Anyone who's been involved in the lowrider culture for a number of years will tell you that at one point or another they burn out and take a break. The break can last months or even years. After building three Lowrider magazine feature cars, John Herrera did just that: He took a break. John went on hiatus from Lifestyle Car Club and stopped building show-quality rides. He turned his attention to customizing and building Harley-Davidson motorcycles and even had a couple of his builds featured on the pages of Lowrider.
During his hiatus, John received a call from fellow Lifestyle member and good friend Brunik. Brunik was calling to let John know that he'd found a deal on a car that John shouldn't pass up. John explained to him that he wasn't interested in building another car, but Brunik wouldn't take no for answer. After a couple more phone calls John relented and headed down to a used car dealership in East Los Angeles. He spotted the car on the lot and found a completely stock '76 Chevy Caprice Landau. The owner of the dealership greeted him and told him he wanted $400 for the car. With that great price there had to be something wrong. When John asked the dealer if the car ran or had any problems he said the "glasshouse" ran and had no problems. John then asked him why he was letting it go for so cheap, to which the dealer answered, "Who wants a car like this?" With that being said, John paid $400 cash and came back for the car two weeks later. The hiatus was over.
Once the car was home it was time for disassembly. John took care of prepping the body for paint. Because of the rarity of the car, John chose to keep the body mods minimal. Once the body was ready to be sprayed, it was dropped off at Mexico Auto Body where Javier sprayed the car Tangerine over a red base with a lot of gold pearl. Walt Prey added some striping and leafing to the exterior in his unmistakable style.
Monsters Customs took care of the hydraulic setup and made sure everything was not only operational, but also clean and ready to hit the streets. The trunk holds the six yellow-top Optima batteries as well as the chromed-out setup. The frame and suspension parts were detailed with chrome and paint, so when the car is locked up the underpinnings catch your attention. To finish off the suspension, a set of Warren's wire wheels on 5.20 Premium Sportways were put on the Caprice.
After the outside was complete, John moved onto the interior. Santana's took care of wrapping the interior with suede and leather while Danny D. striped and leafed some of the interior panels. John made sure the custom steering wheel, dash, and interior accents were color matched to the exterior. Fellow club member Sorel (aka The Baron) took care of setting up the clean and tucked away Kenwood audio system. The final addition to the interior of the car was the Lifestyle plaque.
John then took out the 400 small-block engine and disassembled it to make sure everything was in working order. The engine was re-assembled with an RV cam and Holly-brand carbs. Hooker headers and a Flowmaster Hushpower exhaust finish off the powerplant. The transmission was rebuilt and put back into the car. Naturally, the engine and transmission received its share of chrome and paint accents to complete the overall theme of the car.
The build took about six years of working on the car when time was allowed. Now that the build is complete, John acknowledges that he couldn't have done it without the support and inspiration of his family as well as Brunik, Sorel, and the rest of his Lifestyle brothers. Special thanks also goes out to the band Led Zeppelin for coming out with the name for John's Shangri-la glasshouse. The car will now be handed down to his two young daughters Vanessa and Isabella. Don't worry John isn't going to take another break from lowriding; he's already started his next project.