Chevrolet has produced quite a few iconic vehicles during their existence. The Corvette, Impala, and Camaro are some of the more legendary vehicles created by Chevrolet. Chevrolet also created a line of classic trucks starting with the first production model in 1918, the Suburban, the Silverado, and the El Camino. In the Bomb culture, Chevrolet trucks produced in the 1930's, 1940's, and 1950's are sought after for their classic styling, ease of restoration, and their ability to lay low with the help of suspension modifications.
El Sereno, California's Tony "Chinky" Bustamante chose a 1952 Chevy Truck for his latest build, specifically for the reasons stated above. Chinky is no stranger to Lowriding or car building. He has owned a number of cars over the years, and like many of us, he was exposed to Lowriding by his older brother and father. His father owned Chuy's Body Shop, so he was around cars starting at a very young age. Sometimes on Saturdays, Chinky's dad would take him to the shop and show him different things about the cars he had in the shop at the time. Chinky's dad would also share stories of his own custom cars with Chinky. The cars he used had rumble seats, front fender mounts and lacquer paint jobs. A lot of nice cars came and went through Chuy's, but it's safe to say that the Lowriders were the ones that peaked Chinky's interest.
When he was a youngster, Chinky's older brother had a 1961 Ford Thunderbird that was lowered and sat on Astro Supremes. It also had a donut steering wheel, 8-track tape player and a color bar. His older brother's friends also had fixed up cars, and they would all hang out at his house, so he got a firsthand look at the cars he one day hoped to call his own. Eventually, his brother went to serve in the Army and left the T-Bird in the driveway. After about a year or so, Chinky's dad let him take it to school, and eventually gave him the car.
This as they say, is where it all began. The Thunderbird would eventually be traded for a 1954 Chevy. Chinky and his friends would hang out before and after school and cruise Whittier Boulevard on the weekends. Over the years, Chinky has bought, sold, and traded a number of rides. Right now he has the truck, a '54 Chevy, and a Harley Davidson Softail.
Chinky is employed by the California Department of Transportation (CALTRANS) in the Los Angeles area. One day at work, his co-worker Mike Ramirez showed him some photos of a truck that was for sale by another co-worker named Glen Millinger. He went and talked to Glen about the truck. It was on hold for someone, but Glen told Chinky he would be next in line if the sale fell through. Just as luck would have it, the deal never happened, so Chinky got his shot at it. The following Saturday, Chinky talked his mom into going with him for a ride. She didn't know where they were going and asked him, but he would not tell her. Eventually Chinky gave in and told her he was going to buy a truck. She was not happy, especially since he already had a yard full of cars. Once they arrived, the deal was made and he returned that Monday and picked the truck up and took it home.
Once the truck was home, it was time to get it in running condition. The engine had been rebuilt recently, but the water pump needed to be replace and the wrong fan was installed. One call to Joe Epstein and Chinky had the parts he needed. Finally, a new radiator was installed after a visit to the Truck Shop. Chinky was now rolling around in a stock 1952 truck, but it still wasn't at the level he wanted it to be.