Choosing a theme for your custom plays a big part in determining the build-style of your ride and can also be the most fun part of creating the perfect Lowrider. Inspirations can come from anywhere; the dedication to a loved one, the life the driver has lived, even dreams. For Eric Tamez’ latest 1965 Chevrolet SS project, dreams were exactly the focal point, more specifically, the power within them. He wanted his car to symbolize the mentality that in life, we should “never underestimate one’s dream.” The moniker of “Payback” would reflect this Corpus Christi native’s dream of cruising down Ocean Drive in a show-quality ride, while simultaneously paying homage to his Mexican heritage. For those that have seen this sleek ragtop at the shows, you know of Eric’s elaborate mural display, depicting the Mexican Revolution and the struggles and triumph of Emiliano Zapata.
No stranger to the culture, Eric hit the coastal Lowrider scene in 1989 with his ’90 GMC truck, which served as the proper motivation for him to create a Lowrider truck club, which he called “Extended Pleasures.” Eric and his GMC made quite the impact, taking Best Truck of Show honors at the ’92 ISCA Houston tour stop. His efforts on the truck were unparalleled, but unfortunately by the mid ‘90s, the local truck craze began to fade out. Ever the Lowrider enthusiast, Eric switched gears and decided to take his next customization project in a more traditional route; he decided to build an infamous Impala. While on a family visit to Ft. Worth, the south Texan found this Bowtie sitting in the original owner’s garage. In desperate need of an overhaul, the car was purchased by Eric, who quickly towed it home and began to plot out the car’s rejuvenation.
The ’65 received the utmost care, thanks to Eric’s determined nature and perfectionist mindset. In this ragtop’s second build, Mr. Tamez took the reins and guided the Impala towards custom automotive excellence. “With the exception of the paint, I did all the work myself,” Eric says proudly. While a true Lowrider at heart, Eric also demands a high performance powertrain in his rides as well. “I like my rides low, but hot under the hood,” he notes with a smile. Eric mentions that although he had great influences on the scene, including David Leal, Sr. (LRM Feb.’11) and Fabian “Candy Man” Villarreal (Lrm Nov.’07), none were more influential than the guidance of his father, Danny. Although Eric officially hit the Lowrider scene in ’89, he was not a stranger to his jefe’s Lowrider onda of decades past. In those days, the elder Tamez built numerous rides―but it was a 1957 Chevrolet build that greatly impacted the young Eric. His father asked for his 13-year-old son’s assistance in restoring the classic. “I was no longer just handing tools to my dad, I was involved in the process,” emphasizes the proud son. This two-year project taught Eric the mechanical skills necessary to build his future custom rides and set a foundation of life skills that he practices everyday in raising his family. In the end, maybe the true “Pay Back” is a reflection of a son’s homage to his father.