The March 2014 issue of Lowrider magazine is upon us and we continue to take our responsibility and obligation very serious in capturing, showcasing, and promoting our beautiful lowrider culture, just like we have been for close to four decades. While the times have changed, our mission has not. Capturing the soul of our culture remains paramount and sewing the thread of our worldwide culture is just as crucial today as it was when we first started. The magazine continues to be a lifeline for the culture, just like it was during the early days of lowrider happenings in San Jose, Bakersfield, New Mexico, Texas, and Arizona. Features of car shows in our pages showed the regional styles of cars and trends, and also showcased the way the crowds at these events dressed, too. Along with the hundreds of cars in these yesteryear pictorials, we felt alive as one culture, and it let us know that no matter what city the car shows were in, lowriding was alive everywhere! Those who didn’t believe it needed only to turn to the pages of LRM in 1977 for further proof, and it let all of us know that we could travel a few hundred miles to see it for ourselves. The upcoming events and shows could be found in a calendar in the magazine, and it would help to make people want to visit, enjoy, and celebrate becoming a part of the culture just by buying a ticket to these shows.

As years and magazine issues went on, the magazine got thicker because there were more car shows being promoted. Car builders had increased competition when they cruised on over to their respective boulevards, but the further coverage showed them that they could travel into another state and represent their club and city as well, and compare their regional style against others. This became a sport in no time, and then suddenly it was a way of life across the country as people in droves flocked to see these creative custom cars. This show growth can only be attributed to LRM’s event coverage, as there was no social media in those days. In short, only because of the magazine coverage did these shows become cornerstones of the lowrider experience.

While you might have wanted to know what the cars were like in San Jose as well as the women, music and clothing styles; even more important was the fact that the shows you were reading about now had upwards of 8,000 people in attendance! This meant the culture was growing and awareness was spreading about lowriding! It made us all realize that whenever we made an investment into lowriding or into our cars, we knew that the sacrifice was for a good cause. There was a collective identity of rebellion and we represented a generation who loved the sights of cars laying down on the ground like UFOs. Still today, when any one asks, “How is Lowrider?” or “How is Lowriding in general?” I say, “Take a look at the mag; you tell me.” Sure we feature maybe three to four shows every issue and we could feature maybe 30 more of them in that month, we pay extra attention to bringing you the new styles of cars and the people in the crowds who support today’s shows. Car exhibitors and the supporting mass of ticket holders who came in support eventually became the movement that made lowriding the automotive culture and industry giant it is today. What I love the most, though, is being a traditionalist, and being a part of the days when this all started. For me, it’s not just about how lowriding became what it is now but, who was involved and why they were responsible for helping to get it where it is now!

Without shows like Manuel’s (RIP) Santa Clara Fairgrounds in San Jose back in 1978 and 1979, I would never have known about Story and King or New Style car club! The fact is without Lowrider magazine’s coverage or calendar of events, I would never have traveled past a 30-mile radius that included Whittier Boulevard and getting tickets in Monterey Park! Magazine coverage of lowrider car show events always proved that lowriding was alive and growing everywhere and that despite the mainstream media’s attempts to convince you otherwise, this cultural phenomenon really existed. The last tour stop with Lowrider was in El Paso and the event really inspired me to write this. The people in El Paso proved yet again, that they haven’t forgotten how we got here. For all they’re concerned, they started lowriding and it never left because they don’t take it for granted. They are a different breed; just like other towns in Texas, such as Odessa. People at this show came up to me and asked me why I was there. I didn’t get it at first, but they were asking me like they felt that lowriding was too big to get national shine in El Paso, or like they were shocked I was there because they thought that I would have more important things to do than to travel down there for a show. It shocked me, but I replied, “I belong here; just like you do.” The simple fact is that El Paso represents the purity of our culture in many ways. It’s about working jobs, providing for family, and then trying to build something with whatever money is left. They don’t do it for a trophy; they do it to get away from the everyday struggles and trials and tribulations of life, and to enjoy the hobby, sport, and culture that they work so hard to take care of and preserve. El Paso is a time capsule where the soul of lowriding lives; that’s why I went. I saw it firsthand and felt not only that I belonged there, but the experience was like taking a step back from the commercialization of lowriding and getting reborn again.

El Paso is beautiful and I’m not talking about the city, cars, music, and the amazing people whom you will see and meet. What’s beautiful is their hearts and when you are there, the energy and purity of the culture will feed your soul! I’m going back as soon as the opportunity presents itself, and you should, too. Sometimes we all need to get away from our everyday lives, take a deep breath, and go home to El Paso


Joe Ray