When we know or have an idea what kind of car we’d like to buy, the next step is finding it. Surfing the Internet, going to swap meets, and thumbing through different publications is usually what we resort to in order to locate some possibilities. However, sometimes a small lead is enticing enough for us to put as much effort into finding a car that we would a lost child. If you know of the Tovars, then you’d bet that their methods for finding cars are as serious as the work they put into them.
Donald Tovar got a hot tip on a ’48 Chevy Fleetmaster convertible from a co-worker, Danny, whose brother attempted to buy said Chevy from the owner and was unsuccessful. When Donald asked where it was located, he could only remember the general vicinity so they went and looked at the neighborhood Danny thought it was in, but couldn’t find the specific house. That wasn’t going to discourage Donald from tracking it down, so he later returned to the neighborhood and knocked on doors until he found the house where the car still resided. With a little price haggling, Donald became the new owner.
As you would expect of a Tovar build, the car was going to be low – like so close to the ground that a hundred-dollar bill couldn’t be slid underneath it. In order to accomplish a body drop this low, Don’s brother Eddie took on this difficult task. Three inches had to be taken out of the body and everything else has to be modified to make it work. Fenders, frame, dash, seats, steering column, bumper brackets, radiator support, and a host of other items were tweaked to accommodate the “$100 test.”
Aside from that, Donald wanted to keep this pretty stock looking. Don scooped up a ’54 Chevy 235 inline-six and paired it with a Chevy S-10 trans. The drivetrain was connected to a four-linked S-10 rearend. Eddie put in the Hoppos hydraulic setup that includes three batteries, a whammy tank, two pumps, four dumps, and hard lines. Powdercoating was handled by Reliable Powder Coating in Downey, California, while chroming was done at Metal Finishing in Los Angeles. The beige paint scheme, reminiscent of one of the stock colors, was done by Don’s neighbor Nino Estrada in Don’s backyard.
Interior appointments were kept pretty true to stock, with some cool changes. A banjo steering wheel was added and Donald made custom window garnish moldings from a Fleetline. The upholstery uses material from a Fleetline and was done by Blind Mike Perez. The rear seat now incorporates armrests with ashtrays for hidden speakers both there and in the kick panels. Gordo from 562 Customs hooked up all the wiring.
A car this sweet would surely not have come together without some due credit. Don wants to thank his wife and kids for their assistance, and especially his three brothers Eddie, Paul, and Michael. A shout out also goes to Nacho and Jacob Dominguez, as well as Bob’s Antiques.
Not many searches with questionable leads turn out this well, but we hope it inspires you to chase down your dreams just as Don did with his.
Vehicle Year/Make/Model: 1948 Chevy Fleetmaster
Vehicle Nickname: Mr. Patron 48
Owner: Donald Tovar
City/State: Hawaiian Gardens, CA
Club: Tovar Brothers
Body/Paint: Beige by Nino Estrada
Suspension: Hoppos hard lined. Whammy tank, two pumps, four dumps, three batteries
Interior: Fleetline upholstery by Blind Mike Perez
Sound System: Alpine head unit, two Fosgate 200-watt amps, two JBL 6x9s, two JBL 81/4s, one 12-inch Fosgate woofer
Wheels/Tires: 14-inch 100-spoke Daytons / 14-inch Premium Sportways