Hugo Martinez is cut from the blue-collar cloth of Lowrider enthusiasts. Now a hard working family man, Hugo's interest in Lowrider cars began back in 1977, when this budding cruiser would roll with his friends down to Memorial Park located in the center of Houston, TX. "Memorial Park was the cruising spot back then," Hugo explains, adding, "that's where I saw my first Lowrider, which was cruising slow with its front end locked up. After a few visits to Memorial Park, his passion for Lowrider cars grew so much that he started hanging out in different Lowrider body shops, all while he was still attending high school. For Hugo, this was to be the beginning of his life in a whole new world; the Lowrider world.
One of the biggest mentors along his journey was a man by the name of Tony Garcia, from Royal Image Car Club. Tony let Hugo hang around the club's shop and learn the craft of painting cars. While in high school, he would paint cars for his friends; simultaneously painting his own rides, especially his '62 Impala, which received new paint at least three times a year. After he graduated from high school, Hugo got married and began building a family. With his new commitment, he was pressed for time and money, so he left his Lowriding days behind him. After a few years, his younger brother, Jaime "Curly" Martinez, moved to California to attend college and graduated as a chemical engineer. However, faith had other plans for Hugo's brother, Curly. Curly started to pin stripe cars, and soon enough, the previously aspiring chemical engineer opened up his own pinstriping business in Long Beach, CA. One day, while Curly was visiting Pasadena, TX, he invited Hugo to accompany him while he worked on some cars from Latin Kustoms Car Club in Pasadena. As they pulled up to the shop where Curly was about to begin work, Hugo's eyes opened wide when he saw the caliber of Lowriders that Latin Kustoms had. At that moment, Hugo knew that he wanted to get back in the Lowrider game.
Impressed by Latin Kustoms, Hugo soon found himself a prospect of the club, and upon joining, he wanted to purchase a '62 Impala to help him fit the caliber of this great club. Hugo sent his brother out with a budget of how much he wanted to spend, and it was Curly who went on the hunt for the perfect '62 Impala. Curly finally found a car he knew his brother would like, and just his luck, the '62 was painted the exact color Hugo already had in mind for his project. After some negotiation, the car was purchased for $16K, and then it was shipped to Pasadena, TX. As soon as the car arrived to the Latin Kustoms Shop, they started to inspect the car and decided to just reinforce the undercarriage, rebuild the engine and add a custom hydraulic setup.
The '62's old engine was replaced with a rebuilt '61 283 engine, and the transmission was rebuilt to be able to keep up with the new horsepower of the engine. The set up had to be a showstopper, so Hugo decided to rebuild the two pump set up and chrome it all out. He also replaced the hoses with custom bent polished stainless steel tubes. The hood and trunk were molded to give the Chevy a smoother look, and the dashboard was upgraded to a Dakota digital dash. Even the taillights were upgraded LED fasion!
After a full year of reconstruction and with over $10K of upgrades, Hugo finally achieved his goal of building an award-winning Lowrider. Hugo would like to thank his wife, Dianne, and his daughter, Alissa, for always being supportive and helping out at the car shows and getting the '62 Impala ready for the event. Hugo would also like to give his brother-in-law, Sammy, and Latin Kustoms Car Club, especially Nick, Tony, Robert, and Club President Joe for always lending a helping hand. Hugo also purchased a '62 Impala convertible, so make sure you keep your eye out for his newest project, sure to hit the streets of Pasadena, TX.