Don’t throw stones if you live in a glass house. You just can’t judge anyone unless you’ve been there, done that, and most of all, can prove it. The past doesn’t matter, either. We live in the now, so the “what-have-you-done-for-me-lately” philosophy is the only guideline we follow. If you’re in a position to critique another individual in any way, you’d better have some experience to back it up. This holds true for car show judges, and for most of you guys out there involved in the car club scene, your officers who make up the car committee.

Car committee guys and judges alike define the standards a car must live up to, as they judge your aesthetics, your build quality, your originality, and so forth. These are the gatekeepers; they are supposed to decide whether your car is trophy worthy or not plaque worthy at all. That said, these types of guys are no one to tell you anything negative about your ride; unless they have experience and can back it up with a show car of their own! This is a key responsibility, so only the qualified need apply. After all, in a car club meeting, roll call is made and dues are paid, and then it is the car committee that chimes in with a checklist of certain named members who need to fix their paint, clean their white walls or windows, straighten out their grills and chrome strips, or re-chrome their bumpers. These rules apply to most car clubs who uphold standards of quality, in order for members to represent their club’s name proudly in the back window of a vehicle. Though you should adhere to what the car committee officer tells you to do, him being right or wrong does not matter; what matters is being able to respect his opinion. You have to believe he is right, but the only way to trust that person’s judgment is if they themselves have a car that raises the bar, or is at least in line with club standards and policies. If this isn’t the scenario, then you have a case to cast a different vote when club elections come around, in order to bring about the proper change. Without experienced committee members, you cannot expect your club to achieve success, period. The same goes for judges. We pay entry fees to get into a show so that we can compete, and we do so under the assumption that someone who is worthy of the responsibility will judge us. Losses in competition inspire us anyway, but a loss to a judge who hasn’t even built a car, let alone a Lowrider is the one loss we cannot accept. In conclusion here, we decided to feature a judge’s car as the Lowrider Cover of the Month for February. Danny Ochoa’s “Caliente ’64” is certainly one car that we can rightfully judge, as this Society Car Club standout is certainly the product of experience and dedication. When you’re done totaling up your own personal point system on this classic, don’t hand Danny a trophy; just understand that whenever he judges your category vehicle, he can back it up. He’s one of us; an owner of a well-built Lowrider with the experience to go along with it.

Presentations, plaque awards, rings, dinner celebrations with family and friends, dancing, and lifetime accomplishments were all important puzzle pieces to this year’s Long Beach Hilton-hosted Lowrider Hall of Fame 2010 Induction. Ralph Fuentes, “Lifetime Honor,” “Crazy” George Luna, “Leadership Honor,” Andy Douglas, “Craftsmanship Honor,” “Big Rich,” “Memorial Honor, and Alberto Lopez,”Visionary Honor,” were all recognized for their years of continued devotion and reflections in Lowrider history and culture. This year’s grand event also included the Hall of Fame inductions of the iconic cars from memories past, known as “Masterpieces.” Mando Estrada’s ’78 Cadillac, “Brandy Madness,” Donald Zavala’s ’77 Grand Prix, known as the “Entertainer,” and the mini truck sensation that started it all, Joe Fontanilla’s “Raw Deal” were all recognized with this new honor. There were certainly some unforgettable times enjoyed on this momentous occasion. Emotional speeches, handshakes, photo flashes, and the all-night music that played were definite highlights, but the one thing that stood out the most, as any and all of the other years of the Hall of Fame can attest to, was the fact that all of the friends, families, and car clubs who attended became one unified group. Each and every person inside those doors appreciated every effort and milestone that came from these special individuals who received their awards of honor.

The Majestics’ D-Mack was handed a torch that burns with everlasting tradition, and he holds that torch way up high for his mentors and his members to see. I’ve come across this guy quite a few times when things were out of whack and confusing with magazine issues. He is for real, and diplomatic to a certain extent, only to protect his club. He is an “Image” of respect for all, and to all the members of the Majestics and their chapters, his duty is to keep them rolling “from the streets to the show.” If you ever come across any of their members, they will treat you with respect, just like the one and only D Mack. In our Image segment, you will find out why.

The Leal brothers come from an artistic family, and were raised by their father under the stern work and ethics of auto body and repair. That type of work molded David Leal, Sr., and he certainly passed it down, as the Leal boys come from “Big Texas” and carry an even bigger list of cars that they have created over the years. In 1972, they also established the well-known car club, Taste of Latin. Through his work and dedication, David creates a style that makes him a Lowrider “Original” in this month’s feature. Cruising the streets defines who he is today – a loving husband, father, custom painter, and a community activist.

The Ultimate Riders are the ultimate Lowriding family in our “Car Club” section this month. They earn the right to be known as a “Lowrider Club,” not “a Black club.” In Lowriding, it is not the color of your skin that matters; it is your car club colors and the badass candies on your automobiles that truly define who you are. No matter any issues, this club is all about rolling from town to town, state to state, and minding their own business while taking care of business at any show they pull up to. They are one big beautiful family, as Lowriding has no color barriers. Trust me, if you have switches under your dash, then we all have the same bloodlines.

God Bless our Lowrider Friend and Pioneer, Fernando Ruelas, his family, and the Dukes.


Joe Ray