Things weren’t easy for Felix.

Growing up in South Central, he was exposed to plenty, but his dreams were powerful enough to keep him aligned. At a young age he had always been influenced by the custom cars he had seen, but his dream of owning a lowrider seemed far and distant.

1967 chevrolet impala convertible top down

Some time later, when he was able to scrape up enough cash, he purchased his first whip, which was a G-body. Shortly after, he changed platforms and started on a Cadillac, but something just didn’t add up. He didn’t feel at home with either of the cars, and that’s when he realized that what he needed was a convertible Impala – a car that was far out of reach for his budget at the time.

One day while revisiting his dreams, Felix mentioned to his friend Walter that he wanted to get into a convertible Impala. He was ready financially and lucky for him Walter happened to own a 1967 rag (the one picture here), but he also wasn’t sure that he wanted to get rid of it. So when the time finally came to part with his beloved Impala he sold it to Felix. “He sold it to me under the condition that I fix it up and not sell it, and that’s exactly what I did,” Felix explains.

1967 chevrolet impala convertible interior

At the time, the car was a running project but everything needed to be redone. The restoration was something that would take years to accomplish, and knowing this, Felix decided to take a leave of absence from his beloved Los Angeles Car Club. He felt that since he wouldn’t have a finished car, he shouldn’t be in the club until it was completed, and while talking about the matter he added, “I didn’t want to be a T-shirt member.”

1967 chevrolet impala convertible chevy 350 motor

During the whole build process, Felix knew that it was just a matter of time before he joined the club again, so he still kept active and helped members in any way he could.

Unknown to him, the build would take him a lot longer than projected. In all, the build took a total of seven years and that was due to the fact that the car was painted a total of three times. Yes … three. The first shop painted the car root beer brown but the paint was blotchy, so he wound up dropping it to another shop to get it repainted and that was a move with disastrous results. When the car came back the second time it was worse than ever and Felix says, “I was trying to save a penny and ended up spending a dollar.”

The third time around, he decided to spend the extra money and go with Mexico Collision Center (MCC). He knew of their work and wanted it done right, so he broke bread and came up with the funds. MCC got the bodywork laser straight and laid the silver paint and installed the hydraulics. The 1967 then was sent to California Upholstery were they did the custom interior, top, and hooked up the essential beat. For performance, Wence’s Auto Shop dropped in the motor with all the chrome work done by Speedy’s Polishing.

1967 chevrolet impala convertible passenger side front fender

With the car done and flying his club plaques, Felix says, “To me, the car is perfect right now. I really like the classy look of it.” Yet at the time of petitioning for re-entry into Los Angeles Car Club, they had made a new club rule stating that they were only taking cars that were 1964 and older. Knowing this, he still showed up and that’s when the club realized that the car was built so well that they made an exception.

1967 chevrolet impala convertible trunk setup

In closing, his dream has been fulfilled, and while he’s enjoying the fruit of his labor he’d be the first one to tell you that “This is really a poor man’s dream come true.”

1967 Chevrolet Impala convertible

Vehicle Nickname
El Siete

Felix Velez

1967 chevrolet impala convertible velez family

Watts, CA

Los Angeles

1967 chevrolet impala convertible walter prosper air intake

350 with Walter Prosper air intake, Edelbrock water pump/intake/carburetor, Hedman headers, billet valve covers, aluminum radiator, dual electric fans, and redtop Optima battery

Axalta gray

1967 chevrolet impala convertible trunk lid

Ford 9-inch and chrome double-whammy pump

Light gray leather with dark gray perforated leather inserts used in the custom interior

1967 chevrolet impala convertible digital gauge cluster

Pioneer deck with Hifonics amps and Kicker L7’s 12-inch subs

13×7 chrome wire wheels