cesar chavez drove a ’40 Chevy on the low

above strip copyright Dave Gonzales, creator of Homies
Excerpt from an interview I had with Ralph Fuentes, editor Lowrider magazine.
What got you into lowriders?
“For me, it was the love of cars at an early age. My mother says when my toys were old, I would go to my father’s tools and repair my own toys with paint jobs from spray cans. As I got older we were not as well off as some of my friends in the neighborhood, but would take my faithful ’60s Derby bike and transpose it into what ever was the style trend for my era.
But it was actually the day I saw a lowrider firsthand come down my block. I was watering my parents’ lawn in Lynwood, California, a neighboring town next to Compton. I knew what lowriders were, but had never seen one go up and down with hydraulics. Most had cut coils our a ton of junk in the trunk to weigh them down for a lowered stance, but to see one move at the touch of a button—it was amazing to see it scrape down the street.”
What was your first lowrider?
“My first lowrider was my father’s ’72 Grand Prix; he would use it for work during the week and I would switch the rims for the weekend. At that time, hydraulics were still the newest craze, and the only way to get them was to find one from a friend, or modify a pump from a truck-lift gate, and modify aircraft cylinders. In the beginning, when I was 17 years old, my lowrider was my daily driver, and so for a long time I was struggling to make ends meet. My new family kept things on hold for a long time. It wasn’t til me and my brother Anthony both got laid off at different jobs in ’93 that we decided to open our shop and cater to lowrider needs. Since then, I have built 23 Rides that now populate the growing lowrider trend in Japan.”
How did you go from owning the shop to editing Lowrider magazine?
Before opening the shop, I managed to work at a GM dealer as a technician; good pay, got me a little extra cash, and I joined a car club, Imperials, and started attending shows. I had managed to place in my class; at most high school shows, prize money was between $500 and $1000 per show. So I went a little further with modifications, like a complete chromed undercarriage, candy paint, and custom-made hydraulics with a wild matching interior.
This started an evolution of trends that rejuvenated the lowrider culture into what we have today. It was this involvement along with the success and popularity of the work and cars that came out of our shop Homies Hydraulics that kept my brother and I involved in the lowrider culture. It was Ricardo Gonzales [Lowrider’spublisher] who would ultimately have to search for a successor to the editor position. Based on comments about my steady contributions to the industry, he narrowed it down from a group of 40 hopefuls. Must have been a head full, but I’m honored to represent lowriders and Lowrider Magazine. I have dedicated my life, good and bad, to what I believed in. This is my reward.”
So what’s the hottest, newest thing you’ve seen on a ride that has blown your mind?
For about 6 years heavily modified vehicles, with suicide doors, tilt front ends, and wilder interiors, et cetera, gave an artistic approach that dominated the shows. The trend seems to be going back to the tradition style. What do I mean? Well, in the old days it was considered the ultimate to take a new vehicle—generally two-door vehicles—and turn them into lowriders, complete with hydraulics and paint. That was considered insane, pre-1985.
Since 1986 American automobile manufactures did away with two-door rear-wheel drive vehicles—the suspension type was great and easy for hydraulic installs. With the introduction of performance and after-market parts, older vehicles were given new life that add reliability to a car that originally could be found for about $500, adding value to what usually was a non-running vehicle. Because of the availability of replacement parts, you can now get a ‘bucket’—a raggedy Impala—for around $6000. When it’s all said and done, you’ve made that $3500. Original MSRP hardtop now worth about $24,000—without the lowrider accessories.
Now, with lowriding entering mainstream, the underground culture has sparked interest around the world; [we have] sister publications in Japan and Indonesia and are very popular in countries like United Kingdom, Sweden, Austria, Australia, West Africa, Germany. The Prince of Saudi Arabia has two lowriders. We send troops in Iraq a taste of home, when we supply their care packages with Lowrider magazines. They say it keeps them in touch.”
What do you think of a show like Pimp My Ride—does it damage or help the culture, like as far as retaining a sense of history?
Hopefully it will open doors, giving visual support to what we print, and the full excitement to what lowriding is about. Granted, there is still no way to experience the adrenaline rush you get behind the wheel ‘hittin switches’—but gives better opportunity to see and hear more about a the vehicle and expose the myths and stereotyping lowriders get.”
What’s the most important part of lowrider culture to you?
“Unity. Not just ethnic diversity, but the positions that some lowriders hold, like your average nine to five Joe, lawyers, policemen, doctors. A handful of politicians that can relate but have not stood up for our needs thus making shows harder to have in California and some other areas.
This might be a dumb question, but… have you ever seen anyone actually PLAYING the Playstation in their glovebox and driving at the same time?
“Thank God, no! The game is not only addicting but could have you tightening your butt cheeks up as you try to gain momentum! But the rush from the game can be equal to being behind the wheel of a real Low-Low, only with two hands.”

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7 Responses to cesar chavez drove a ’40 Chevy on the low

  1. Lauralee says:

    its very creative and nice

  2. 1i1 goofy says:

    jajaja hell yeah das sum funny sh!t rite der is yo boy lil goofy from da south

  3. 1i1 goofy says:

    jajaja hell yeah das sum funny sh!t rite der is yo boy lil goofy from da south

  4. 1i1 goofy says:

    jajaja hell yeah das sum funny sh!t rite der is yo boy lil goofy from da south

  5. Shady Vatos 13 says:

    much respects to Mr. Ralph Fuentes. Thanks to his magazine lowriders are famous

  6. Shady Vatos 13 says:

    much respects to Mr. Ralph Fuentes. Thanks to his magazine lowriders are famous

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