Model: Natalin Avci
Makeup by Val@iconimage.com
Booking by Icon Models/Valentino Manage
Growing up in the heart of Compton during the '70s and '80s was not an easy task. For many, it served as an environment fraught with guns, drugs, and gang violence. Fortunately for Dee, the city immortalized by gritty hip-hop records during rap's golden age provided much more than that. The notorious city served as a backdrop for Dee's introduction into the positive world of the Lowrider Movement. Surrounded by lowriders from an early age, Dee recalls a particularly influential '57 ragtop that belonged to Droopy from the storied MafiaIVLife Car Club. He remembers the car being a fern green color with subtle tape shades, a bit different from the popular colors at the time. Dee says the car was well-known from its numerous appearances on the streets of the neighborhood as well as the many nights it spent on the legendary Crenshaw Blvd. This notable '57 even appeared on the cover of rapper Mack 10's album "Based on a True Story."
The car made quite an impression on Dee; so much that he knew one day he would have to have a '57 Bel-Air Convertible to call his own. Dee finally found the '57 he had longed for as a youth, in fact, he found the '57 he once dreamed about in those teenage years. It was the same car he grew up idolizing. The MafiaIVLife was for sale, presenting an excited Dee with a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity of literally buying his childhood dream car. He immediately seized the moment and purchased the Bel-Air, intending to overhaul it, and make it his own.
After acquiring the convertible, it was taken to the legendary John Kennedy of Bowtie Connection, based out of Torrance, California to begin its transformation. Dee hired John to oversee the entire project, as the car needed a complete major makeover. In order to start a new chapter in the car's life and give the car its own identity, Dee knew it was critical to give the exterior an entirely new paint job. The prep work was done by Fuzzy, who made sure that the car became a bare shell of its former self. Once the car was ready for its next phase, John shipped the car to Holix Auto Body of Harbor City. After it arrived there, Kasa and Nino took on the task of preparing the classic winged tri-five. The '57 was then given brand new Cars Inc. floors, installed to replace the factory ones that were crudely cut out to allow the old hydraulics to work. Now that all of the metalwork was done on the Bel-Air, it was sent off to the painter, so he could work his magic. The paint crew started off by spraying the Chevy with a two-stage PPG Mercedes silver that was spread throughout the entire car. This included the engine, the engine compartment, even the trunk of the ragtop. The car was then buffed and shipped back to the Bowtie Connection, where it was reassembled.
While the car was stripped and broken down, John made a great call to take advantage of the situation and sent out all of the trim to Sergio of Metal Finishes of Los Angeles, so that he could plate everything. John's crew then began the task of bolting on the refurbished trim, including the spotlight mirrors, factory power windows and vent windows of the '57. The body received a new frame with modern suspension, which included a 605 gearbox and CPP tubular arms, an ABS electric brake booster, as well as a Ford 9-inch rear end to handle the torque from the LS1.