big Worm is more than pleased to have his ’59 ready to show; a rolling testament to the quality that comes out of his shop in Inglewood. Big Worm also hipped us to some inside news: he’s got a ’56 Chevy ragtop that will be full-show quality and a ’59 Impala rag in the wings; more stuff for us to ooh and ahh about, no doubt!
TECHSPECS: Venice Ridin’
OWNER: John “Big Worm” Griego
VEHICLE: ’59 Chevrolet Impala
CITY/STATE: Hawthorne, California
CLUB: No affiliation
ENGINE/DRIVETRAIN: The engine is a 348-c.i.d. small-block with plenty of pep. That’s because Tony Eudav of Big Worm Restoration in Inglewood, California, dropped in a mild cam, topped off the intake with double-quad carbs and hooked up all of the chrome goodies with the help of Alfredo Gonzalez who also works at the shop. The drivetrain hooked up the engine is comprised of a Turbo 350 tranny linked to an open driveline, while a set of 30-inch glass-packs that were also chromed by Alfredo round out the performance part of the Impala. Alfredo also did his duty on all the anodized goods as well.
BODY/PAINT: Luis and “Pedo” of San Gabriel, California, get mad props for the molding of the firewall and cleaning up the body lines before dowsing the Impala with PPG copper pearl acrylic enamel. Danny Galvez of D&D Design in Baldwin Park, California, added some striping while muralist “Wiro” of Compton, California, had a hand in the spectacular Aztec-themed murals on the trunk and firewall. The much-sought-after cruiser skirts and fully dressed bumper kit add to the drool-factor when this ride shows up at car shows and cruiser nights.
INTERIOR: One of the remarkable things about Big Worm’s car is the tasty interior, just check out that chrome-plated dash done by Alfredo Gonzalez and installed by “Chico” of M&N Hydraulics in Gardena, California; muy shiny! A buddy, “Manuel,” of Los Angeles, California, installed the interior upholstery kit from Cars One that goes well with the copper colored cruiser. The factory Venetian blinds picked up from Andy Gomez of Santa Monica, California, adds a bit of OG class to the late ’50s Chevy.
SOUND SYSTEM: As for the tunes, Tony Eudav getsthe kudos for the seamless installation of theAlpine head unit, speakers and two-channel amplifier.Another amp, a Kenwood four-channel unit,and a pair of 12-inch Lanzar subwoofers round outthe rest of the bumps in the trunk.
SETUP: The fabulous hookup on the ’59 was done up by Chico of M&N Hydraulics, who used his special pumps that are outfitted with #4 square dumps and high-pressure blocks. The system is plumbed using chrome hard-lines and is wired to Prestolite solenoids and 3100-amp batteries. Chico also wrapped the whole frame and molded it with the help of Luis and Pedo. Even the A-arms in front and the rear suspension components were molded by Chico the master.
TIRES: Cooper radial
WHEELS: Having the laces powdercoated in a cream