Hair & Makeup: Nicole Woods
If there is one thing that almost all Lowrider builds have in common, it's the fact that there's always some sort of influence or motivating factor behind the build itself. In many cases, it can be a death in the family, a build for a spouse, or even a lifelong love affair with a certain make or model. In the case of Alex Garza's '77 Monte Carlo, the motivation stemmed from a promise. Alex's quest for the perfect Monte began as he decided to look for a car to build after one of his good friends, a friend with whom he used to ride motorcycles with, was killed by a drunk driver while riding his motorcycle. Herein lies the promise; Alex gave his word to his wife and mom after the tragedy that he would never again ride street bikes, and that he would instead build himself a Lowrider.
An honorable man, building a Lowrider was a great way to keep Alex out of harm's way for his family's sake, while simultaneously preserving his identity as a true auto enthusiast. "Lowriders were always a hidden passion of mine," he says. "My uncles had built some serious street cars back in the '70's and '80's in Delano, CA. After I sold my motorcycle, I began my search for a Lowrider to build, focusing on finding a '73-'77 Chevy Monte Carlo," notes Alex, with a tone of reason in his voice. "That was the car that all of my uncles' had back in the days. Coincidentally, the Monte Carlo was also the car I learned how to drive in when I was a teenager."
Now that he had narrowed down his ideal make and model, Alex was well on his way with the build. After weeks of searching, he had a good lead from Craigslist; it was a 1977 Chevy Monte Carlo that was up in Delano. "I drove to Delano to check out the MC. It was kind of in a rough shape. It had some cancer in the normal places, like the wheel wells and exterior. I went over the car and made sure that the car had no prior or major body work. I then asked the guy, 'Are you firm with the price of $1100.00?' I figured I could live with the cancer spots and so forth, but with the title and registration being 10 years behind, it was going to be expensive. I decided to offer him $600.00 for the car. He spoke to his wife, and they handed me the keys and paper work and I drove it home."
Once the car was parked safely at Alex' home, it sat in the drive way for a while, until he was financially ready to breathe new life into it. "One day I woke up and drove it to my boy Edmund Frausto's shop. He had done my hydraulics before, and I felt that he was the man to do it again. Edmund installed two Showtime pumps, four switches, and six batteries," he explains. "I did not want a hopper, I just wanted a clean cruiser, and that is exactly what he gave me when I picked it up. Roughly 3 months later, I took the car to my buddies at Kal Koncepts and said, 'I am ready when you are.'" Once Dion and Craig saw how serious Alex was about his build, they quickly went to work, with Craig immediately sketching out some renderings for design ideas. "He came up with an idea that we all agreed upon, so while Craig continued to sketch on paper, the necessary body work began. Brandon Lamby shaved the door handles, and cut and removed all the cancer, replacing it with fresh new metal. There were over 300 hours that was put into the body work before we were satisfied with it," Alex says with a smile. "Once the body was perfect and primed, it was ready to be blocked and smoothed out, in order to get ready for the paint."