Lev­els to the Game

Ben Cole­man's '75 Chevy Caprice con­vert­ible

Low Rider - - CONTENTS - STORY & PHO­TOS BY HEC­TOR LEYVA

For most, the process of build­ing a lowrider is typ­i­cally the same. We find a car we like and lit­tle by lit­tle we turn our dreams into re­al­ity. It’s a story that’s been told time and time again and in the end it winds up feel­ing like we’re back in the ed­u­ca­tion sys­tem and grad­u­at­ing from one stage to the next.

At first we save up for a two-stage paintjob, and from there we grad­u­ate into pearls and flakes. Then there are the ad­ven­tur­ous few who will go on to earn a master’s de­gree by en­ter­ing the world of cus­tom candy pat­terns and pin­strip­ing. But for the lucky few, the jour­ney isn’t nec­es­sar­ily one that in­volves an evo­lu­tion of up­grades, but rather a change in ma­jor and the start of a fresh, new plat­form. Such is the story of Ben Cole­man of Las Ve­gas.

Ben orig­i­nally be­gan by restor­ing an '85 Chevy Caprice but quickly de­cided to move onto an '82 Buick Re­gal. His as­cen­sion con­tin­ued when he traded up for the cov­eted “Glasshouse”—ar­guably one of

lowrider’s most pop­u­lar mod­els ever made. While the newly ac­quired '76 Caprice gave Ben a glimpse of what the lowrider moun­tain­top looked like, deep down he knew his climb wasn’t quite over.

You see, he couldn’t fully en­joy the view while en­closed in a hard­top; and while the '76 held a spe­cial place in his heart, he knew his climb was far from over and wouldn’t be com­pleted with­out land­ing a highly cov­eted con­vert­ible. In fact,

Ben was so fond of that hard­top that when he was fi­nally able to ac­quire the prized con­vert­ible, he de­cided to build an ex­act replica of the “Glasshouse” he had pre­vi­ously owned.

Hav­ing gone through the process once prior, he knew ex­actly what to do. In an al­most rit­u­al­is­tic pat­tern, the in­te­rior was shipped off to Wiz­ard’s in Las Ve­gas where the seats were re­done in '63 Im­pala stitch­ing and pat­terns with '59 Im­pala fac­tory in­serts. The in­te­rior was fur­ther up­graded with molded kick pan­els and match­ing painted ac­cents. Lil Greg of TKO Cus­toms dug up the for­mula for his cus­tom Au­tumn Cop­per color orig­i­nally cre­ated for Ben’s “Glasshouse,” while legendary artist Gary Jensen was called upon once again to lay down some cop­per leaf­ing and pin­stripe lines, which would flow among the ve­hi­cle’s dis­tinct body­lines.

The con­vert­ible’s restora­tion con­tin­ued with a com­plete chrome sus­pen­sion, new Zenith wire wheels, and a hy­draulic setup fea­tur­ing a two-pump whammy tank, hard lines, four dumps, and four switches, all cus­tom built by the lo­cal Ve­gas team at Black Magic Hy­draulics. And as Ben sits perched atop the moun­tain of car cus­tomiza­tion, many would say he’s now en­joy­ing the view, but we think oth­er­wise be­cause know­ing Ben he’s sim­ply look­ing for an­other moun­tain to con­quer.

The Caprice con­vert­ible was dis­con­tin­ued in 1975. That year, 8,350 found buy­ers, and one of those few rep­re­sents Street­wise in Ve­gas.

CAR MODEL 1975 CAPRICE CLAS­SIC CON­VERT­IBLE BY CHEVRO­LET

A touch of '63 and '59 in­te­rior in­serts add some nos­tal­gia to this clas­sic ride.

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