From Colom­bia With Love

HOW AN OB­SES­SION WITH THE CHEVY BRAND AND LOWRIDING CRE­ATED THIS DROP-TOP CRUISER

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

Jose Cruz's '57 Chevy Bel Air

Born in Bo­gotá, Columbia, Jose Cruz has al­ways had a vis­ual ef­fect for the Chevy cul­ture and lowriding. It was a fas­ci­na­tion that be­gan as a young man and one that of­fi­cially started when he first moved to the United States and pur­chased his first '63 Im­pala, which he even­tu­ally sold. Soon there­after he pur­chased a '64 Im­pala SS convertible. But when he moved from Rhode Is­land to South Florida, he sold it and picked up a '66. Fol­low­ing that, he found him­self the owner of an '80 Caprice, fol­lowed by yet an­other '64. For Jose, there was just some­thing mag­i­cal about the Chevy brand. He wasn’t only a die-hard spec­ta­tor, but a player in the game whose past car-buy­ing his­tory is enough proof.

Af­ter sell­ing his last '64, Jose wanted some­thing he hadn’t yet put his mark on, so he opted for a '57 Chevy Bel Air be­ing sold at an es­tate sale. The orig­i­nal owner was liq­ui­dat­ing all of his ve­hi­cles be­cause he was mov­ing. Ac­cord­ing to Jose, “It was an older restora­tion that hadn’t been re­ally well taken care of.”

The first order of im­por­tance was to check all the vi­tals. All the flu­ids were flushed, a brand-new bat­tery was dropped in, and a

simple tune-up was enough to get it run­ning strong. Kenny’s Up­hol­stery then had the job of bring­ing the in­te­rior back to life. A digital dash re­placed the once-archaic ana­log unit while a smaller steer­ing wheel (sim­i­lar to the stock one) was in­stalled. James McHugh and Mar­tian gave the be­he­moth an al­ti­tude ad­just­ment by in­stalling a full Black Magic whammy tank into the trunk. Out­side, Keoni Teix­era, a fel­low mem­ber of 25th Street Rid­ers, threw on some House of Kolor candy to the side in­serts, trunk pan­els, as well as a Con­ti­nen­tal kit for a one-off look.

Jose wishes to thank his beau­ti­ful family, in­clud­ing his wife, Matilde, and two sons,

Pe­dro and Car­los. Without their sup­port none of this would have been pos­si­ble. His son Car­los seems to have al­ready caught on. As the owner of a '59 and '63, they’re both mag­a­zine-wor­thy con­tenders who have al­ready landed fea­tures on the pages of Lowrider, and we can’t wait to see what they come up with next.

Florida Bel Air drop-top '57.

Jose and his fas­ci­na­tion— and his first '63 as well.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.