When Juan Cardenas found a 1965 Impala for sale he suffered from a serious lack of funds. It was the platform he’d dreamt of building, so he parted with his 1976 and 1979 Monte Carlos to make the deal happen. Traveling from Albuquerque, New Mexico, to El Paso, Texas, Juan picked up the runner in good overall condition. In fact, the car was in good enough condition that with a bit of cleaning and minor tuning he was able to enjoy the car for a few years, all the while burning the midnight oil and planning his next moves.

With enough funds saved up, it was time to begin the teardown. The motor and transmission were sent out to be rebuilt, the shell shipped off to Albuquerque Classics, and the interior brought back to life by Victor’s Upholstery. Inside, a complete Kenwood system fills the cabin with auditory excellence, while a pair of 12-inch subs can be found in the trunk surrounded by components for the air-ride system. Of course, the final blow comes from striking the knockoffs that torque down the black-spoke OG wire wheels. In its final form is a car that he refers to as “The Midnight Dream.”

It’s a striking 1965 that flaunts sleek body lines and a snug stance, but its deep paintjob is merely a reflection of the journey it took to get there and the family who always backed him. Without them, this would have been nothing short of a just a dream.

1965 Chevrolet Impala

Juan & Carmen Cardenas

Albuquerque, NM

Sangre Unida

350 small-block with Proform black valve covers and air cleaner, Edelbrock carburetor and Kinetik battery

PPG Midnight Blue

Air-ride with a 5-gallon tank and two ViAir compressors

Combination of blue suede and black vinyl

Kenwood stereo, a single 1,000-watt Kenwood amp, four Kenwood speakers, and two 12-inch Alpine subwoofers

13×7 OG Wires with Milestar 155/85-13

Wife Carmen; daughters Marissa, Anahi, and Lanay; Polo’s Fleet Maintenance; Albuquerque Classics; Electro Plating; Victors Upholstery; Roy Gallegos