SP Rides: Mirror Image
BY MICHAEL KITCHENS
Name: Benito “Benny” Lerma
Occupation: Active Duty Military
Hobbies: Lowriding, playing with my kids, video games, working out
Year, Make & Model: 1983 Buick Regal Limited Edition
Color: Toyota Champion White with Dangerous Blue Flake aka “Snocane”
Build time: 2 1/2 years
Exterior: Custom Castle grille, custom 5th wheel Continental kit, New Buick Emblems, chrome side mirrors, custom blue jeweled switch extenders/door locks, custom vinyl roof top
Interior: Custom Buick emblem steering wheel, custom white with blue piping/stitching/button vinyl pillowed seats, custom “USO” switch plate & plaque, dynamat in body/color matched spray lined in trunk
Suspension: Full front chrome suspension (upper/lower a-arms, inner/outer tie rods, sway bar, idler arm, pitman arm, spindles, brake calipers, & brake dust covers), bagged suspension (1/2 inch lines to front & 3/8 inch lines to rear, dual 444 compressors, dual chromed 5 gallon tanks)
Wheels & Tires: 13 inch blue/chrome 100 spokes rims with Milestar Touring SE tires
I.C.E.: Kenwood flip out deck, 12 inch kicker dual voice coal sub/kicker amp, 10.1 inch flip down monitor
Benito “Benny” Lerma is all about making the big choices. Born and raised in New Mexico, as a young adult he was surrounded by gangs, drugs, friends dying and heading on a path to nowhere. His future was bleak, so he made the decision to change it while he could. Since joining the United States Air Force thirteen years ago, he’s traveled the world, seen a lot of places, and hasn’t regretted it one bit.
He was introduced to lowriders when he was eight years old…the General Motors G platform, aka G-Body, has always been his dream car. Although he’s owned several modified rides, he’s always kept an eye out for a classic G-body to call his own. After returning from a deployment to Korea, this 1983 Buick Regal came up for sale on Craigslist. With cash in-hand, he made the deal immediately.
The car was a rare find…a completely stock rust-bucket just waiting to be molded. Benny started off with a fresh set of 13-inch Blue Chrome 100-spoke rims to add some spice. Francis Sua of Chance Customs installed the custom airbag suspension. The kit includes dual 444 compressors, dual chromed 5 gallon tanks, and features 1/2 inch steel braided lines to the front with 3/8 inch lines to the rear. The suspension on this car makes a statement…practically everything including the upper/lower a-arms, inner/outer tie rods, sway bar, idler arm; etc has been fully chromed out. Even the brake calipers have been plated along with the mirrors. The effect is astonishing.
After the drop, the car was prepped for paint and sent off to Fred Hardy of So Unique Customs. The entire car was lathered in a custom mix of Champion White and Dangerous Blue flakes known as “Spokane”. The paint is absolutely gorgeous and looks like a winter snowstorm of prismatic overload. A stunning custom Castle Grill and 5th wheel Continental kit sets off the body with more chrome and shiny spokes.
With an electronic and audio background, Benny needed his sounds. Not one for rattling, he layered the body with Dynamat to eliminate the noise and improve the beats. A custom system consisting of a Kenwood flip out deck, 12-inch Kicker Dual Voice Coil Subwoofer and Kicker amp fills the color-matched, spray-lined trunk. The trunk has been dressed appropriately with a trunk mirror kit that shows off the chromed-out goodies.
The first thing about the interior that will catch your eyes is the one-off, custom Buick emblem steering wheel that was machine-milled to Benny’s specifications. The interior was handled by Al’s Upholstery and is custom white with blue piping, stitching, and button vinyl pillowed seats. It’s absolutely luxurious and continues the frozen theme. A multi-color switch box mounted to the dash adds a hazy blue tint to the interior while a 10 inch flip-down monitor provides some visual entertainment to go with the sounds. A plaque from the esteemed USO car club sits prominently in the rear window while Benny credits this adopted family for providing the help to make this build a reality.
When it came to the lowrider lifestyle, Benny expressed some powerful sentiments. “It’s about family. People give the car a bad image…but not everyone is a gangster. A lot of us have families, full time jobs, and are clean-living.” That’s certainly not a bad image to have.
-My wife Lilibeth Jumawan
-My USO family (Dallas Iosefa, Johnny Rodgers, Jomar De La Cruz, Nick Tavake, Joe Ciesiolka, Jose Flores, Kawika Borja, Daniel Garcia, Gabe Gomera, Shilo Robinson, Fred Hardy, Kingsley, Tasha De La Cruz, Joker Jay, Q, & Pai) -So Unique Customs (Fred Hardy) -Chance Customs -Al’s Upholstery -Ben Hurley