The old adage “If you love something, set it free. If they come back, they’re yours” is something that sets the tone for our next story because Andre Bardelas did just that. A custom lowrider builder for over a decade, he’s built some phenomenal rides, including the game-changing 1995 Cadillac named “Levels to the Game”—a vehicle that landed a feature in our Mar. ’17 issue.
It was during that build that he began running out of space, so he had no other option than to sell his 1963 Impala that he originally purchased from a seller in Florida. Ten years later, Andre got word that the Impala was back up for sale by the owner, but there was one catch: the owner didn’t want to sell it back to him. Not phased or concerned by the terms of the sale, he was determined to get his car back, so he gave cash to his friend, Jose. The seller asked if Jose was buying it for Andre, and we all know how the story goes from there. Jose said, “No it’s for me,” and the deal was done.
Upon its return, Andre was surprised to see that the Impala was in the exact same condition as when he sold it. Laughing, Andre refers to the separation as “10 years of free storage,” and he couldn’t be more right. He brought the car directly to a warehouse owned by Classic Angels. The storage facility is not only the resting place for their club cars but a safe environment where new life is ushered into once-forgotten classics. From there, the Chevy was completely broken down to nuts and bolts in what looked like a fullsize Revel model that had fallen from its box.
From the start the Chevy had no motor, so Andre decided to drop in an LS1 motor out of a 2003 Corvette. Prior to installation, he had the block painted factory cream while the components were either polished or chromed. Outside, Classic Angels’ paint master, Craig Coon, painted the exterior. The highlight of this paintjob is his specialized use of yellows, golds, and oranges for a custom roof that sets it off. But the details don’t stop there. Inside the trunk one will find a four-pump hydraulic setup; get down low and you’ll find that the entire undercarriage has been chrome plated.
With a build time of only a year and a half, Andre would like to thank his club for helping him build his dream car. Interestingly enough, his Impala has never seen or been to a “shop” in the tenure of his ownership, and it’s a build that’s been established on pride, culture, and the support of his loving wife, Melissa.
Andre would like to send a special thanks to Jose, Pincho, Gringo, Eric, Oney, Sumo, Erock, and Isaac for all their help with the build. With his car built and ready to ride, he’s also got a 1958 that’s well on its way to becoming yet another showstopper worthy of his last name, so we’ll sit back and wait as his story continues to unfold.
1963 Chevy Impala
LS1 and 4L60E transmission, full Street & Performance accessories, Griffin radiator for cooling, Vintage Air A/C
Corona Cream paint, top is multiple layers of House of Kolor candy paint by Craig “Gringo” Coon, shaved firewall, painted floorpans
Fully wrapped and powdercoated black frame, full chrome suspension, custom lift, Toyota rearend, custom-molded A-arms with Caprice spindles, four High Hitter pumps, double-piston pumps to the front, 14 Deka batteries, undercarriage chrome plating by Action Plating
Full all-black Cars 1 interior kit, Dakota Digital dash
Two 10-inch Kicker comp CVR subwoofers, two 6×9-inch in custom rear deck, two 6-inch custom kick panels, Sony head unit, 1,000-watt Kicker amplifier
13×7 72-spoke custom black and chrome Zenith wire wheels, P155/80R13 Firestone FR 380s