SP Rides: A Family Project


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by Michael Kitchens

Richard Carvahlo comes from a hot rod family.  His dad and four older brothers all loved modifying and tinkering with them.  Being the youngest, he didn’t come into his own until reaching the age of fourteen, where he started to learn and appreciate the intricacies of building cars.

He’s owned a variety of vehicles, and built just as many.  Although his first car was a 1963 Chevy Nova, his first modified hot rod was a 1968 Chevy Camaro.  Like any 25 year old, he hopped the car up to his heart’s content and so began a long history of auto enthusiasm.

With years, comes experience and knowledge, and this is clearly evident in Richard’s 1932 Hi-Boy. Owned for over twenty years, this car was a former center-steering racecar.  “It was in a million pieces, the doors and firewall didn’t line up, the trunk was welded.”  After the car changed several hands, Richard acquired it and began the build.

Over the course of our conversation, I realized that Richard is a very humble man.  I learned a massive amount from him about automotive modification, but one thing stood out: he cares immensely about his family.  This car was simply not built, it was created out of a labor of love by both himself and his two sons, Richard & Raymond.  Starting at very young ages, Richard involved his sons, educating them on the ins and outs of automotive work.  The end result is simply phenomenal.

Together, this family has created one of the most beautiful hot rods I’ve ever seen, much less had the chance to shoot.  I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t know much about hot rodding, but it’s hard to deny the undeniably gorgeous vehicle that graces these pages.  Self-painted by Richard Sr., the entire car shines with blue micro-flake that screams with depth across the hand-beaten body work.  The American Racing wheels & Mickey Thompson street-slicks are set off in a staggered super-muscle stance.

The entire car is immaculately detailed in stainless steel and painted to perfection along with intricate bits of polished aluminum that absolutely gleams.  Richard spent years traveling to the mainland, sourcing and acquiring original components such as the mirrors and suspension components.  This ride is chopped, Pro Street spec, and updated to modern standards. The car even features a trick corvette brake kit and a full speaker system that will rock your socks off.  It has tons of cool little features that will wow you, including a fully electric-opening rear trunk.

This vehicle has been completed for over twelve years and yet looks as if it was just finished last week.  Richard considers it finished for the moment, and is already hard at work on a second hot rod…a 1927 five-window coupe.

This vehicle took, literally, thousands of dollars and several years of hard work and dedication to build.  It’s a stunning, pristine example and a priceless family heirloom.  I asked Richard “Was it worth it?”.  His response was: “Of course.  I enjoyed myself working with them and teaching them. It wasn’t only me. It was a family thing.”