“Fast forward a couple of years and though I was having fun with the car I was tired of the orange color. So after a lot of sanding and some more bodywork Duran once again painted it, this time a lime green basecoat. Up to this point I’d been cruising with not much of an interior. I kicked around the idea of swivel seats from a Chrysler 300 but couldn’t find a decent pair. I wanted something custom yet comfortable for my wife and kids. I got word that a local junkyard had an old Chrysler in it, so I headed over there. It turned out to be a ’60 Imperial with a cool bench seat with bucket backs and wraparound trim. At my wife Alysha’s suggestion I went to Ray’s Upholstery in Watsonville. He helped me select the pearl white with Lumia Green piping and matching green headliner. While the car was apart I pulled the dash and my dad helped fill the speaker hole and smooth the corners before I shot it in heavy green ’flake with a little panel fade.
“Once again I got it back together just in time for the West Coast Kustoms’ show, this time in Santa Maria, where, to my surprise, it was voted one of the Top 5 mild customs. On the ride home I reminisced about the day I first saw it, how Junior thought it was a crazy-looking ride, how I dreamed of building this uncommon mild custom, all the late nights working on it, and whether I was done building. I’m sure there are more changes coming, and I’m sure Junior still thinks it’s a little crazy looking. But for now, I think it’s just right.”
1961 Chrysler Newport
The big hardtop employs the stock chassis and suspension, though the front torsion bars have been cranked down to bring it closer to Terra Firma, while 3-inch blocks lower the rear.
El Camino Machine and Welding in Salinas, CA, machined the stock ’61 383, to which Danny added finned valve covers and an Edelbrock Performer intake fitted with a Demon 625-cfm carburetor. A Cadillac repop air cleaner from Mooneyes tops it off, while the stock exhaust system was Jet-Hot coated and uses Blue Streak glass pack mufflers. The stock TorqueFlite trans still performs its duties, though it has been rebuilt by Cesar at The Transmission Center in Salinas.
Pep’s Customs molded the front turn signals and taillights, shaved the handles, mirrors, and trim, frenched the rear bumper, and moved the brake lights to the backup light locations, using ’59 Caddy lenses. Lionel Duran at Spectrum Auto Body sprayed the PPG lime green basecoat. The pinstriping is owner-applied. Both front and rear bumpers have been smoothed.
A quartet of 15x7 Wheel Vintiques chrome OEM-style wheels are wrapped in Coker Classic 205/75R15 whitewall radials.
The ’flaked and panel painted dash sits behind the stock steering wheel, though the bench seat is from a ’60 Imperial. Pearl white vinyl with green piping cover the seats and door panels, with moss green short loop carpet on the floor. Jesus Arellano helped Danny fabricate the armrests for the doors.