In 1978, the current president, David Serbantez first saw a Lowrider Magazine in Bishop, Texas, while visiting a local auto parts store (GAF) with his dad. The influence of this magazine would lead David, along with his cousins and close friends to the practice of transforming their neighborhood bikes into lowriders. After a few weeks, and the support of David’s dad (Rene), Amistad Bike Club was born. The club would eventually come to have 12 members.
As a club, they attended shows ranging from the Valley, all the way up to Houston. The bike club also participated in local functions in order to support the community. They would organized fundraisers for local families and were involved in fundraisers for Jerry’s kids. In 1981, Amistad Bike Club spread its wings and evolved into a car club that is still going strong to this day. Amistad has extended the familia through Pedro Cisneros, a former Texas chapter member who started a chapter (with his carnale’s blessing) in Chicago. They consider themselves ONE club that shares multiple achievements. They also share a primary goal, which is to support and represent a passion that is rooted deep within their souls-the lowrider culture. Hailing from a small town in Southern Texas, their local influences were few and far between. Taste of Latin Car Club and Firme Car Club were just a couple of the existing clubs in the surrounding area at the time. It was through the pages of Lowrider Magazine, that they would get inspired by the legendary car clubs such as Lifestyle, Imperials, Groupe, and Klique, just to name a few. Seeing these candy-coated ranflas with their plush interiors, TruRay’s, and of course the classic 5-20s in the magazine spreads would not only influence them, but motivate them as well to do what they had to do to get their rides up to par with all the latest accessories. They learned that sacrifice was the name of the game, realizing that to be where they wanted to be as a club, they had to exchange the normal quality time with their families for countless hours spent in the garage. It didn’t stop there, they also put in overtime at work and got side jobs just to get their ranfla goodies.
The toughest times for them were the occasions when the car shows and events had to take precedence over the family outings at Disneyland or Magic Mountain. Gracias a Dios they have understanding families, because it is not always fantasy land in onda. However, they always made up for that time one way or another, and never lost sight of the importance of family. They’ve taken this principle to our club standards as well, and kept them simple. First, you must have heart and soul for this onda. You must also commit 100% to all club functions and events. Your car must be clean, 2 doors unless it’s a bomb, hydraulics-no air bags. If it is stock, it must be lowered and sitting on 13″ or 14″ spokes, Cragars, or OG hubcaps, or, for those of us who are not switch happy, 5-20s are a must. Amistad has always been an active club participating in parades, organizing cruises, and caravanning to neighboring towns to cruise the strip; 14th street in Kingsville, or Cermak Ave. in Cicero. Sonic Drive-in was probably one of their favorite spots to hangout and represent. Amistad also shows support at car shows and art exhibits, as well as by collaborating with other clubs to have Christmas toy drives, food drives for shelters, and other community enriching projects to help promote positive lowrider culture, and maintain their commitment to be the best Car Club they can be.
They keep unity and individuality in focus simultaneously and feel it is important to socialize and get to know each other by first and last name, rather than just by clubs and cars. They appreciate and thank all the clubs that have appeared at their events.
Amistad has also been blessed with a once in a lifetime opportunity to build a lowrider for the Chicago History Museum, which introduces visitors tothe lowrider culture worldwide. They share this achievement with the lowrider community that has participated and supported this “history” maker. As for the cars they build, those are built out oftheir own garages. They work as a team; each member has his own talents in different areas. There are hydraulic installers, painters, and woodworkers, ensuring that customizations and restorations can be done in -house and making it easier and more cost effective for everyone. All members get recognition for achievements, and are willing to lend a helping hand to anybody that needs it. Amistad has survived car trends that have come and gone by staying true to themselves and remaining loyal to the lowrider culture. They consider themselves a small club with a big heart for this lifestyle, and whether in Texas or Chicago, they will continue to represent the lowrider movement with class and integrity for another 30 years