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Juan Ramirez’s car obsession kept him out of trouble and led to his ’63 Impala

As a kid growing up on the west side of Albuquerque, New Mexico, in the 1980s and ’90s, Juan Ramirez could have easily gone down a destructive path. The gangs were dangerous, crime was rampant, and poverty held sway. Ramirez, however, lucked out in two important ways: He grew up in a two-parent household, and he developed a passion for cars at an early age. This automotive obsession may have frustrated Ramirez’s father in those days, but it likely saved the young man from the darker temptations of his surroundings.


This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://www.hagerty.com/articles-videos/articles/2019/08/14/why-i-drive-juan-ramirez-1963-impala
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Good stuff Juan, that is a beautiful ride.

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Have a soft spot for the '63 SS convertibles. My uncle had a brand new white one with a white top and red interior. He was stationed at Homestead Air Force base in Florida and was flying missions for SAC, at the time. My brother and I drove out onto the runway with him, top down, and parked near his B-52. The sheer size of that plane scared the bejesus out of me. The car and the plane made a lasting impression on a 4 year old.

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That was a great video and love the story because I can relate. I have a 1965 Chevrolet Impala SS that my father bought brand new at Century Chevrolet in Inglewood, California. He passed it down to me while I was in college, and I have been working on it and keeping it up since. My son is now 8 and I hope to one day pass it down to him as well. The hours and hours in the garage and getting things done to it is the best therapy I could ask for.

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I like that the cars kept you out of trouble. I too hung with the car guys and feel it kept me out of trouble. My dad didn’t like the crowd at the time. My boy also credits working on circle track cars with other boys kept him out of trouble. A few years ago a guy wanted to put a dirt track near our town and the towns people were against it. The towns people couldn’t understand that it would give kids something to do with a passion. The track didn’t happen and it was probably a good decision economically for the promoter.

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First I like the car and your dedication. Some folks don’t get low riders. If they don’t; they have never been to a low rider meet up. It isn’t a bunch of dudes drinking beer and being stupid. From what I have seen it is all about families and extended families. Good vibes and enjoying being with other dedicated car families. I’m a 70 year old white guy who grew up in so-cal. Thanks for sharing your passion.

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Although I’m the owner of an Austin Healey 100-6, an Alfa Romeo Spider, and a Porsche Boxter S in LA. , I truly appreciate low riders. They are works of art, and the owners I’ve had the privilege of speaking to are real car guys and gals. They are indeed a family affair. Gentlemen like Juan Ramirez are my heroes. Beautiful car and a wonderful story. Whoever is producing these “Why I Drive” videos is a genius, because they’re getting past all the superfluous focus on the monetary values of the automobile, and getting to what really matters: cars have a huge value on a human level.

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@lyonstrings - I’ll admit I had to get over the stereotypes at first, realizing I was wrong and the low rider community is amazing. More cliques within the larger car community could learn a thing or two from how inviting and nice many low rider groups are.

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I loved this article.

And, the ride is super sharp, as well…

Being as it is the same model year as the boy’s corvair, I really dig it.

His vair sits low, but that is a function of the stock 13 inch tires.

Kyle

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Thank you all for the kind words.

Juan R

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Hey Juan, Beautiful Family story, My friend had a 63 chevy, brought back a lot of memories. My story is almost similar. My Mother bought a 71 Olds Cutlass s 2 door coup. I used to borrow it in high school.
That Old’s went through couple hands in the family, and sat for 2 years covered up at my sisters house.
I asked my mother if I can take the car and restore it back to life. With the help of my friends in Lodi California. I sold the original 350 rocket, and installed a 383 stroker with a Thumper Cam. after market A/C, ford 9" rear end and a 400 trans, all new interior, and replaced the original vinyl white top with a new one. I was looking for a cruiser hot rod ride, to this day it sits in my garage coverd up. my weekend warrior cruiser.

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**Juan what a wonderful story about you and your son
It’s all about family
This’ is a storey I heard over and over when we showed our 50 Chevy 3100 pickup with the Low Rider Commenty in San Diego
This is something my wife and I Miss after moving to Central Oregon
Lots of cool cars here only a few Low Riders
Again Thank You
**

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That’s my car to the right of yours, well maybe one just like it. Keep me out of trouble as well, except for a few speeding tickets.

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