The fascination with the phoenix in Greek mythology should come as no surprise. Its ability to regenerate from the ashes of its former self symbolizes renewal, and it serves as a comparative reference that runs in parallel to our next feature car, nicknamed “The Risen,” and we’ll explain why shortly.
Jesse Cuevas first purchased his Impala 16 years ago from a man out of Columbia, South Carolina. “The owner of the car was practically in tears when I paid for it,” Jesse tells LRM. “It belonged to his brother who had died.”
As soon as he got it back home, Jesse added air suspension but later regretted it and moved onto a hydraulic suspension. Jesse brought the Impala to a stereo shop locally to get some music installed, and on the way back home he noticed a problem. He called the shop and they told him to bring it back in the morning. The very next morning Jesse went to his garage and to his disbelief he saw that the Impala had caught fire overnight. It was back to the drawing board.
Jesse began to rebuild his Chevy out of pride and sheer determination. Problems kept coming up, “I have lost my entire brakes while driving this car at least three times,” Jesse adds, “but nothing will stop me from making this into my dream.” The big step came when he got in contact with Joe Kandy Prado from Texas, who had been referred to him by his good friend Danny Rivera. Joe flew in from Texas and Jesse put him up in his house. The intent was to add one or two lines to the car, but when Joe started doing his thing, Jesse told him to paint the whole car. Sammy “Saco” Acosta was brought in to lay the pinstripe and leafing down before the clearcoat.
Now that the paint was a new Candy Apple Red, the solid white interior just wasn’t matching together. Jesse contacted Gina at Ciadella Interiors for some additions. Through samples back and forth, Jesse found the pattern and style he wanted. After the material was shipped, Jesse found a man named “Tattoo” from Maryland to install it, as well as the convertible top color change. The hydraulic setup was cleaned up adding hard lines and painting the batteries to match the new exterior. The last stop was adding more power to the motor. A Chevy 350 from a 1975 Camaro was added to replace the 305 that was stock and the transmission was upgraded to a 700-R4.
Throughout the 16 years that Jesse has owned his Chevy Impala, many things have tried to keep him and the car down. Like a phoenix, he will keep rising and the Impala will keep getting better.
Jesse wishes to thank first and foremost God and then his wife, Xi, and his kids, Jasmine and Carly, for their love and support. A special thanks goes to his brother David from Old Intentionz Car Club, because without his help none of this would be possible. Jesse would also like to thank all his friends from all different clubs, starting with Danny Rivera and Pat Rowan from Individuals; Rolando Perez; Oscar from Modern Times; Mikey, Blue, and Henry from Just Klownin; and JC from Old Intentionz.
1963 Chevrolet Impala Convertible
Chevy 350, 700-R4 transmission, Edelbrock 1406 carburetor, polished aluminum high risers, serpentine kit with A/C, stainless steel Griffin radiator all done by Old Man Frank from Alexandria, Virginia
House of Kolor Candy Apple Red, Maroon, and Black done by El Joe Kandy Prado from Texas; variegated pinstriping and gold leafing by Sammy “Saco” Acosta from Texas; continental kit; chrome plating by Brent Reese in San Dimas, California; LED rear brake light and LED headlights
Fully wrapped Pitbull frame, four-pump Black Magic setup, 3 1/4-inch block, one Adex dump, two Italian dumps, eight Interstate group 31 batteries, hard lines installed by owner, Danny Rivera, Rolando Perez, and David Cuevas
Custom saddle leather seats sewn by Gina at Ciadella Interiors, installed by “Tattoo” in Upper Marlboro, Maryland; 1959 Impala hardtop cloth inserts; stayfast canvas top with “gangster” rear window; Dakota Digital dash; fiberglass dashboard smoothed by Joe Prado; A/C vents by Pat Rowan
Alpine CDE-HD149BT head unit, JL Audio components, one JL Audio 8-inch W7 subwoofer installed by owner, David Cuevas from Old Intentionz Car Club and Danny Rivera from Individuals
13×7 72-spoke Zenith Wire Wheels two-toned and crosslaced, P155/80R13 Travel Star whitewalls