Dan Mahu’s dream came true with the delivery of his ‘62 Impala convertible
Words & Images by Jordan Leist
For Dan Mahu, a lowrider is more than just a choice of vehicle – it is a way of life, a part of his family and it represents his core beliefs in the modified car scene. Growing up in the town of Ngaruawahia on the North island of New Zealand, Dan had his first real experience with the lowriding phenomenon when he was just a teenager. “I had only seen lowriders in music video clips, like the green rag top that Ice Cube was driving in ’It was a good day’ and they had me hooked. I then began to notice a car club rolling up at the local markets on Sundays. It gave me a chance to get up close and personal with the cars and I knew that I would have something similar when it got older” Dan told Forged. That car club was Oldskool Rydz and as luck would have it, Dan is now a member of the Western Australian chapter. “The club started 15 years ago in NZ and has been in Australia for around 7 years in Australia. We have around 10 regular members here in Perth. It is a close knit group that I am proud to be a part of”
Before Dan hit the jackpot with this ’62 he cut his teeth on a ’62 Belair and a ’63 SS Impala a few years back and with that experience he knew he was onto a winner. “To be honest, I never thought I would ever be in the position to own a high-end show car from the States. I just accepted that it was out of reach – just a dream. I was happy with what I had so I worked with those cars. I love the shape, how they drove and how they made me feel when I was behind the wheel” Dan explained. Circumstances changed for the better around three years ago and Dan was fed a solid lead on an amazing ride at an achievable price. “The car was a very private sale in America. It wasn’t advertised. The owner was only willing to part with the car if it went to a real enthusiast. It was his dream car and he wanted somebody else to feel the very same about it. My connections in the Sydney lowrider scene put me in contact with the owner and we reached a good deal. I couldn’t believe it” said Dan. It was only a matter of months before the ’62 was going to reach Western Australian soil. The wait was almost too much for him.
From top to bottom, the car is amazing and its quality had the judges at last year’s Hot Rod show so impressed they couldn’t help but award the ’62 with the Top Judged Street Machine Show Car honours. Step back to a few years earlier and it was in Santa Maria, California, that the car went through a complete frame off build with bucket loads of detail applied and we mean bucket loads. You can stare at this car all day and still miss things.
The body was sprayed with a Silver Sheen PPG finish and then pinstriped from front to back – even the undercarriage and the bay copped the same detail. Pop the trunk and be prepared to be blown away! We don’t even know where to start. On display is most of the hydraulic suspension consisting of a whammy pump setup (with Marzochi gears and Adex dumps) and custom-bent hard lines. 8-inch cylinders run up front and 12-inch cylinders run in the back. Eight Platinum Die-Hard deep cycle batteries power the setup and four switches control it. Serious stuff that makes the car do all the things you have ever seen in the video clips – just the sort of thing to get you some attention. For even more attention getting techniques checkout the insane air brush work that surrounds the extensive audio system comprising of HiFonics amplifiers and Kicker sub woofers.
Underneath the car is just as impressive as the trunk. The fully chromed and molded suspension features a shortened rear end with a telescopic driveline to allow for movement with the hydraulics. Whatever isn’t chromed has been meticulously painted. In true lowrider style, the car rolls on 13×7 OG Wires shod with 155/80R13 whitewalls. Nothing else would have the same appeal. Drag your head from the ground if you can and take some time to admire the interior of the Chevy. The custom grey trim is a ‘62 pattern with ‘61 inserts, turned vertical like the ‘62s. Chevy flags are embroidered into the seats and the custom floor mats. More audio and airbrushing is located throughout the cabin. A custom grey rag top and fully chromed convertible rack complete the high quality look. Powering the car is a mildly worked but amazingly detailed 350-Chev small block backed by a Turbo 350 trans. No matter where you look, the car is clean and so expertly styled it is beyond belief.
You can see why Dan believes he has struck gold with the car and there really isn’t a time that he can see himself parting with the car. “Now I have my dream ride there isn’t really much to do bar drive it. I tuned the suspension up, fixed the steering and got it suited to driving rather than just being a stand still show car. Whenever the chance arises, I take the family out and we enjoy the car. I bought it so I could share my passion with the people that matter to me and that really means something to me” Isn’t that what it is all about? We here at Forged dig Dan’s attitude, respect his passion and love his ’62 almost as much as he does.