Story: Evan “Evo” Yates
Photography: Chris Tang
Not unlike the rap game, the world of automotive tuning has benefited many times over from the fusion of styles and methods of execution. While many genres are dope in their own right, they hit even harder with contrasting influence. Think back to when André 3000 and Big Boi did that solo-packaged joint—not bad, but wouldn’t you have just preferred another Outkast album? In that same logic, Lowrod, a term coined for the fusion of Lowrider and hot-rod styling, is a fresh, new trend that’s gaining momentum. And Stockton native Tony Alvarez is keeping it rollin’.
Alvarez, who originally purchased his ’62 Impala nine years ago, sold the slab to his cousin only to witness it rot away, going untouched for years. Six years later, Alvarez repossessed it and decided to go the distance. “I’ve always liked the body style of the ’61–’62 Impalas,” he explains. “They have a more rounded shape than the ’63–’64s.” Having put together a handful of custom old-schools in the past, the vet decided that this would be his masterpiece. “I had a vision of trickin’ this one out and being one of the best out here,” Alvarez explains. “The Lowrod scene is starting to get big, and I figured this Impala was going to be my show winner.”
Opting to keep a distance from stock, Alvarez leaned predominantly on the hot-rod side of the fence for most of the styling and turned to his high school friend Jim Alfiche, at Tail Draggin’ Kustoms, to revamp his ride. “I’d seen a lot of his work, and I went to school with him, so I trust him,” he explains. “He’s done all of my cars.” Alfiche and his crew took control of the complete frame-off restoration exclusively in-house, taking the Impala down to the skeletal metal in preparation for paint. Tail Draggin’ also undercoated the belly, painted the frame and constructed the fiberglass enclosures.
To adhere to the Lowrod plan, executing an updated suspension setup was paramount. For this, Alvarez enlisted the crew at Tail Draggin’ to install a complete air-bag suspension, front and rear sway bars and other fresh componentry. “I can float down the freeway doing 80 with no problems,” he boasts. After achieving the ideal stance, it was fine time to choose some rolling gear to tuck underneath. Alvarez tapped a set of Boyd Coddington Turbine wheels that also hug upgraded disc brakes, ensuring this sexy sled stops on command.
For propulsion, Jim Picetti installed a 380 horsepower 350 SBC with polished Edelbrock heads, roller rockers, intake and carburetor. The small block is mated to a stout 350 transmission, and both the block and tranny are painted green to match the exterior. The exhaust notes play through a set of Saunders Headers and a Flowmaster exhaust system.
A humble man, Alvarez will tell you his ride wasn’t built for stuntin’. Its main purpose is to put Stockton on the map, giving his family something to enjoy in the process. “I love to see my sons’ faces when they see the car,” he says. “They always help me get it ready for shows and answer questions about it when we are out.” With his fam satisfied and the streets buzzin’, Alvarez’s mixed-up mentality has built a “hybrid” the custom scene can finally grow enviously green over.
Spec The Technique:
Performance: 350 SBC; polished Edelbrock heads, roller rockers, intake and carburetor; 350 transmission; Saunders headers with Flowmaster exhaust; electric fans; polished Northern radiator
Interior: Grey ultra leather with suede inserts and suede headliner; Bentley carpet done at 209Kustoms by Mike Cabrera; Billet Specialties window and door handles; fiberglass trunk lid and package tray
Exterior: House of Kolors Candy Lime Time Green and Platinum Silver paint; filled emblems; painted frame; all-new bumpers and trim redone by Unique Chrome of Stockton
Ice: Pioneer DVD/navi head unit; Optima battery; Rockford Fosgate amplifiers, two 10-inch subwoofers, two 6x9s and two 5.25s, installed by Mark A. Lovecchio, Jr.
Wheels/Tires: 20×8.5-inch front, 22×10-inch rear Boyd Coddington Turbine wheels; Nexen tires, 225/30/20 front, 265/30/22 rear
As seen in the December/January 2011 issue of RIDES Magazine!