Legacy car clubs, especially the ones that have been around for more than four decades like the Imperials, Dukes, Klique, Groupe, Lifestyle, Majestics, Spirit, and Carnales Unidos, to name a few, have been flying their proud plaques for hundreds of thousands of miles.
Some of these aforementioned clubs have been the pioneers who came before most of us had cars and taught us the bylaws or the respective car club rules that have been passed down through many generations of car clubs today and will be to those in the future. There are over a thousand car clubs registered in the Lowrider Club Registry, and each and every car club has lost a dedicated member who left great memories of the blood, sweat, and tears commitment of representing the proud name that they each wore on a chain-stitched jacket or sweatshirt. These special and beloved members leave us with the thoughts of what could have been if they could only have stuck around a little while longer. Their characteristics and passion for building lowriders are the memories that linger the most. There are some members who die leaving 30 or maybe 40 years of memories behind them, and when those guys pass on, it feels like you just lost half a car club.
I have been there before through my own car club’s loss of members and I always think and wish that they could have been around for just a few more meetings, or a certain car show with their cars finally finished the way they wanted them to be. It seems as though the faithfully departed always leave us with an unfinished project ride that they were one day hoping and dreaming to have wrapped up soon. It also hurts pretty bad when certain members from other clubs die, especially the legends.
Julio and Fernando of the Dukes along with Jesse Valadez from the Imperials were the elders and mentors from our past who left a giant hole in the Lowrider history book—because they wrote most of it. They were the ones who laid all the groundwork to get this worldwide custom car culture going. Though the pain subsides from all the losses I have mentioned, it never really goes away and you wind up trying to live in the past, but you punish yourself because in all reality you just can’t go back. We go back looking at pictures of club get-togethers, past car shows, meetings, and all we can do is try to appreciate those times we shared with them. We can never take life for granted when we join a car club because we are in it for the long haul commitment and sacrifice and there is no guarantee we will be there all together when the wheels do fall off for all of us.
Some of our legendary clubs have lost 40, 50, even 60 members through time, and those guys, may they rest in peace, were the ones who could tell the stories about the first 520s, the first car that had hydraulics, who came up with the first wrought iron twisted grille.
This November issue of Lowrider magazine features a '62 cover car Impala owned by Tomas Vasquez from the Imperials who created a rolling memorial of paint, murals, and memories in honor of the Imperials members who have died. God bless all those who rode with the sounds of 520s treading on asphalt. You can never be replaced with your beloved memories, lessons, and the best times in life left behind, and may you always low ride where there are no cops to give out tickets for being too low!
The land of Lowrider Enchantment, Albuquerque, New Mexico, became “Showcase Lane” at the New Mexico Convention Center as hundreds of the baddest quality rides throughout the land rolled up to display their rides at the annual Artemis Productions Lowridersanctioned Super Show. Classics as well as traditional rides, bombs, trucks, and the also-popular lowrider-styled motorcycles took over this prestigious event once again! Please have a look at our special show coverage as this should be all the incentive you will need to load up your ride on a trailer and be part of a 20x20 display for next year’s one-of-akind showtime experience. Joe Romero, family, friends, and car club continue to go all-out to impress not just the loyal fans who support the show but to let the rest of the world know that New Mexico is definitely the land of Lowrider Enchantment.
Season three of the Quaker State/ Lowrider Roll Models Series features Aaron Valencia and his trials and tribulations of growing up within the dark surroundings and down spirals of life. His fork in the road would eventually lead him to the “Lost Angels” Program. It’s not that easy to become an entrepreneur and a philanthropist when you do it the hard way, but what matters the most is that he earned his way back up to become a strong example to our youth in today’s sometimes ugly world. “It’s easier to build strong children than repair broken men.”
Respectfully and God bless,