As I walked around the Las Vegas Super Show with Joe Ray and Saul Vargas, we came to a stop to look at a ’67 that was sitting on three wheels. Joe looked it over and instantly told me to get in contact with the car’s owner so that we could shoot the ride for an upcoming Lowrider Magazine pictorial. At the time, I didn’t know any of the members from Cali Life C.C., so I used Layitlow.com to search for the owner of the car in the hope of contacting him. It worked! I made contact with the owner, Mariano Parra of Greenfield, CA., and he explained to me that he needed a little more time to add some necessary upgrades to his ’67 before it would be ready for a photo shoot. He lived up to his word, and we set a date for the shoot that would propel this immaculate ’67 to LRM stardom.
Once the date for the shoot arrived, I made my way to Mariano’s place. As I pulled up to the drive way, I saw that the garage door was open with the ’67 peering out of it, though there was no one in sight. Mariano heard me shuffling around and came out to invite me inside his place. Once inside, I found Mariano and some of his fellow club members sitting around the living room which was cluttered with parts for a ’61 Impala. They were all sitting around drinking Caguamas of Corona (32oz bottle of Corona) while they watched an 80’s horror flick called "Christine". Car buffs know this Steven King classic, which stars a ’58 Plymouth Fury that goes on a killing spree. Being the good host that he is, Mariano offered me one of his ice cold Caguamas, and we watched a few more scenes of the flick before heading out to the shoot. Since the name of the car is Alley Cat, it would only be proper to do the shoot in the same alley that gave the ’67 its name. After wrapping up the shoot we headed back to Mariano’s place, where we ate some Cheezer’s pizza and drank some more in the garage.
With full bellies and the tunes of Barbara Mason gently playing in the background, Mariano explained to me how he got the ’67—even though he was originally looking for a 63. "I saw the ’67 in an ad and it was all hot-rodded out. I don’t know what it was about the car that caught my attention," explains Mariano. "The guy had $9,000 invested in it and I got it for $5,000, so it started off as a real solid project." Recalls Mariano, who wasted no time in doing the interior, and adding primer and Dayton’s to his first Lowrider. "I cruised in it like that for a long time," beams Mariano. After he saved up some money, he painted the car Silver, redid the interior, and lifted it. Needless to say, Mariano got a lot of traffic tickets and had to pay a lot of court fines with that car.
One day, he decided to redo the whole car and began taking it apart. During that time, he met John Basurto from San Jose, CA. "He opened up a whole new world to me," says Mariano. "He showed me that you truly can do frame-offs in your backyard." Mariano did just that, putting the car in his mom’s backyard and taking it off the frame. The entire rebuild took place in that same backyard, with the car only leaving for paint. Here’s where the nickname was born; every time he would bring the car out of his mom’s backyard, he had to go through the same alley that we did the photo shoot in. "All my friends that would see me take it out through the alley started calling it "Alley Cat" and the name just stuck," Mariano laughs.
Mariano has had a lot of cars that have all come and gone, but his first one, the ’67, is staying with him. "This car has a lot of history and memories for me," says Mariano. Mariano would like to thank his family for always supporting him in what he does, especially his parents. He also credits all of his friends for helping him with whatever he needed. "They are my "compas" for a reason," Mariano states proudly.
Cali Life 67 Fastback
Owner: Mariano Parra
Vehicle: 1967 Chevy Impala SS
City/State: Greenfield, CA
Car Club: Cali Life
Engine: Mariano installed the 283 engine with a blower, belt kit, and electric fan. Abas Chrome in Mexicali took care of all the chrome work in the engine and undercarriage.
Body/Paint: Gilbert Acosta, from Gilberts House of Lowriders in San Jose, CA., did the bodywork on the ’67. Once the Chevy was ready for paint, Gilbert Acosta also laid out the Candy Brandy wine paint job. Louis Delgado, from DC Customs in Tracy, CA., added the pinstripping.
Interior: Thomas Perez Upholstery in Salinas, CA., stitched the light Grey suede interior. Mariano also added a fiberglass center console and a rear package trey to the interior.
Setup: The two Showtime pump setup was installed by D&A Customs out in San Jose, CA. The switch plate, extensions, and backing plates were sponsored by Greg Armstrong at Switchin It Up Custom Machining.
Sound System: A Kenwood deck controls the Kenwood amp and pushes four Infinity mids and tweeters.
Tires: 155/80 R13 Cornell Tires.
Wheels: 13-inch Zenith cross-laced from Campbell, CA.