Our wonderful Lowrider culture is truly diverse in nature. The love for candy, chrome, and customization unites us all, speaking a universal language to enthusiasts from all walks of life, and all parts of the globe. Take the story of this month's cover car owner, for example. Even though he lives in an area primarily known for its sun and surf, Oahu's own Wilson Montemayor is keeping Lowrider tradition alive and well, bringing us this impeccable 1963 Chevy Impala. Somebody once told us that lowriding was dead in Hawaii, but if Wilson's '63 Chevy is any indication of the Aloha State's building prowess, boy were they wrong. In fact, Hawaiians have been active in lowriding for many years, diligently putting in work on countless vehicles just like their mainland counterparts. For those skeptics out there who still question the authenticity of the Lowrider lifestyle found in Hawaii, just remember that "cruise" in Hawaiian slang means "to relax and hang out," so while they talk the talk, they also walk the walk when it comes to hitting the boulevard. Let's take a trip with Wilson Montemayor in his 1963 Chevy Impala convertible, as he pops the hood to show us how this beautiful classic came together.
Wilson's Impala first caught our attention at C&L Customs of Sylmar, CA, as it was initially being rebuilt. Chino and Lolo of C&L Customs made sure to leave no bolt unturned, as this custom restoration was pulled off the frame and given the utmost attention to detail. After bringing back the convertible from Vegas, Chino and Lolo decided this was the right move, in order to allow them to properly reinforce the stress points. Once the color was dialed in, the frame was painted, so as to match the car's body when it received its paintjob. Thankfully, only minor work needed to be done on the body, so it was a piece of cake for team C&L to get the project moving right along.
The ragtop received a GM Performance Crate Motor which featured paint to match the exterior. Several bolt on performance items included an Edelbrock Endurashine aluminum intake, and a 650CFM Holley carburetor combination. A Matson aluminum radiator with dual Spal pull fans was used to keep the car cool during those long Honolulu summers. Performance billet accessories were used for the engine compartment, including chrome valve covers and March Performance serpentine pulleys with brackets. The complete engine compartment, including the upper radiator hose, was hard lined with the intent of keeping it looking nice and neat. Gary Jensen of Las Vegas accented and pinstripped the already painted engine compartment, including a design of Wilson's car club plaque to be seen permanently. Bold move, you say? You bet, but an easy decision for Wilson, as he has no plans of ever selling this one-of-a-kind lowrider. The small block engine was sure to give the drive train fits, so to counteract this potential problem, a 350 Turbo transmission was used to lessen the stress on the vehicle.
Given the amount of work that was performed under the hood, the car was also upgraded with a fully-chromed front disc brake setup, and the chrome didn't stop there. With even more chrome on Wilson's mind, the engine compartment was accented with a triple chrome dosage that can be seen on the fender wells, hood hinges and all throughout the engine compartment. The under carriage also received a dosage of chrome, thanks to the experts at La Habra Plating in Brea, CA. This touch of chrome helped to break up the eye-popping, solid, three-stage red paint that was liberally used throughout the car, giving the '63 the perfect balance of style and substance.
Now that the car had taken on its exterior identity, it was time to breathe life into the inside of the Chevy. The tan leather interior was installed by the Millan Brothers in Reseda, CA, who wrapped the bucket seats and rear seat in a gorgeous tan color that perfectly complemented the red tone of the vehicle. Some interior modernizations included a Dakota Digital dash, and custom kick panels that housed the Pioneer mid- range speakers. A B&M shifter was also incorporated into the stock center console for comfort and performance. The Hawaii convertible features a custom trunk that showcases a best-of-both-worlds setup that enables onlookers to see the hydraulic setup, while also feasting their eyes on an incredible sound system that sounds clear when Wilson cranks up the volume. The trunk has a whammy style set up to allow for plenty of space to encase the audio components and the batteries. The batteries themselves were hidden underneath the fiberglass panels, which were painted to match the exterior of the vehicle. The tub of the trunk was used to house the amplifiers, which provide the thump to Wilson's Pioneer speakers. Chino of C&L was once again asked to help with the trunk, and he did so expertly, hand crafting all of the fiberglass panels to make sure that this car became a custom in every sense of the word.
This ten-month project unfolded amazingly well, thanks to Wilson's concise vision for the '63, and the high quality customization work that was performed by a few truly talented individuals. After all of the details were dialed in, the car was put on the container and shipped to Wilson's home island of Oahu. Though he lives some 2,550 miles from Los Angeles, Wilson made it a point to tell us that, "Growing up, Lowrider Magazine has always been an important part of my life when it comes to cars. I always admired the featured cars and always wished I could own a car worthy to be in the magazine as well." Quick to give credit where it is due, he also states that his wife played a big roll in choosing the color and interior combo for the car. It's obvious that Wilson is a true Lowrider pioneer and a proud member of his community, stating in his own words that, "the car being featured as a cover car from Hawaii is icing on the cake." If you're ever on the island of Oahu in Hawaii, you might catch Wilson cruising the avenues of Honolulu with his car club in that beautiful, yearlong summer weather. If you do happen to catch a glimpse of him in this beautiful '63, make sure to give him a "thumbs up" for keeping the lifestyle alive in Hawaii. Mahalo, Wilson! Thanks for your beautiful addition to our glorious culture.
The Time Machine
Owner: Wilson Montemayor
Vehicle: 1963 Chevrolet Impala convertible
City/State: Honolulu, Hawaii
Club: Timeless Classics CC
Engine: GM Performance Crate Motor, Matson aluminum radiator with dual Spal pull fans, performance billet accessories, chrome valve covers and March Performance serpentine pulleys and brackets
Body/Paint: Three-stage PPG candy red with accented pinstripping by Gary Jensen
Suspension: Two C&L Hydraulic aluminum pumps, whammy tank reservoir and 6 31-series trojan batteries
Wheels: 13x7 96 spoke wheels with custom painted spokes to match.