It was fifty years ago this month that the Vietnam War Conflict officially began, as the first armed forces helicopters arrived in Saigon. A very young President Kennedy moved in to the White House, and for you “Oldies” buffs, Patsy Cline’s “I Fall to Pieces” and “Crazy” were the top songs of a new era; an era which introduced the 1961 Chevrolet Impala as the very first true muscle car for the year. The Super Sport option came with the now rare 409 cubic inch V-8 under the hood. This machine reached the 1/4 mile in about 15 seconds, which was impressive for those days. This type of muscle would eventually launch the big 3 auto manufacturers into a horsepower race that would last well into the 70’s. Chevrolet Dealerships offered the SS packaged Impalas as a featured sport coupe, which featured the “bubble back” roof -line style that is now a collectible today. The engine itself also became very popular on drag strips and radio stations, as the rare, factory-built 409 engine was paid homage to in song by the legendary Beach Boys. Today, these one-off classics are even more impressive when they are built Lowrider style, just like the grape-covered beauty on our cover, hailing from the Ultimate Riders Car Club. When you compare the 1961 through 1964 Impalas, each one has their own unique body style, and accessories. These cars are easily identified and distinguished, as you can see the design differences from the chrome strips all the way down to the grills and bumper designs. Arguments flood the garages of America to this day as enthusiasts spend hours debating which of these classic Chevy models was the best looking of all time. When you turn any of these relics into a Lowrider, it even gets harder to decide. Let’s just say that the legend was born in 1961, and it’s still alive today, thanks to the fact that hydraulics found their way into these automotive suspensions.

We cruised around miles of aisles for a whole week at the super after market show known as SEMA 2010 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The automotive industry’s brightest minds and hottest products were gathered in one convention, attracting more than 100,000 industry leaders from more than 100 countries for unlimited profit opportunities in the automotive car, truck, and SUV markets. This premier exhibit brings over 200,000 business visitors, and that is why the show is not open to the general public. There is no room, as SEMA becomes a place where competitive manufactured products are displayed in booths that double as offices, in order to do business transactions with serious aftermarket distributors. Believe me; you can hardly walk down the cramped space as is, so just imagine the public crammed inside this convention as well. This event is larger than ten auto shows combined. Check out our coverage, which includes prototype vehicles, brake manufacturers, a lime green Lowrider Monte Carlo in the Meguiar’s Wax Products booth, and all of the latest automotive technologies on the market today.

This issue’s Raza Report gets serious with some issues too, as we look into the problems of Latinos and sports; most specifically, the lack of Latinos and Scholarships in College Athletics. Some of the stats we uncovered were quite alarming, and with further research and participation, we can hope to even out the playing field, literally.

Take a good peek into this month’s Centerfold, as USO Car Club comes well represented with a watermelon-colored and detailed ’63 Hard Top. The fold-out does this baby justice, as the color alone just seems to drip from page to page.

The East L.A.-birthed Spirit Car Club has had a long and storied 30 years of history since they first broke out with a “show cars only” mentality back in the early 80’s. Ruben “Buggs” Ochoa first established the club, and along with Joe Montenegro, and Frank Castillo, the club has continued to ride strong in Arizona for the past three decades. Congratulations are in order for the members, both past and present of The Spirit car club, as well as their family and friends as we captured the club’s special celebration from our “On the Scene” segment.

Takashi Kikuchi is Mr. “Original” when it comes down to representing as the Lowrider pioneer for all of Japan. Special respect and love goes out to this guy, who for years has been instrumental for Lowriding as a businessman, hobbyist, and photographer. Japan’s love and devotion for the Lowrider Culture comes from this trailblazing teacher, who learned the Lowrider lifestyle and way of life by becoming a Lowrider first. Thank you, Takashi, from everyone, for spreading and teaching the proper traditions of Lowriding.

In the past, I’ve asked for everyone to please contribute photos of old ’60’s and ’70’s show cars, bunny ears, show pipes, Cragar wheels, long hair, flared jeans, and car clubs for our “Retro” feature. Then we added another feature in the magazine called “Roll Models,” which consisted of inspirational stories from Lowriders who are firemen, doctors, teachers, lawyers, etc. So now, I respectfully ask for anyone to submit photos of your Lowriders for a new feature called “Only on the BouLOWvard” Send me a few good digital pictures of your Lowrider, along with the year, make, and model, as well as what city, state, or club you are from to the Lowrider website Click on to “BouLOWvard”” and submit your photos. Now everyone gets a chance to be in Lowrider Magazine! Submit your photos and wait for the next issue of Lowrider to see if your car is featured!

Make sure your white walls aren’t yellow…

Joe Ray