While most 12-year-old kids played with friends and explored the neighborhood, Ismael “Chico” Garcia chose a different route and instead would help his neighbor wash, wax, and polish his 1954 Chevy Bel Air. Hours were spent getting a perfect mirror finish and as a reward Chico’s neighbor let him ride shotgun as they cruised to the park to show off the vintage ride. It didn’t take long for Chico to catch the classic car bug. Among the styles he favored was lowriding, which is why he made sure to always be the first one to get his hands on the latest issue of Lowrider magazine.

As a rite of passage, teenage Chico finally bought his first car, a 1968 Impala. He enjoyed the ride while it lasted. Unfortunately Chico wrecked the car, but he quickly moved on and purchased a 1972 Impala, which he cruised until he graduated high school. As life would have it, important decisions led him to sell the Impala, join the United States Marine Corps, and start a family.

After serving more than two decades in the Marines, Chico finally dove back into the car scene. For his return he knew he wanted a bomb with a German Helmet, but the prices were high, so he started with a 1954 Chevy Bel Air hardtop, which he later traded for a 1948 Chevy Coupe that he ended up selling. Then, at last, Chico fulfilled his dream of owning a 1947 Chevy German Helmet, a car he affectionally named “Gertrude,” aka Herrtuda.

It was in good shape but Chico wanted to make the vintage ride his own. Over the following two years, he rebuilt the Chevy 235 engine, added airbags, fixed up the front and rear end, and bought brand-new whitewall tires. The bomb was painted a vintage mint green with a steering wheel to match. Chico kept the interior authentic and original. Now he spends his well-deserved time off cruising the streets of Southern California with his wife in the car he dreamt about since he was a kid.

1947 Chevrolet

Gertrude “Herrtuda”

Ismael “Chico” Garcia

Slow Lane Familia

Escondido, CA

1957 235 with original three-speed transmission

Original factory materials with woodgrain dash and trim

Two-tone Mint Green

C-notched rearend with rebuilt frontend powered by an iLevel air setup

165/15 Coker tires with 3-inch whitewalls