Some of us are lucky enough to be around Lowriders our entire life. The memories of growing up cruising, attending car shows, and helping family members with their cars represent the Polaroids in the mental scrapbook of those fortunate lifelong Lowriders. Mario Rodriguez of Rancho Cucamonga, California is one of those privileged individuals. As a child, Mario would spend the weekends around his grandfather's shop in East Los Angeles, watching his uncle and grandfather put in work on their customers' Lowriders. Mario soaked up the environment as much as he possibly could, often taking the time to lend his family a helping hand by cleaning up around the shop, or washing cars. Mario was so infatuated with the lifestyle that he didn't care what he was doing, as long as the tasks could keep him around the shop.
Even when Mario wasn't at the shop, he remained close to the cars, spending many afternoons cruising Whittier Boulevard with his uncle and grandfather. The reactions of the passer-byers fascinated him, and became the motivation that he and his brother Marcos would use to one day own one of these magnificent machines of their own. This love affair with Lowriders continues with the brothers to this day. In fact, Mario has owned numerous cars since he got his license, and he remains an avid enthusiast. When it came time to choose his latest project, the choice was easy, as he had kept his eye on a 1968 Impala for quite some time. The hideaway headlights were very appealing to Mario, and he found himself drawn to this classic Chevy. One Sunday at the famous Pomona Swap Meet, Mario ran into Daniel Gallo, who was selling a 1968 Impala. Mario liked what he saw, and made a deal with Daniel to take ownership of the car.
The paint and body work for Mario's build were left in the capable hands of Mexico Collision Center in South Gate, California. Javier aka "Mexico" sprayed the car Indigo Blue, giving it an instant identity. Sun Roof Performers in South Gate installed the 42" moon roof, while George's Auto Upholstery in City of Industry, California redid the interior. A Panasonic head unit was installed in the dash, and two 1000 watt amps were added to push power to a pair of 6x9 speakers, two 6-inch speakers that were installed in the kick panels, and two 10" woofers which are mounted in the trunk.
The small block 350 was rebuilt, and paint and chrome accents were added to the engine and engine block to add some style to the cruiser. Pomona California's San Antonio Polishing took care of all the chrome on the Impala. With the paint, engine, and interior done, the suspension and rolling stock also needed some improvements. M&M Hydraulics in Los Angeles, California supplied the Red's 2 Pump and 8 battery set up. Andy Rivera and Anthony Solis installed the set up, ensuring some hopping power for the big body. Galaxy Wire Wheels provided the 13x7 color matched wheels and mated them to some Cornell Tires.
Mario would like to thank his wife and children for their patience and understanding of his love of Lowriding. Daniel Gallo and Traffic Car Club also get kudos from Mario for their support. Mario and his family are regulars on the streets and shows of Southern California, and this '68 is a frequent trophy winner. As a seasoned veteran of the culture, Mario has a lot of great memories growing up around Lowriders, and has already decided to pass the torch to his own children. He recently built two Lowrider bikes for his daughters, and he has even made them a part of Traffic Bike Club. These days, when the Rodriguez family is at a show, they not only get the Impala ready for judging, they get the girls' bikes ready too.