When 25-year-old Gabino Perez and his brother Hector of Compton, California, decided to build this '84 Buick Regal, their concept was quite different from what you see here. The Latin World-L.A. Car Club members' original plan was to build the Buick plain and simple, but instead they ended up building "Baraja de Oro" (literally "The Golden Cards"), a winning hand in any game. "It wasn't hard at all since restoring vehicles is Hector's hobby," says Gabino, who also had a hand in the 11/2-year frame-off restoration.

Hector wanted a 3.8-liter Buick Grand National engine for the Regal but "I went through hell until I finally found an '86," relates Hector. Then, Julio of Julio's Auto Paint in Compton sprayed the engine block House of Kolor candy apple red. Hector purchased most of the new engine parts, including a special-order Edelbrock 600-cfm carburetor and intake manifold, from Team C High Performance in Bellflower, California.

Before assembly, virtually every engine component was gold plated by Juan Serrano of Golden Plating in Santa Fe Springs, California, or polished by Cesar and Tony at Cesar's Plating in Wilmington, California. The custom air cleaner was engraved by Easy in Long Beach, California, with the king of hearts playing cards. A Turbo 350 tranny with a shift kit was bolted up to the engine.

Meanwhile, More Bounce Hydraulics was reinforcing the frame and making the "cutouts" for the cylinders while Julio stripped the Buick's body to the bone in preparation of a mild metal massage and fresh new paint. Then the frame and body were given a gold basecoat and Julio applied copious coats of House of Kolor candy apple red. Next, Danny Galvez of D&D Design in Baldwin Park, California, came in and laid on some fine-line pinstriping with gold-leaf scrolls and accents for the finishing touches.

Next, Hector and Gabino installed the all-gold steering, braking and suspension components, including extended and molded front A-arms and a reinforced and molded rear axle, done by Danny Ruiz. The hydraulics was next with Hector, Davis Escobar and Oscar Tovar doing the work including installing a pair of gold More Bounce (MB) 8-inch cylinders and 3-ton MB springs up front, and matching 10-inch More Bounce cylinders and 1-ton MB springs on the rear. A set of 13x7 gold Daytons with candy apple red spokes and Premium Sportway skinny whitewalls were then mounted up.

Four all-gold More Bounce pumps make up the heart of the hookup, with 21/2-inch ported blocks, one square and two Hydro-Aire dumps and steel-braided #8 hoses and gold pressure plates, engraved with the More Bounce logo and the king of hearts card. A total of 10 Trojan deep cycle batteries (mounted in gold battery racks and covered with red Plexiglas) power the pumps, with 10 solenoids ensuring trouble-free system control and four switches providing front, back, side-to-side and pancake moves.

The interior was next, so the Regal was taken to Compton Auto Trim in Compton, where Santos and Junior performed their upholstery magic. Tan leather was used to recover the power seats, door panels and sunvisors. Under foot, gray plush carpet and matching floor mats complement the interior with a gold-spoke leather Nardi steering wheel replacing its factory counterpart. The woodgrain dash was also restored to new and all of the interior brightwork received a gold dip. A moonroof was also installed for an added touch of luxury.An "upgrade" to the factory sound system was needed to complete the project. Joey Becerra at Big Pun Audio in Long Beach handled the task adding a Rockford Fosgate Punch power amp, custom door panel and kick panel speaker pods, two 12-inch JL Audio woofers, six Alpine tweeters and four Alpine mids.

Hector and Gabino certainly played their cards right when they put together this 24-karat Buick that is truly regal. But Hector isn't "standing pat," he's already got another Regal in the works that he says will top this one. We'll just have to wait and see if it's in the cards. ,

Baraja de Oro
Owner: Gabino Perez
Vehicle: '84 Buick Regal
City/State: Compton, California
Club: Latin World-Los Angeles
Engine: 3.8-liter Buick Grand National with special-order Edelbrock carburetor and intake manifold
Setup: Four gold More Bounce pumps with 2 1/2-inch ported og blocks, one square and two Hydro-Aire dumps, 8-inch (front) and 10-inch (rear) More Bounce cylinders, 10 Trojan batteries, 10 solenoids, four switches
Tires: P155/80-R13 Premium Sportway
Wheels: 13x7 gold Dayton with red spokes