Location: El Charro Restaurant in Tucson, Arizona
Hand-me-downs aren’t always a good thing. That beat-up ’85 Honda with 130,000 miles that blows smoke when you take off isn’t really happening. Corduroys from your older brother that don’t make that swishing sound when you walk aren’t really happening either. But Billy Ruiz lucked out when his father handed him the keys to this ’52 Chevy pickup.
Billy’s grandfather purchased the truck in 1954. The truck did what trucks were bought to do in those days-work. When he squeezed all the work that he possibly could out of it, it was passed down to Billy’s father who started restoring it. It was given a Maroon paintjob and was better than a work truck when it was done. The bumpers were gray with no chrome, so it wasn’t flashy, but it was clean. Sometime later the truck was handed off to Billy, who drove it back and forth to school. Billy has many fond memories of driving it then, especially with all the attention it got.
At first Billy had no intention of building a lowrider but instead wanted to build a street rod, which is something he could drive every day. After hanging out with friends who had lowriders, and going to a couple of lowrider shows, the lowrider bell rang in his head. Like Pavlov’s dogs, the look and sound of a lowrider had Billy hooked. He was impressed with the camaraderie and the sense of community, so he began the journey of making the truck into a lowrider. Billy has no regrets about doing it. What he wound up with was a clean truck that made his dad proud. There have been occasions when Billy has thought about selling the truck, but now he’s decided to keep it in the family. He figures in a couple of years he can give it to his 8-year old son so that someday he can carry on the family heirloom. He can only hope that his son makes him as proud as he’s made his dad. Plus, like most lowrider projects, there are plenty of things that he wants to add to the car in the meantime-like some more chrome and undercarriage detailing. Billy plays guitar in a local Tucson mariachi band when he’s not working on his car, and in case you were wondering that’s where the name “El Mariachi Loco” comes from. Billy may be crazy, but he’s certainly not stupid. He’s keeping this clean ’52 all in the family and making beautiful music on the streets of Tucson.
El Mariachi LocoOwner: Billy RuizVehicle: ’52 Chevy 3100 pickupCity/State: Tucson, ArizonaClub: Old Memories
Engine/Drivetrain: 235-cid inline-six supported by Fenton headers and a 1 1/2-inch exhaust. Chrome side covers, valve cover, and air cleaner provide the engine compartment with some shine.
Body/Paint: The Sherwin-Williams Metallic Lilac paint covers the body and Wildberry graces the cab and fenders. Andy Sanchez of Tucson did the bodywork and paint. All of the trim, bumpers, and grille were chromed at Ideal Plating in Tucson.
Interior: Jose Luis at Chevy Classics in Tucson, stitched the gray velour interior, new carpet, and covered the door panels.
Sound System: The owner installed a Pioneer head unit in the glovebox and a Pioneer amp for some tunes. A component set of Infinity speakers were installed in the door panels.
Setup: Chevy Classics in Tucson installed the two-pump hydraulic system. The cylinders are 6-inch units in the front and 8-inch units in the back controlled by five switches. Four Optima batteries located underneath the bed supply the power.
Tires: 13-inch 5.20 Premium Sportways
Wheels: 13×7 Dayton Wire wheels