Our parents love to retell stories of their childhood. Few, however, are actually as cool as they seem to think they are. For Gabriel Rubio of Rowland Heights, his parents’ stories are actual tales that any one of us would like to hear. All throughout Gabriel’s childhood they talked about cruising the infamous Whittier Boulevard and somehow this small 7-mile stretch located in East L.A. continues to produce new stories to tell.
As Gabriel got older, it’s no wonder he grew up with an affinity to the ’70s era of lowriding. Taking motivation from his parents as well as movies like Boulevard Nights and Heartbreaker, Gabriel went on to build a ’70s-inspired vehicle, taking it back to the days of garage builds and driveway overhauls.
Only period-correct upgrades would do for his 1978 Ford Thunderbird, which he found and saved from a local junkyard. From the working original 8-track player to the OG 8-inch chain steering wheel, all the way to the original 14×7 True Classic wire wheels, which would of course be mounted onto 5.20 whitewall Premium Sportways, like any ’70s lowrider, a list of custom modifications would surely accompany it. O.G. Frankie installed the 38-inch moonroof. Gabriel took it upon himself to complete many of the items on the car. He extended the factory grille and fabricated a custom split front bumper. Pinstriping was added to the original factory paint with Bobby J. of Kandy Konnection casting a coat of clear throughout the car. In true ’70s fashion the inside of the car was upgraded to a full biscuit button tucked interior wrapped in light beige materials. The project came to an end much as it did back in the day. One weekend he and fellow Heatwave Car Club members installed a pair of original Fennerstone pumps, with 8-inch strokes and Delta dumps, and of course the mandatory 3/16 scrape plate. “We installed it right in front of my house in the driveway,” Gabriel says. Reminding us that back in the golden days of Whittier Boulevard their stories often began in someone’s garage, no real build budget to speak of, but always plenty of heart to live this lowrider lifestyle.
1978 Ford Thunderbird
Rowland Heights, CA
Original 1978 351 with chrome upgrades
Light tan biscuit button tucked patterns with an OG 8-inch chain steering wheel
Original paint with pinstriping
Fennerstone pumps with #2 gears and Delta dumps
Original 14×7 True Classic wheels mounted onto whitewall Premium Sportways