Southern California has a long history of developing automotive subcultures and then exporting them to the rest of the world, but no niche is quite as flashy or culturally iconic as the lowrider. And no lowrider is as groundbreaking as the Gypsy Rose, a 1964 Chevrolet Impala created by Jesse Valadez while he as a member of the Imperials car club in East L.A. Extravagantly painted by local man Don Heckman in pink, with hundreds of ornate roses and perfect pinstripes, this third-iteration Gypsy Rose has been turning heads on every street it cruises for nearly five decades. In the 1970s, it featured in the opening of the sit-com “Chico and the Man,” and in 1980 it appeared on the cover of “Lowrider” magazine.
Early in 2017, Gypsy Rose was photographed and documented by the Historic Vehicle Association for inclusion on the National Historic Vehicle Register. Under this program, the story and images of the Gypsy Rose will become part of the permanent archives of the Library of Congress.
For more information on the Gypsy Rose and the National Historic Vehicle Register, please visit www.historicvehicle.org.