Silver Lining: A Lowered ’56 Chevy Pickup That’s Making a Big Splash at the 2021 SEMA Show
Most builders know that making a balance between work and family life is a hard struggle. This is especially true for those that have own their own shops because it takes many personal sacrifices to create a successful business. Working late hours to finish projects to help grow your name can take a toll and if you’re lucky, you have a family that will stand by your side in order to turn those dreams into reality.
Ricardo Lopez is a third-generation automotive builder that took knowledge from his family in Mexico to create his own shop called Customs by Lopez. Based out of Compton, CA, Ricardo was able to prove that it doesn’t matter where you come from as long as you have the persistence and dedication to your craft.
With help from his wife, Monica Lopez, Ricardo was able to get his business off the ground. With lots of hard work, he was able to grow the shop and people have taken notice. Over the last few years, Ricardo was able to build a few rides for the annual SEMA Show, where the best builders bring their best stuff to impress the world.
Now that the shop is doing well, Ricardo thought it was time to repay his wife for all the hard times spent in the past. About seven years ago, he was able to pick up this ’56 Chevy and in 2020, he decided it was time to build it for his wife to enjoy. He wanted to finish it for SEMA 2021, a looming deadline that is always a challenge.
Low but Not Slow
One of the goals for this project was to have it sit low while making it perform. To accomplish this, the front clip of the frame was replaced by one sourced from a second-generation Camaro. It was then equipped with drop spindles and Ridetech control arms. In the rear is a custom four-link with pan hard bar to hold the 9-inch rearend in place. On all four corners are Ridetech coil-overs along with 14-inch Baer disc brakes.
Classic Yet Clean
Powering this truck is a tried-and-true 350ci small block Chevy V8 engine, which is combined with a 700R4 transmission to keep RPM’s down on the highway. Making this engine run smooth is a FiTech Ultra Ram EFI unit and set of Hedman Hedders connected to a custom Magnaflow exhaust system. The powertrain was painted and given a treatment of Billet Specialties valve covers and an Eddie Motorsports accessory drive system.
Grip for Days
Handling form and function is a set of 19x8 and 20x12-inch Budink Spyder billet wheels that were covered in Nitto tires for ultimate grip with the pavement. In the rear is a pair of 315/35R20 NT555RII DOT-Compliant Drag Radial tires, which have huge tread blocks and are comprised of a full race compound to slay the competition off the line.
They were combined with a set of performance ready 245/45ZR19 NT555 G2 tires that match the tread NT555RII's tread pattern designed for the needs of stylish, fast builds like this one.
Though Customs by Lopez is a one-stop-shop, their specialty is paint and bodywork. To display this, the body of this truck has been completely straightened out and smoothed. For extra styling points, the factory grille was replaced by a custom one with a unique pattern. The doors were shaved and new Kindig-it handles were added for clean looks.
Moving to the back of the vehicle, the bed was shaved of the stake pockets and custom smooth steps were added. The bedrail has a molded spoiler that extends to the tailgate, which has a custom LED light bar. Underneath it is a roll pan that sits behind the shaved and tucked rear bumper. Once all the mods were done, Ricardo laid down a custom silver mixed with House of Kolor paints. Taking it all up a notch is the MAR-K wood bed floor that was painted red.
On the inside, the dash was shaved and spartan with only a few components like the Dakota Digital gauges, FiTech controller and stereo head unit with 7-inch display. An Ididit steering column was also mounted up with a steering wheel that matches the wheels is rolls on.
Other custom pieces include the Vintage Air climate control and Lokar billet pedals. A set of modern electric bucket seats were mounted up and the entire interior was reupholstered in-house with use of red leather that has a stitching pattern to match the grille.
The Silver Lining
While Monica gave her input on the styling of this truck, her Husband, Ricardo was in charge of all the hard labor to insure she had a vehicle she deserves. Once complete, the truck was loaded up to be displayed at the 2021 SEMA where it has really turned heads.
Ricardo would like to thank his team at the shop, including: Luis Gonzalez, Juan Sandoval, Martin Sandoval, Jonathan Zavala, Angel Quevedo, Leonardo Contreras, and Manuel Lopez.
He would also like to thank his sponsors: Magnaflow, Hedman Hedders, US Radiator, Eddie Motorsports, Romero’s Upholstery, Lokar Performance Products, Baer Brakes, Ridetech, MRE Team Performance, American Autowire, Dakota Digital, and Nitto Tire.