story By TAKASHIKIKUSHI
ppreciating classic automobiles is the foundation f°r al1
_Lowrider enthusiasts. As kids, we often hang posters on the wal1 of our dream cars, hoping to one day own them. These automotive centerfolds hold the key to our adolescent dreams, just like they did for a 14-year-old named Conrad Garcia. The difference betWeen Conrad and the rest of us is that he went on to not only own a car like the ones on his wall, he recently got the chance to own one of the exact cars that he dreamed about. When he was 14 years old, he had the 1979 LRM SuperShow poster and centerfolds of Charlie Lopez' 1949 Mercury "Nostalgia Sleeper" from the Classics Car Club hanging on the wall in his bedroom. As luck would have it, Conrad's good friend, Miguel Zarate of Strays Car Club phoned him last year and let him know that the car was for sale. The excited Conrad on the other end of the line was no longer a 14-year-old, he was the President of Classic Memories Car Club, and a veteran Lowrider builder and co1-lector. Who would have thought that nearly three decades later, that: same '49 Merc - complete with hydraulic gul1-wing doors and a see-through acrylic roof would belong to the same boy who idolized it after seeing it at a car show with his father in 1979? NaturaUy, he jumped on this chance to own a piece of Lowrider history, just like he has many times over the years, acquiring a garage full of classics that would make therest of us swoon.
When Conrad was a young boy, his father restored and painted cars at home. Fascinated with his father's talent, Conrad began taking mental notes of his father's handiwork. His father's natural passion for automobiles and considerable paint skills rubbed off on Conrad, as he later found work with famed custom painted Roman Gomez. Conrad's father helped him build his first car, a 1957 Volkswagen, upon turning sixteen. He shared his father's love for VWs, and even now he owns the '80's classic VW "Peaches N' Scream."
The VWs were great for Conrad, but once he got a taste of the Lowrider Bomb scene, he was hooked forever. He went on to hold the keys to some of the rarest of the Rare Vintage Chevrolets, including a 1939 Chevrolet Slantback 4dr, a 1936 Chevrolet Phaeton,a 1938 Chevrolet Cabriolet, and a 1941 Chevrolet Coupe pickup, just to name a few.
While many of hiscarshave received magazine coverage, Conrad's trucks have also turned many heads within the culture. He is probably best known for his '50 Chevy truck, "California's Gold Rush," which burst onto the scene in 1994, snatching up awards at practically every show it appeared in. About 10 years ago, Conrad also purchased a 1947 Chevrolet pickupthat had some history behind it as wel1. As he began to research the story of the truck, he found out that it was buM in 1964 by a man named Roy Delaney of Lewiston, Idaho. Even better the truck was a multi-award-winnmg show truck which won the Grand Sweepstakes at the 1967 Portland Roadster show, and took home several other first place honors at various other shows during that era. Conrad got in contact with Roy and after talking with him, he decided to restore the truck in the
exact same way that Roy had built it in the '60s. Unfortunately, Roy passed away before he could see the project through to fruition.
Conrad's love for classic cars is not just limited to Bombs, Trucks, and VWs; he also owns "Violet Rose," a '66 Impala which previously belonged to fellow club member Wayne Dickey. His latest build is close to his Bomb heart, however, as it is a Candy Oriental Blue, flamed-out 1949 Ford named "Blue Mambo." From his varied tastes and respectable builds, Classic Memories President Conrad Garcia has certainly earned his stripes as one of the culture's most shining stars. Having so many cars in his storied collection, it begs the question; "Which car will he drive today?" Call him an auto enthusiast, call him a treasure hunter, call him a museum curator, but whatever you do, make sure you call Conrad Garcia a Lowrider. ■
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