By on February 5, 2011

Today, a shocking pink, rose decorated 1964 Chevy Impala named “Gypsy Rose” will lead a funeral procession of lowriders through East L.A. It will follow its owner to the grave. Jesse Valadez, a founding member of the legendary Imperial Car Club in East L.A., died of colon cancer Jan. 29 at age 64. For those who don’t know: Lowriders are the antonym of SUVs. 5 inches (less with hydraulics) ground clearance are considered high.

The 1964 Impala has a cocktail bar in the backseat and a chandelier where the rear dome light used to be. The car’s flower patterns were designed by Walt Prey of Walt Studios in Van Nuys. It took two and half years to complete, said Valadez’s brother to the Associated Press (via Google.)

Gypsy Rose became the center piece of lowrider tours and was shown at the Petersen Auto Museum’s “La Vida Lowrider” exhibit in 2008.

The car will not follow its master into the grave, Valadez’s son Jesse Jr. will inherit “Gypsy Rose.” It was probably the only car that got its owner an obit on the AP wire service.

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13 Comments on “Gypsy Rose Follows King Of Low Riders To The Grave...”

  • avatar
    Educator(of teachers)Dan

    requiescat in pace

    IMHO a great vehicle to lead the procession, a car that meant something to it’s owner.  On the other hand I always thought being buried IN a car was a little overboard. 

  • avatar

    Fix the headline to read Gypsy Rose.

  • avatar

    The car will not follow its master into the grave, Valadez’s son Jesse Jr. will inherit “Gypsy Rose.” It was probably the only car that got its owner an obit on the AP wire service.
    Bertel, do a search for [Ferrari buried]. I’m sure that Ms. West’s funeral made the AP wires at the time. Just to argue the point, you could say that the Tucker got Preston Tucker an obit (and that was when there was also UPI and other wire services) and that the Model T’s success ensured that Henry Ford’s passing would get news coverage as well. Not to mention when that kid got himself killed a couple of years ago with his dad’s M5. People doing stupid stuff with cars makes the news all the time.
    Speaking of car guys’ funerals. Remember that Puerto Rican guy who’s family had the mortician mount his remains, in leathers, on his favorite Repsol replica Honda? There are at least three companies I know of that make motorcycle drawn hearses or sidecar biers. Stories like Mr. Valdez’s favorite car being part of his funeral make me think that there might be a business in providing specialty hearses to car guys.
    There’s a company (I’m too lazy to find the link) that makes stretched ‘Vette limos with a gull wing door that’s make a perfect side-loader hearse. Have them make hearses out of Corvettes, Mustangs and Camaros (or other enthusiast cars) and rent them out for funerals. You could even offer nationwide rentals if they pay for delivery on a flatbad. I don’t know if it’d be a viable business but I’m absolutely certain that there are people who’d want to take their final ride in their favorite ride.

    • 0 avatar
      Educator(of teachers)Dan

      And then some guys do this.  Which BTW would be an appropriate way to have my father intered.  Although for me it would be hard to choose between ordering some Ford valvecovers to honor his 1967 Mustang or to go to a wrecking yard and pry some parts off of an old Oldsmobile engine to honor his use of those vehicles as family cars whenever possible. 

    • 0 avatar

      Dan, I’m surprised nobodies been licensed to make Mustang and ’57 Chevy caskets.

  • avatar

    Back when the Smithsonian had cars displayed in the American History Museum (they lost the plot for a while) they had a gorgeous low rider called “Dave’s Dream” that Dave’s wife and son had completed after his death.  Just a spectacular car, though the Smithsonian’s contrast between Hot Rodding and Low Riding on that page strikes me as racist.

  • avatar

    On an aside, anybody know why the 1964 Chevy is one of the most desired models for lowriders, as opposed to other Chevy model years? 

    • 0 avatar

      I think they like the 64 because that year’s suspension is especially easy to modify.

    • 0 avatar

      I think the high production number of that (and the 62-through 64s) plus the Chassis wasn’t as “flexy” apparently as the 1965-69 generation cars (and they could put up with all the acrobatics that Hydraulics put a BOF chassis through) better is why they were so popular. I think the rarest Lowrider I saw growing up was a 1960 Mercury Monterey, always thought that was an “interesting” choice.

  • avatar

    I wasn’t going to comment on this, but on Sunday evening at 8:15 EST, I will. Even though cars are often a reflection of the owner’s personality, this one makes me sick, purely because I owned one of these a long, long time ago and I hate what the low-rider culture has done to ruin these classics. Just my opinion. My ’64? Like my avatar, it was a yellow SS convertible. The only mods I did were when I had it painted due to the California sun fading the yellow pretty bad, was subsitiute the 1964 SS badges on the sides with the unique SS badges from a 1961 SS I happened to find in someone’s back yard. Those were visible from the air! Also, I added nice chrome wheels, too. That was it aside from heavy-duty springs. Beautiful! Oh well, that’s just me, I guess. End of rant, but with all due respect to the deceased, of course. See all of you tomorrow for some more fun!

    • 0 avatar

      The guy in me that thinks that ’32 Fords shouldn’t have small block Chevys agrees with you but frankly low riders are just another facet of car culture and if you think about it, they’ve probably done more to increase the appreciation of big GM rides from the 60s and 70s than anyone else. Though low riders aren’t my favorite customs, I admire the skill of the customizers.
      I plan on attending the Detroit Autorama later this month. While I’m more of a Lotus fan than a hot rodder or custom freak, anyone who likes cars should be able to find something they like at a big custom show like the Autorama or the Grand National Roadster show in Pomona.
      The reality is that you probably have more in common with Mr. Valadez than you think. I don’t know of any Mustang fans that wouldn’t accept a drive in a Ferrari and I’m pretty sure that most Ferrari owners would take a spin in a new Boss 302 (my guess is that some of the new Boss Mustangs share garage space with Ferraris).
      Low riders love cars and know a ton about American iron.

    • 0 avatar

      Ronnie: …yeah…that too…agreed, humbly so.

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