Hey say a leopard can't change its spots. But can a lowrider change his dummy spots? It's kind of like trading them in for a set of 20s and a pearl orange paint job, for instance. Armando Espina is a NorCal lowrider who has been heavy into the scene since the early '70s. He has fond memories of cruising the famed "Story & King" area in San Jose in its heyday and has had many cool cars since, including several Impalas, '39 and '42 Chevys, and trucks. Having just retired from over 22 years in the Air Force, Armando decided to tackle his latest project: an old school '55 Chevy.

Actually, Armando picked up the truck about three years ago from another NorCal local. It was in pretty good shape and sat low with suede paint and wide whitewalls. About a year ago, he noticed rust starting to show through the paint, so he decided that the '55 would get a quick paint job. As is usually the case, next thing Armando knew, the truck was completely torn down. The chassis was already pretty heavily modified and only needed minor mods and detail work before being put back together. Up front, a Second-Generation Camaro clip replaced the straight-axle, while a pair of airbags replaces IFS coils. Out back, a four-link and airbags hang the rearend out of that same Camaro. Chromed Helo 20s were mated to ultra-low profile Yokohama rubber, so when the truck is laid out, the rockers are nearly flat on the ground. A mild 327 rests in the engine bay and is fit with all the pertinent shiny parts from Edelbrock, as well as a Demon carb. The small-block was backed with a new TH350 transmission.

The cab and bed were stripped to make way for some flawless bodywork and paint, courtesy of Andres in Tijuana, Mexico. All of the emblems and handles were shaved from the cab, and a clean-looking visor was hung above the windshield. The bed features a smooth tailgate, filled stake pockets, '50 Pontiac taillights, and a custom bed floor made from diamond-plate. Andres shot the truck in House of Kolor Tangelo Pearl. Finally, new chrome was added in the form of bumpers, grille, and headlight rings. The chrome was carried into the cab too. After smoothing the dash and painting, with all the inner sheetmetal made to match, the door panels were chromed to stand out amongst all the other cool interior components, namely the billet gauge insert, wooden Grant wheel, and ultra-tall skull shifter. The seat and roof panel were covered with white vinyl in a tuck 'n' roll pattern.

With a new style truck ready to hit the streets, Armando was also ready for a new-style lowrider club. He and nine of his closest friends formed the Style Kings Car Club, as witnessed in the back window etching of the '55. Look for them cruising around Story and King.