Jose Martinez got his first introduction to Lowriding at ten years old when his brothers Raul and Bobby, and their friend, Danny Knight, started building Lowrider bikes. A couple of years later, Jose got his first job working weekends with his uncle doing construction. The plan was to save the money he was earning to buy his first car. This finally happened when he was fourteen years old, as he had finally saved enough money from the construction job to buy his first car, a 1969 Chevy Impala. That summer, he got a job working in a body shop, which only furthered his interest in Lowriding and building custom cars.
While working at the body shop as body man’s helper, Jose learned quite a bit. What he learned at work, he applied to the body of his ’69 Impala. One of the first things he did was flake the top candy blue. This was quite an accomplishment for a fourteen year old. Because he was still not of driving age, Jose’s father did not approve of his hobby, but as he got older, he changed his mind and accepted it. In high school, Jose took auto body as an elective and became even more confident in fixing up cars. He bought a 1954 Chevy Bel-Air hard top from his good friend, Tony Allain, and his passion for older Chevy automobiles blossomed from there.
Jose also met his wife, Caroline, in high school. They dated all through high school and later married. When they started to have children, Jose decided to take a break from car building and focus on his growing family. He did not completely step away; the family would attend car shows regularly. Once the children were older, it was time for Jose to build another car.
The year Jose turned thirty-nine; he purchased the 1939 Chevy Master Deluxe you see here. Since he bought it on his 39th birthday, he named the car “Mr. 39.” The plan was to restore the ’39 back to showroom status with a few upgrades.
The first task was to get the body back up to Jose’s standards. Jose’s wife had a cousin in Arizona by the name of Armando Perez. Armando is the owner of Copa Paint & Body in Maricopa, Arizona. Armando had the car for a year to ensure that the body was restored to better than factory condition before he sprayed the custom Candy Cherry Red that was selected by Jose’s wife, Caroline.
When the car got back to California, Jose started to reassemble it to send it out in order to have some other work done. Richard Mendoza at Sun Shine Customs in Montclair, California covered the interior in a tan cloth that complimented the red exterior. Jose even had a vintage baby seat reupholstered to match! Roy Castillo at So Cal Concepts rewired the car, starting with a custom made wiring harness. He used old-school cloth wire with a lacquer finish to wire the car, using 10 and 16 gauge where necessary. He added a fuse box as an added safety feature and by the time he was finished, everything electrical in the car worked, including the gauges in the dash and the dome lights. Roy was also contracted to install a stealth audio system consisting of Alpine and Boston Acoustic components. The audio system pushes a very clean, crisp, and loud 400 watts of power but does not take away from the original look of the ’39.
Jose contacted Jose Luis De La Cruz at Reliable Powder Coating in Downey, California to powder coat components on the car and Sergio Herrera at Metal Finishing Marketers Inc., in Los Angeles, California took care of the chroming.