Additional photos by Juan "Kutty" Barrera
The Lowrider community has always been about family. Despite how we are often portrayed in the media, we Lowriders have a love for our fellow man that even surpasses our love for automobiles. The story we're about to tell here is an amazing one, but again, Lowriders are no strangers to lending a helping hand when duty calls. Eddie Hernandez had been battling cancer most of his life. He was diagnosed with Leukemia as an infant and while treatment for the disease was effective, the cancer came back when he was five years old. Undaunted, Eddie's parents held a bone marrow drive to search for a donor for their son. Eddie underwent a successful bone marrow transplant at the University of California Medical Center in San Francisco in 1998 at the age of nine.
Due to all of the challenges Eddie had endured in his young life, his parents decided to get him a car at when he turned fifteen. Having always expressed interest in Lowriders, Eddie's dream was to be behind the wheel of one of his very own. His parents knew exactly what to do, and they instantly began hunting for a classic Chevy for their courageous son. After knocking on several doors with older cars in the yard, a man directed them to a woman who lived down the street. As they pulled up to the woman's house, they saw the 1964 Impala SS sitting in the driveway. Once the deal for the Chevy was made, the Hernandez family picked up the hardtop.
The family was excited to give their son the experience of building the Lowrider of his dreams before the unthinkable happened. A secondary cancer from all the radiation treatment he received from his previous affliction was found seven years after his bone marrow transplant. Unfortunately for Eddie, the dream of building a custom Lowrider with his dad and taking it to car shows came to a halt.
The terminally ill Eddie had never gotten the chance to see Lowrider in person, so his uncle reached out to the local Lowrider community through a Lowrider forum and asked them if anybody was willing to stop by the family's home, just to give Eddie a glimpse of one up close and personal. Three days later, over sixty Lowriders filled up the cul de sac so that Eddie could see real, live Lowriders with his own eyes. The group of Lowriders were so touched by the struggles that Eddie had gone through in his young life, that they decided to help the family out by building the Impala for them! The Hernandez family allowed the riders (who at that time were complete strangers) take the Impala that they had originally bought to restore with Eddie. The car was overhauled by members of different car clubs from the Stockton and Modesto area before a group known as "Chago's Build Team" stepped in to finish the build in the East Bay. The combined efforts produced an amazing testament to Lowriders' love of automobile restoration and their love for their fellow man.
The finished car was delivered to the Hernandez family right before Christmas with a huge red bow on the top of it. The car's unveiling made for an emotional night filled with joy and tears. An excited Eddie made sure that the car was broken in with a late night cruise down McHenry. Eddie was able to enjoy cruising his car for a while, and he even got the chance to take it to a couple of shows before he lost his long fight against cancer a few months later.
This story moved me so much that I would like to dedicate this issue to the memory of Eddie "lil Eddie" Hernandez and Santiago "Chago" Hernandez and to the hundreds of honorary members of Sons of Mexico car club who gave their time to help make this kid's lifelong dreams come true.
"Eddie My Love"
Owner: Eddie Hernandez
Vehicle: 1964 Chevy Impala
City/State: Modesto, CA
Car Club: Sons of Mexico
Engine: Al Corona, of Skanless car club, got the engine up and running while Luis Salazar of Livingston, CA donated several chrome parts to the project. Freddy, Lorenzo, and Mikey of San Jose candy painted the engine block green.
Body/Paint: Ralph Garcia, of the Impalas car club, stripped the car down before his fellow Impalas car club members of the Stockton Chapter finished the bodywork and candy painted the car green with white pearl top. Jaime "Wimone" donated his pinstriping talent and to finish off the paint, Freddy Alfaro donated the trunk murals to the car.
Setup: The "Chago's Build Team" installed the chrome, two-pump set up which is found in the truck of the car. The hydraulics were donated by Ben "Mod Hopper," Dave Marquez at Hi-Low Hydraulics, Gabe at Baby Boy Customs, JR from Life's Finest, Abel and Cesar from Rebirth car club.
ICE: Doug Vigil was able to have Arc Audio donate the Amp and Speakers to power the system
Wheels: Chrome Wire Wheels