The Gem of the bed is found in the Hoppos Hydraulics setup

Cruisin' El Camino

This lowrider is a source of therapy and a vehicle of awareness

A custom build that celebrates the fight for life

Story: Daniel J. | Photos: Val De Villa | May 19, 2022 9:30am PDT

Spotted this clean G Body with the chrome undies on

For most, a car is nothing more than just a means of convenient transportation. As for custom car builders, especially lowriders, a car is much more than that. For them, classic cars become an extension of the family. They are vessels of creative expression, a source of pride and joy, and for many, a way to celebrate both the ups and downs of life and Mike Contreras, the owner of this 1983 Chevy El Camino, knows this all too well.

Back in December 2015, his wife Karina was diagnosed with brain cancer. The diagnosis required that the tumor be slowly removed, a grueling process that took close to a year. As one could imagine, these were trying times for not only Karina and Mike but their daughter and two sons.

Spotted this clean G Body with the chrome undies on

The attention to detail, and quality of this build, is out of this world.  


After her surgery was completed, Mike decided to start on a project the whole family could get involved with, so they decided to build this 1983 Chevy El Camino. The build began by painting the El Camino Karina’s favorite colors, pink and purple, a task gracefully done by Orlando Ceballos from Perfect Colors.

Once the car was back, Karina got hooked and became more involved and inadvertently kept  her mind busy, and from there, the project became a family affair thus the plaque: Contreras Family

One night as the car was sitting in the garage waiting for additional work, Mike started reminiscing about how the car came to be and why it all began. He reflected on the pain, the sleepless nights, and all the trials it put on the entire family, and that’s when he decided to take the build a step further and dedicate the build to Brain Tumor Awareness.


  • Most of the car was built in his backyard with his good friends Orlando and Abel. 
  • The interior and exterior took only one year to complete.
  • Hydraulic setup up done by Alex over at Hoppos Hydraulics
  • Pinstriping & Leafing by Lefty’s Pinstriping (Yucaipa)
  • Chrome by AP Showchrome and Pablo the Chromer
  • Wheels by Speedy’s Metal Finishing
  • Murals by Tim Lowrey – Glendale, AZ
  • Interior by California Upholstery

PIcture Perfect:

"I know there may be other families going through a similar situation, and if the car or the murals could help increase brain tumor awareness, or help someone going through a tough time, then it did its job."

Absolute Art: This is the result of tireless dedication, the pursuit for perfection, and plenty of cash. 

It’s easy to get lost in the details of this build. And even if you’re not a fan of  El Caminos – or even lowriders – it’s impossible not to appreciate the details and, more so, the reason why it was built. 

More than just a lowrider, this car started as a form of therapy and has now become a representation of their struggle. More importantly, the car is a vessel of expression dedicated to Brain Tumor Awareness.  We first spotted the Contreras Family at the 2021 Vegas Super Show and have since seen them a good handful of times as they’re no stranger to taking to the highways to participate at shows even hundreds of miles away. 

It’s hard to believe that he’d drive it, but he’s does.

Pictures simply don’t do it justice, you really have to see this car in person. The attention to detail is spot on,  the love they put into this car is a clear reflection of the same passion that bonds their family.

But get this, you can get so lost in the details that you never realize that the motor has not been touched! Yup. We finally figured it out about a year later when Mike mentioned that he was about to start building the engine. Given what they have already accomplished, we can’t wait to see what he has in store, but we’re positive the Contreras Family will not disappoint.