The Tri Five king is back

A Tribute to Icons

Set to be done in 2 months, this Bel-Air pays tribute to Kobe Bryant & Nipsey Hussle

Story: Daniel Jarasa.  |   Photos: Jay Vee 

Owner: Edgar Alvarez  |  Airbrush Artist: Shinji Hara  |  Body Shop: 818 Paint Dept

“It’s not where you start, but where you finish” is a quote that best sums up the life of Edgar Alvarez. Growing up in the streets of Florence, CA, Edgar dreamed of owning a clean lowrider, but never did he imagine he’d own more than 50. From rags to hardtops, 58’s to 64’s, Edgar does well flipping classic cars.

It all started with a car he bought for $1,000 bucks and flipped for $10k. With each flip, he’d up the ante and repeat the process on a more expensive platform, and nowadays, you’ll find him flipping Tri-Fives.

His current project is a 1955 Belair that’s getting repainted by Tito at the 818 Pant Department. He’s going with the factory 2 tone color motif using coral and shadow grey. Once complete, it will be sent to Homies Hydraulics for the mandatory juice setup.

To give his Belair some punch, Edgar decided to have his trunk airbrushed by Shinji Hara – an airbrush artist best known for his artistic performance on Final Judgement 64 from Majestics CC. Since the build is called “Hustle & Motivate,” Edgar came up with the Mural concept.



While giving us a rundown on the Mural, Edgar said, “This is chess, not checkers. I like to stay 10 steps ahead and work smarter, not harder.” He then breaks down the details of the mural. From religious references using a rosary to historic LA landmarks, including the Staples Center and Felix Chevrolet, he gives us a few more details on his vision: 

This famous quote is depicted in the three girl’s murals from left to right.

The photo of Florence Car Wash pays tribute to his hometown. While Edgar currently resides in the 805, he never forgot where he came from and proudly reps his city. Sadly, the iconic Florence car wash is set to be demolished by the 18th of next week. 

The trunk pays tribute to two Los Angeles legends: Kobe Bryant and Nipsey Hussle. He admires Kobe for being the first in the gym and the last one out, and that reminds Edgar of the work ethic needed to make your dreams come true. As for Nipsey, Edgar says, “They counted him out and never received his full shine because he was a gang member. I put him up there because he was the only rapper talking about investing and buying properties.”


The ’55, ’56, and ’57 Tri-Five Chevys reference his passion for this era of classic cars.  


As Edgar spoke more about the mural, he made quick to mention that “if [Kobe and Nipsey’s] life stories and achievements don’t don’t influence you to hustle and stay motivated, then I don’t know what else can.”

Edgar is also a dream client. Whereas others are low-balling and micro-managing projects (which is sometimes necessary), Edgar puts complete faith in his people. In fact, Edgar has not been there physically to see any of the work done on his car. He simply schedules the vehicle to be dropped off where it needs to be and asks them to send photos.

By now, some of you might be wondering why we’re featuring a partially restored Belair. 

We’re doing it for a few reasons. For starters, there’s nothing like watching a custom car getting built – especially a lowrider. Build pictures allow others to step into the world of lowriding. It offers a first-hand glimpse into how the project started and how far its come.  These build pics allow others to appreciate lowriding from a different perspective. More importantly, it gives deeper meaning to the final product and shows how much attention to detail is poured into each build.. 


Besides… I  don’t know about you, but when I see freshly done parts for a lowrider, it trips me out, and to see them off the car is, even more, a trip. It could be a fresh set of moldings that came back from chrome, a fully detailed LS engine on the stand, or the process of taking the body off the frame. All of that is art to me. 

So when the chance to snap flicks of Edgar’s trunk mural came up we figured we’d put the idea to the test.