Where was Fred Perez, the school teacher, when I was growing up? You might remember Fred as the Ft. Lupton, CO school teacher that loves to teach kids English by letting them read Lowrider. The only encouragement that I ever received from a school counselor was that I would grow up to work at a Mc Donald's. I think what she meant was that one day I might own a Mc Donald's franchise, which is not a bad thing in life, but needless to say I would have certainly benefitted from having an educator like Fred in my life!
Besides his passion for teaching, Fred also has an affinity for Lowriders, as he and his wife own their fair share of original cars. Any chance that Fred gets, he will use his custom-built classics to encourage and motivate his students, as he considers them to be a part of his extended family. Fred is especially enamored with Bombs, as he is the Denver chapter President of Old Memories Car Club. Fred's '54 is certainly a work of art, and it represents a labor of love for this Lowrider enthusiast. "I found this truck in 1999, sitting next to a farm house," Fred says. "They had three trucks for sale at the time, but I chose the '54 truck because it had a different grill. I also chose this truck because it needed the most work out of the three to restore," he quips. With his eye on the prize, Fred negotiated with the owner to buy the truck for a measly $300! In Fred's own words, here's the story of how the '54 truck known as "El Profe" came to life.
"I thought it was a fair price, as the driver's side door would fall off when you tried to open it, anad they had welded a thick sheet of metal to replace the original wood in the bed. After buying the truck from the farmer and getting the truck home, the first thing I had to do was disassemble the whole truck. With the help of my son, Freddy, and my dad, Chon Perez, we took the frame and body parts to get sandblasted by Dick Stalcup at Fredrich, Colorado. After that was done, my son Freddy sprayed the primer, and then painted the frame black. I reinstalled the rear and front suspension, and while it was disassembled, I took advantage of the situation and installed new brakes. I figured I should make sure that the truck would stop properly while we moved it around."
"The next step in the build was to do all of the Sheetmetal work on the truck, and that was done by Dan and Brent over at Crown Metal Products. Once the welding was done, it was time to get the fenders, doors, hood, cab and bed ready for paint. With the help of my Dad during the summer break, we got the truck ready for primer, as we sanded four to five times in between coats to make sure that the body was straight as an arrow for paint. When it was ready for paint, I had Emilio Rubio spray it in an Adobe Beige and Moss Green PPG finish. The fine line stripping was done by Scott of Creative Signs of Platteville."
Fred also mentioned that while the car was being painted, he continued his progress with the project. As the whole truck was left waiting for the paint to cure and reassemble, the engine was sent out to Napa Auto Parts. They cleaned and machined the stock 235 block and head. He also had this to say about 89-year-old engine guru Leonard Lehman of Westminster, Co:
"I learned a lot from this man on how to assemble an engine. The engine block and head were painted in that Battleship Grey before we started assembling.
Leonard also adjusted the in line six's valves to .008 intake and .013 on the exhaust, which makes the truck run great." It also helped that Fred had split the manifolds with 12-inch glass packs, all installed by Marty at Ken's Classic Muffler.