Finding motivation can sometimes be quite the journey. In many hobbies, people are known to be satisfied with what they have accomplished, but in the case of Lowrider enthusiasts, it's pretty safe to say that we are never satisfied. Take the case of 30-year-old Juan Romo from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, for example. Owning a full custom 1965 Chevy Impala, he should have been a very content driver, but for the past twelve years, his next-door neighbor had a '48 Chevy Fleetline that badly needed some love and attention. Juan saw some amazing potential for the Bomb, but the owner simply wasn't ready to part ways with it. On an early summer morning, vandals came by and damaged the Chevy immensely. This was the last straw for the distraught owner, who finally agreed to turn over the Fleetline to Juan so that it could have a chance at a second life.
A member of Somos Uno Old School C.C., Juan enlisted the help of Gerardo Reyes, a fellow member and part of the brothers that make up Reyes Customs in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Gerardo went straight to work, removing the stock 216-c.i.d V6 and added a Chevy pickup motor to boost the power. In order to complete the low look, Juan had Ken from Ken Customs reinforce the frame and add a c-notch to the rear end. A completely hidden air-bag suspension was installed using high-end Viair equipment. Once the Fleetline touched down, it was clear the front and rear end chassis needed to be reworked. Brothers Maurice and Bardo at Reyes Customs added a Camaro front end to make it lower the Fleetline more, as well as an Oldsmobile rear end which allowed the Chevy to sit lower in the rear.
With the suspension in place, it was time to rebuild the classic Chevy body that had captured Juan's attention for so many years. The entire exterior was sanded down and repaired. The door handles were removed and the fenders were welded and extended by an inch and a half. The new body was prepped for paint and brought to Players Choice in Milwaukee for the complete paint overhaul. Once there, Ernesto aka "Pito" added House of Kolor Kandy Apple Red for a bold look. As a special touch, Juan enlisted airbrush artist Mike Coronado to add an Aztec mural to the trunk. The Chevy was brought back to Reyes Customs, where Gerardo added a custom built 5th wheel. He also added custom built chrome trim throughout the body to accentuate the new paint.
The interior modifications required a system of complete teamwork. The masters at Reyes Customs gutted the entire cabin of the Fleetline, and began the task by laying down khaki carpet. Honda Accord seats were brought in to replace the stock seats, and were cut to add a custom center console that runs from the front to the rear seats. Cream leather was wrapped over the seats and paneling. Gerardo added "48" to the rear arm rest along with the classic Lowrider symbol on the back deck. The doors were made with the Somos Uno Old School C.C. logo embossed on them. On the back of the front seats the trademark Lowrider symbol stands proud. Power windows were also installed and buttons were mounted in the center above the custom Camaro gear shifter.
Nothing feels better than taking a classic automobile that was dead and bringing it back to life. Juan has achieved the unthinkable, and with the help from the Reyes brothers, he transformed "Rosa Antigua" from a lawn ornament into a show-stopping masterpiece. "I want to thank my wife Rachel for her support," Juan says happily. "I am teaching our three kids that you can do anything you put your mind to." Juan and Rachel have kept the true Lowrider tradition alive, and already have new plans in the works for the Chevy Fleetline.