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Bell Gardens

Introducing the Miche Mobil from Fernando Lopez

12:19 PM PDT on June 25, 2014

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    Entrepreneur and restaurant owner Fernando Lopez was at dinner about a year ago, talking about plans to market his new instant Michelada mix. "You know what I'm going to do, I'm going to get a vintage Volkswagen bus and turn it into a mobile michelada party station. Roll up to parties with my own taps, speakers, everything..." Everyone laughed but the seed was planted. A bright green shiny seed in the mind of someone who doesn't give up easily. After weeks of fruitless searching the internet and the streets of Los Angeles for the right base vehicle, a perfect candidate was spotted less than a mile from the Lopez family restaurant, La Guelaguetza, in Koreatown. The asking price was too high, but Fernando managed to win the seller over with a combination of persistence, charm, and an all cash offer in crisp $100 bills.

    Vehicle in hand, Lopez knew where to take it-- S. Dominguez Coachworks of Bell Gardens. Over the past 9 months, he and the shop's owner, Sebastian, have worked the vehicle over by hand, taking it down to its basic elements and building it back up again with hundreds of small details and touches to make it the ultimate party wagon. This VW has a full DJ booth inside, complete with two turntables, a mixer, high-end speakers, and video output to a flatscreen monitor mounted on the flip-up media sail. There are four taps allowing for ice-cold kegs to be kept inside the vehicle. The interior stereo system is also functional, with amps, a subwoofer, and speakers to make getting from party to party fun and comfortable for the I Love Micheladas team. The interior is perforated leather, which when finished will completely wrap the vehicle in crisp white perfection. The stock engine was completely rebuilt and shines like it just can't wait to get out on the open road.

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    The MicheMobil is a tribute to Los Angeles and its immigrant roots. Like Lopez, the VW bus has a deep Mexican connection-- he remembers being picked up for school every day in a Combi when he lived in Oaxaca, and for him it is a populist symbol of the country and region. The El Tri color scheme (painted by Carlos Ayala) and the font tribute from the Mexico '70 World Cup complete the look. On the other hand, the bus is pure L.A., with influences of kustom kulture and ranflas along with the general spirit of Angeleños taking something classic and making something brand new.

    At the shop, the pride of all those involved was evident, with Lopez and Rodriguez beaming as the beautiful green paint shone bright on the first day of Summer. DJ Diego Fuego got set up inside the vehicle and soon Bell Gardens was awash in the sounds of Cumbia remixes, with earth shaking bass vibrating across city streets. Nearly every driver who passed by smiled, waved or asked what was up with the Miche Mobil. One couple asked if it was available for parties, and Fernando quickly told them $600 an hour, 3 hour minimum. When asked how he determined the day rate, he laughed and said he made it up on the spot, kind of like making up the very idea for the bus that one night at dinner. One year later, the Miche Mobil is real, and Southern California is ready to welcome this custom machine into its pantheon of legendary custom projects.

    The Miche Mobil makes its debut this weekend at the LA Street Food Fest, and will be completely finished by mid July. 

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