For many in the Lowrider scene, our cars are a bridge between generations; a thread to tie in our lives to the lives of others along the way, some of whom we may have lost. These builds are often our favorites in our building careers, as their sentimental value alone is priceless and the memories they provide help us hold onto everything we love, everything we represent, and all of the things in life that we never want to lose. This 1967 Chevrolet Impala represents all of those things to Chris “Kippy” Casillas of Fresno, California.
The diversity of the automobiles seen in our culture is a reflection of just how different all of our interests can be. Kippy’s choice ride is no exception, as although he always had a Lowrider bike while he was growing up, he wasn’t particularly interested in Lowriders. That is, of course until he laid eyes on a 1967 fastback Impala, a car his father had purchased for himself. “The ’67 fastback was the one that got me hooked on Lowriders,” says Kippy. “I didn’t care for ‘64s or anything like that.” While the typical classics didn’t entice him, his dad’s’67 sure did, and the then eighteen-year-old Kippy would spend hours upon hours helping his dad work on the car. These early times in the garage would be enough to keep him there, as he has gone on to build several Lowriders over the years.
One day while surfing Craigslist for cars, he ran into a listing for a 1967 Impala convertible in Lodi, CA., and couldn’t resist the opportunity to reconnect with his early roots. Soon enough, Kippy ended up trading his ’95 Impala and some money for the primer-conditioned convertible. After customizing the car to his liking, Kippy felt a satisfaction with this particular car that he had never felt before; he vowed not to sell it. “I’m not going to sell this one because I dedicated it to my cousin,” Kippy says solemnly. His cousin, Mikey De La Cruz, lost his life a year ago and Kippy remembers the huge “Self Made” tattoo that adorned his chest. The saying gave him the motivation for this clean build. “Black on black, that’s what he liked, so that’s why I went with that,” Kippy explains. Choosing to speed up the build process may now be his only regret, as he regrets not taking the car off of the frame to paint it. “The reason I didn’t do it was because I was anxious to ride it,” laughs Kippy. Now that he has chromed out the whole undercarriage he is having second thoughts about repainting it, so we’ll have to stay tuned with his next move.
While his car is incredible, his motivations for building it remain pure, just the way real Lowriders are supposed to be built. “I never thought I would ever be featured in Lowrider Magazine,” a humble Kippy says, adding, “I didn’t build the car to be in a magazine, I built it for myself.”
Kippy is a member of Old Times car club, and he told us “It’s not one of the biggest clubs out of Fresno, but it is one of the nicest.” Following in his family lineage, he chose to join the club because his dad and uncles are all club members. “My dad grew up with the guys from the club and everyone knows each other.” Kippy would- like to thank everyone in his family and his club members for supporting him and he would like to give a special thanks to this mom and dad who have been by his side to help him with everything throughout his life.
Tech Specs “Self Made”
Owner: Chris “Kippy” Casillas
Vehicle: 1967 Impala Convertible
City/State: Fresno, CA
Club: Old Times
Engine: Raymond White of Fresno, CA., was put in charge of assembling the car’s 350 motor. Rene, of Showtime in Fresno, took care of all the chrome found on the car, giving it a classic feel.
Body/Paint: Chava, of Old School Customs in Fresno, CA., prepped the ’67 for Big Joe who sprayed it with House of Kolor Black. Melacout of Fresno expertly handled the pin stripe work on the convertible.
Interior: Hernandez, of Fresno, stitched up the black vinyl and suede interior
Sound System: Jalos, of Monster Tint in Fresno, hooked up the JVC head unit to the Alpine woofers and MTX amps, giving the ’67 some powerful punch.
Setup: Jalos also took care of installing the air bag setup on the ride.