Born in Bogota, Columbia, Jose Cruz has always had a fascination for the Chevy culture and lowriding. It was a fascination that began as a young man and one that officially started when he first moved to the United States and purchased his first 1963 Impala, which he eventually sold. Soon thereafter he purchased a 1964 Impala SS convertible. But when he moved from Rhode Island to South Florida, he sold it and picked up a 1966. Following that, he found himself the owner of a 1980 Caprice, followed by yet another 1964. For Jose, there was just something magical about the Chevy brand. He wasn’t only a die-hard spectator, but a player in the game whose past car-buying history is enough proof.
After selling his last 1964, Jose wanted something he hadn’t yet put his mark on, so he opted for a 1957 Chevy Bel Air being sold at an estate sale. The original owner was liquidating all of his vehicles because he was moving. According to Jose, “It was an older restoration that hadn’t been really well taken care of.”
The first order of importance was to check all the vitals. All the fluids were flushed, a brand-new battery was dropped in, and a simple tune-up was enough to get it running strong. Kenny’s Upholstery then had the job of bringing the interior back to life. A digital dash replaced the once-archaic analog unit while a smaller steering wheel (similar to the stock one) was installed. James McHugh and Martian gave the behemoth an altitude adjustment by installing a full Black Magic whammy tank into the trunk. Outside, Keoni Teixera, a fellow member of 25th Street Riders, threw on some House of Kolor candy to the side inserts, trunk panels, as well as a Continental kit for a one-off look.
Jose wishes to thank his beautiful family, including his wife, Matilde, and two sons, Pedro and Carlos. Without their support none of this would have been possible. His son Carlos seems to have already caught on. As the owner of a 1959 and 1963, they’re both magazine-worthy contenders who have already landed features on the pages of Lowrider, and we can’t wait to see what they come up with next.
1957 Chevy Bel Air
25th Street Riders
283 small-block, electric fan, generator changed to alternator, disc brakes
Matador Red leafing and patterns painted by Keoni Texiera, House of Kolor Candy Apple Red with silver basecoat on rear, chrome and gold plating by Krazy Kutting, Halogen LED lights
Black Magic whammy tanks engraved by Krazy Kutting, four Blue-Top Optima Marine gel batteries located behind the rear seats, hardlines done by Martian, custom Felix oil filler cap, old-style faucet slowdowns, six-switch panel engraved by Krazy Kutting
Ciadella interior kit, red and silver vinyl, red carpeting, all installed by Kenny’s Upholstery
Custom Autosound radio
13×7 88-spoke Dayton Wire Wheels, Premium 5.20 tires