What an amazing year 1984 was in America! It was in this momentous 12-month span that the Cosby Show sitcom would make its debut, and Michael Jackson’s album, “Thriller,” took a hold of the number one spot on the music charts. The Los Angeles Raiders won their last Super Bowl, and the night stalker, Richard Ramirez, was lurking around the streets of E.L.A. At that time, the’84 Cadillac Presidential Limo was caravanning around then President Ronald Reagan, who was probably playing his air guitar to Van Halen’s top 10 single “Jump.” The Cadillac Fleetwood Brougham de Elegance was introduced as the hotel suite archetype of automotive luxury. It was large and square in design, with a padded vinyl top and combination opera window, used to accent the style. The hood crest, which overlooked the top end of the hood, would remain paramount in comparison to the following years’ models of Cadillacs that were produced. Ask anyone who drives those styled ’80 to ’84 Cadillacs, and the owners will verify that they feel like a president when they drive one, too. We decided it was only right that we should display one on the cover of this November Issue of Lowrider. Sean Hodges, from the Lifestyle Car Club, has this beautiful yacht decorated in candies and pearls of turquoise, lavender, green and purple, with a rich tan leather interior tucked tightly inside. I don’t know of anyone out there who would turn down the chance of owning one of these classic rides. Driving a Cadillac puts you up there in luxury status; well at least it certainly did back in the glory days of 1984!

The Imperials Car Club and their proud traditions are still upheld by the leadership stamina of both Tomas Vasquez, and Junior Garcia, who are the “Top Brass” officers of this great club. You can read about their dedication, leadership, and the respect that they have rightfully earned in our “Image” segment in this month’s Lowrider Magazine.

Also, when you look up the word “Originals” in the Webster Lowrider Dictionary, it should be defined as the father and son team of Leroy and Kenny Gonzales, from Punch ’84 fame. This family tag team has not only built several years’ worth of customized vehicles at their shop in Turlock, California, they have also built a strong legacy; and the memories that come along with that legacy are certainly missed around the Lowrider Shows of today. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Leroy’s wife, who is very ill at this time, and their family could use a little support in return; just like the times that they shared with us during the car show tours, not so long ago.

Since the emergence of Lowriding, women have always been car culture enthusiasts, and not just from the shotgun side of the car either. Most young Mexican-American women celebrate their 15th Birthday with a lavish party, in a tradition called the Quincenera, while their dads or brothers take to their hobby of building custom cars. In early times like the ’60’s and ’70’s, female social clubs wore colors and made themselves as common as the men on different cruising sites throughout the California boulevards. It was very challenging for a woman to build her own Lowrider back in those days, because women were paid half of the money that guys were paid to work almost the same jobs. Though there was a very short list of women who were able to break the barriers and build their own cars, there were also a few who started their own car clubs for women. The Lowrider Sport was predominantly owned and operated by men only – until the mid ’70’s when the “Lady Bugs,” an all Lowrider Volkswagen car club on 520’s and Cragars, broke out and became one of the most influential So. Cal clubs on Whittier Boulevard’s cruise scene. They used to hold their weekend meetings at the Two Guys, with all their Bugs lined up on display. The Lady Bugs Car club became an inspiration to all women back then who wanted to build a Lowrider. Volkswagens, and the Mini Trucks that followed in popularity back in those days, were a branch and staple of Lowriding and helped to keep our sport alive, popular, and strong in the ’80’s. Where did those great times go? And where are The Lady Bugs now? Check out our “Car Club” of the month section to find out.

In this month’s issue we also bring you coverage of the Lowrider Tour stop that visited San Bernardino CA, during the beginning of some hot summer weather. Besides the weather, the show brought out some very hot cars, too. We also bring to you the O.D.B. Experience Show from the Land of Enchantment, New Mexico. Thefans were excited to see Lowrider back there again, and upon visiting with the crowd during the show, you could feel their passion for Lowriding and truly understand why you can’t argue the fact that one of their towns, Espanola, is the capital of Lowriding. I’m sure there will always be debates raised, but they love the culture and respect it as much as anyone I have ever seen. Plus, they also have the best Mexican food in the world, well, next to Manuel’s Tepeyac! I have to somehow make the time to have a Forum Section in our magazine and on our website. I want to make a place where all of us can get together with questions and answers to help explain issues, and to better understand the current state of Lowriding, the Magazine, the Car Shows, and to have some discourse about where the Culture is headed. This way, we can get together on the same page on all issues. We need to understand the “for better” and the “for worse” aspects of our situations, so that we can keep this dream of Lowriding going stronger for decades into the future. Remember, with respect comes understanding, and no matter where you’re from, or what club you represent, we are all unified in a common passion.

Long Live The Lowrider!

Joe Ray