MY RIDE - It Took 25 Years to Get This Lowrider Just Right
A.J. Baime, 07/29/2019
View on The Wall Street Journal
A car lover from a town that calls itself the Lowrider Capital of the World tells the story of his souped up 1960 Chevrolet Impala
Jeff Quintana, 50, a road maintenance foreman, on his 1960 Chevrolet Impala lowrider, as told to A.J. Baime.
I live in Española, N.M., a city that claims to be the Lowrider Capital of the World. Every July there is Lowrider Day, a parade and a car show celebrating our cars, and we have the Española Lowrider Museum here.
What is a lowrider? To me it is just a style of custom car. We like our cars low to the ground. We like flashy paint, nice interiors and a lot of chrome to make the car stand out. It is part of the culture here, because so many people are building these cars.
The story of mine begins 25 years ago. I saw this car in a field, behind a guy’s house. It was a 1960 Chevrolet Impala. It had no engine in it and no interior, and the guy was using it for storage. I had always wanted a 1960 Impala because my dad had one when I was growing up. I asked the guy if he was interested in selling and I ended up buying it for about $2,000. I put it on a trailer, got it back behind my house, and started working on it. I had a vision of what I wanted to build.
I have lots of friends and we all help each other out. We all learned how to paint and we are all good mechanics. We work on each other’s cars and we go to car shows together.
Years ago, I parked my lowrider because I wanted to build a motorcycle. The car sat for 10 years. When I met my girlfriend, Yvonne Romero, three years ago, she wanted to get the car going again. She loves cars, and together we took six months to rebuild the car into what you see here.
Now it has new custom paint, a custom interior, a chrome- and gold-plated engine, a chrome- and gold-plated undercarriage, chrome- and gold-plated front and rear ends. It has hydraulic lifts on the wheels so it can go up and down and side-to-side. I can put it up on three wheels or make it hop. The frame is reinforced so the car can take a beating, and there is a custom-built rack in the trunk that holds batteries to power the hydraulics.
Next month, Yvonne and I plan to bring the car to Española’s Lowrider Day car show. This will be the third year, and we have not missed one yet.
Pictured: Jeff Quintana’s 1960 Chevrolet Impala lowrider in Española, N.M., CATE DINGLEY FOR THE WALL STREET JOURNAL