The roots of lowriding in Southern California can be traced back to the 1940s when car culture was beginning to take hold across America. Steve Velasquez, a curator of cultural and community life at the Smithsonian’s Museum of American History says “lowriding is a reflection of the Mexican post-war experience, unlike hot rods, lowriders were all about doing something different.” It was about the stance (which could be altered by flipping a switch), custom interiors, custom paint, not necessarily only about performance. Case in point, Squires of Napa, CA member Jeff Bruns’ ’59 Ford Custom, affectionately named “Green with Envy.”
Jeff grew up as an Army kid in Fairbanks, AK, a long way away from California and the traditional lowriding scene. Following in his father’s footsteps, Jeff joined the Air Force in 2004 which inevitably brought him to Northern California and at the time had a Subaru as it was the perfect vehicle to haul his snowboard gear, but his wife also really liked driving it. Not a bad thing when your significant other promotes your hobby. So, to make the Mrs. happy, Jeff wanted an old truck to use as his daily as he lived so close to the Air Force base. Jeff found a ’57 Ford truck which he drove daily for years and admits that it was ok, but he didn’t have any support system at the time to fix it up how he wanted, but after a trip to Midnight Mass in 2006 put on by the Poor Boys CC he got hooked on the custom/lowrider scene. Soon after that, Jeff nosed, decked, and shaved his ’57. It wasn’t until he met an Army guy named Chris Johnson with a ’59 Ford that the plans for the ’57 changed.
Jeff sold his ’57 Ford and struck a deal to buy the ’59 from Chris, and Jeff knew exactly what he wanted to do with it. Outside of clubs like Los Boulevardos in So-Cal, nobody in Nor-Cal was driving early-styled lowriders so Jeff was on a mission to be the first. As we all know, step one with a lowrider starts with the paint.
In steps, Jeff’s friend Kyle Martin, yes, that same Kyle Martin of Martin Kolor & Style, rented a shop and shot the car in base green with a white top with pearl clear, and that’s how it stayed for quite a while. Not being able to sit idle, Jeff wanted to take the car to the next level that he envisioned for his ’59 and lace the roof. So, Jeff went to the drawing board, got back in the spray booth and they laced the roof, and buried the design with multiple layers of clear, so much so that if you see the car in person, the pinstriping on the roof casts a shadow of depth beneath it. With all that attention being drawn to the roof, he needed to compliment that on the body and when it came time for that he and Kyle shot the body in the panel scheme you see it in today.
Mechanically, like most lowriders, this car is simple. Still kickin’ the stock 292 Y-block and 3-speed trans, although nicely detailed. For the suspension, Jeff says, “I never wanted to bag my car because I have always heard of the problems people inevitably have with them, so I went to the internet for advice.” Jeff was directed towards Blue Collar Customs who hooked him up with a 4-corner Accuair set up with dual compressors and that’s what it rides on today. To compliment the stance, Jeff’s Ford rolls around on 14” chrome reverse wheels with pinner whites. To complete the look Jeff made the drawer pull grille at work but later realized it was restricting the airflow to the engine and made a tube grille for it out of polished tubing.
Peering into the cockpit, the interior has been tastefully customized to emulate the luxurious interior of the ’59 from when it was new. Credit goes to Abel in Vallejo, CA for that task. Jeff wanted white tuck and roll panels to follow the stock lines of the seats, but while looking at sample books he found a design that looks like a design they would have used in a mid-60s Cadillac and that’s what went in.
The cool part about lowriders, custom cars, hot rods, etc. is that they always evolve with time. Although you may be green with envy now after learning more about Jeff’s car, he has bigger plans in mind for it later down the road. Keep following this one if you want to be greener with envy.
What do you think of the ’59 Ford? Comment below.