At the age of 13, Fernando Moreno of Avondale, Arizona was immersed into lowriding by the two most important people in his life, Mom and Dad. They took him to his first car show in nearby Mesa. During those days, the Mesa Super Show was a melting pot for Lowriders throughout Atzlan, so young Fernando saw first-hand the Southwest’s best rides, not to mention for the first time, plaques on rear windows that read Imperials, Groupe, Klique, and many more. It was love at first sight. From that point on, his mission was to build his own showpiece. Of course it helped that Mom and Dad were lowrider fans too. But his defining moment was watching a lowrider for the first time on the silver screen. The movie "Boulevard Nights" showcased Whittier Boulevard and lowrider car clubs flying their proud plaques.

As with many first timers, he wanted to get his feet wet, so as soon as he could get a driver’s license at the age of sixteen, he also bought a Cutlass. His first build was predictable. Wheels, tires, and hydros, and his cousin Julian Reyes sprayed on a Candy paint job within his budget. He then decided to get involved with other lowriders, and joined his first car club. Though Envious Car Club of Avondale, Arizona, didn’t last too long, that wasn’t the case for Fernando’s determination. It grew more expediential in taking the next steps in pursuing a dream car. By the time he hit 20 years old, he decided it was time to go for his dream car: an Impala convertible. So the car was built in phases, and he soon found himself cruising his ride low and slow on the West side.

His dream was shattered after five years of owning the trey. It was unfortunately stolen! After having a convertible, replacing his car was only possible with another vert. So he looked far and wide for over a year and found another ’63 convertible to take its place. It was in rough shape and needed a lot of work, but he attempted to bring back the magic stolen by thieves in the night. Though this build was a little better, it still lacked that finished look. But tragedy hit Fernando once more, with a car-b-que engine fire. This was the excuse he needed to redo the car the way he saw it in his head. So he took the burnt offerings to Luis Miranda of Miranda’s Customs who resurrected the Impala with new body work, two-tone paint, engine, drivetrain, re-plating of chrome from The Chrome Shop of Tucson, and much more finishing touches. By this time, Fernando’s lowriding experience gave him the know-how to build this one to last. The saying, "the more you know, the more you go" applied with this ’63 build.

Now that the car met Fernando’s own standard, it was time to make the dream complete. As a young dedicated Lowrider magazine reader, he adopted his favorite car club, which never let him down with the rides displayed on the pages of LRM. So when he finally put out the proper material, it was obvious, it had to be Imperial material for Fernando. Luckily, the Imperials set shop with a Phoenix Chapter, and his main focus was joining this group. After a car club courtship, it became official, and he was accepted as a member.

Fernando flies his plaque proudly, and it fits him well. His dedication to lowriding is only second to the dedication he exhibits every day on the job when working as a fire mechanic with the City of Phoenix fire department. As support personnel to our public safety officials, he ensures the safety of his community, family, and friends. Providing a service to your fellow man and community takes a special person. Fernando is a great example of what lowriders mean and do in their community. When asked for his final remarks in our story, he stated, "I could not have done this without the help of my wife Martha, family, and all the Imperials Car Club Chapters who allow me to fly the plaque of my first love in lowriding."

Tech Specs

Sweet Leaf

Owner: Fernando Moreno
Vehicle: 1963 Impala SS
City: Avondale, AZ
Club: Imperials C.C.
Paint: Miranda’s
Upholstery: Roy and Lucy Guajardo of Kustom Kreations
Engine: Chevy 327 with power-glide transmission.
Setup: Airbags installed by Miranda’s.
Wheels: 13x7 wires with 155/80R 13-inch Firestones.