The Risen

HOW SET­BACKS BE­CAME THE SETUP FOR SUC­CESS

Low Rider - - CONTENTS - STORY & PHO­TOS BY PHIL GOR­DON

Jesse Cuevas' '63 Chevy Im­pala con­vert­ible

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 LR. “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 '75 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.

A multi car club of friends' help goes a long way to get this '63 Rag on the streets of Vir­ginia.

1963 IM­PALA CON­VERT­IBLE BY CHEVRO­LET

This "come­back con­vert­ible" has cruised through many tri­als and tribu­la­tions to get here!

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