Regardless how or where we grew up, each and every one of us will have certain fond-and some not so fond-memories that stand out more than the rest. For some, they'll never forget that first kiss; others may graphically recall the day they were called to service; but for some, reminiscing about a particular vehicle that played an important part of their past, well, it's often accompanied by a desire to bring that memory back to life decades later. For Eddie Tovar, his remembrance of Grandpa Pedro's '54 Chevy pickup fueled his motivation for recreation.
If you live in Southern California, then the name Tovar may sound familiar to you, as Eddie and his brother Michael have created quite a respectable reputation in the lowrider community-and they're no strangers to commercial model works of art, either. For his latest Chevrolet go-around, Eddie had the opportunity to bring the childhood memory of his grandfather Pedro Bargas' '54 3100 to life, albeit with the obligatory Tovar touch.
As Eddie recalled, "Initially it was only a parts truck ... the only things that remained were the frame, cab, bed, and special diamond-plate rear step bumper. But that rear bumper was the main reason I bought the truck ... it was special to me because my grandfather had a '54 with that very same bumper. When we were kids, he would let me and my brothers ride on that bumper." So, for anyone wondering why the decision was made to use that particular part, now you know.
Unlike a "traditional" Tovar job, this one is devoid of numerous accessory items, which in itself leaves plenty of room for the truck alone to do most of the talking-and it does just that. Painted PPG Coppertone by Eddie and Victor Melgoza, the Bel Air full-disc-capped Stepside features another family trademark with its lower-than-most stance. Again, bucking tradition to a degree, instead of working with and heavily modifying the stock suspension, the choice was made to go with a '69 Camaro frontend (complemented by a four-linked El Camino rearend), all of which is actuated for driving or profiling by a Homies two-pump hydraulic system. The use of hydraulics combined with the presence of a heavily C-notched rear frame section dictated that special attention be given to the final layout of the inner bed-but as you can see from the pics, it played out well. For power, it's all conventional means in the way of the Thriftmaster 235, but behind that, a Buffalo Enterprises adapter kit was used to allow the mating of a Turbo 350 automatic transmission (though by looking at the interior, you'd be hard pressed to tell there was anything but a stock four-speed being used). Finally, after Eddie brought all the interior hard parts back to life, Miguel Carrillo handled the upholstery chores.
It's doubtful Grandpa Pedro's truck was nearly as nice as this modern rendition, but there's no doubting the family pride and tradition has been carried on and rightly acknowledged.