Now that he had some automotive knowledge under his belt, Sam got his “feet wet” with his first build, a slammed 1965 GMC truck. But Sam was looking to build something that represented more of the I.E. memories he had, and did so when he purchased a 1965 Impala. “I bought Tru-Classics for it, one at a time,” he says proudly. Throughout the years, including the mini truck and euro crazes, Sam has built numerous rides. In fact, he has become well-known for his car collection, “over 60 at last count” states this car aficionado. This collection ranges from high end luxury, SUVs, classics, and monster trucks, to his Lowrider collection which he is most proud of with good reason. Among his works of art are “Pura Sangre,” a 1960 Impala, “El Camote,” a1960 Elco, and “Cadistrophic,” an immaculate ’93 Fleetwood. Even with this impressive collection, Mr. Torres beamingly shows me his grandkids’ vintage stroller and pedal car, which are painted fuchsia with roses, confirming that the 8 year old in Sam lives on.

Two years ago, Sam opened a shop to primarily work on his vehicles, but the demand for his custom work surpassed the hobby. Enough so, that a bigger location was quickly needed. Recently, the new Torres Empire Shop was opened in the DFW area. The 6,500 sq. ft. location is a one-stop shop with hydraulic/airbag installs, custom paint, murals, stereo installation, and frame-off restoration. But, it’s not all business with Sam, as his personal builds continue in the new location. On my visit, the shop staff was in the preliminary planning stages for a Lowrider build-off competition that extends throughout the 2011 WEGO Tour, buena suerte!

In recent years, Torres Empire has played a significant role in the United Lowriders Assoc. (DFW), the United Lowrider Council (FW), the statewide WEGO tours, and his own shows in Dallas and San Bernardino. This year, T.E. is excited in partnering with Lowrider Events in the 2011 LRM tour with stops in Woodland, Dallas, and at “the show stop of the year” the L.A. Convention Center. When Sam first started pondering his car show ethic, he went to his lovely wife, Elisa for advice. Together, this couple of over 25 years agreed that these shows would be a “family affair.” Those that have attended any T.E. promotions know that there is always a Kid Zone and it is always free! Also, the entertainment would reflect a positive atmosphere for all those attending. Most importantly, they structured these events to have respect for the competitors and the history that made these types of events possible. For Sam, it was a personal fulfillment when he promoted his first Cali show at the National Orange Show in 2009, as this was the site of where his Lowrider love affair began four decades earlier. With expected success this year, Torres Empire (e.g. Inland Empire native) plans to include 3 new nationwide stops to the 2012 LRM tour.

Sam expresses that “to be successful, you need to surround yourself with a great staff,” which he does with acknowledgements to Jesse, Monty, Gary, Manuel, Marcella Torres, Cynthia Torres, Marcella Rodriguez, and Tim “People’s Choice” Walls for their hard work. Sam also expresses a heartfelt thanks to his children, Sam Jr., Corina, Nathan, and also his wife Elisa for their patience and support. I asked Sam what makes him truly successful. He replied, “At the end of the day, cruising in my Lowrider with Elisa by my side; that’s true success!” Paz, Tejas

Shop Information:

Torres Empire Shop
2340 W. Pioneer Pkwy.
Pantego, TX
817-459-CARS (2277)