Zapotlanejo, Jalisco is the fashion capital of Mexico, even though there are fewer than 10,000 people living in this little town on the outskirts of Guadalajara. The surrounding countryside features massive landscapes of agave plants, which grow until they’re ripe enough to be cut down and the process of making tequila begins.
On a recent trip scouting for vehicles, we met with Seor Salvador Torres Alvarez AKA “Chava El 19.” Chava’s father was missing a finger and the nickname was passed down. Chava’s story began when his dad moved to the United States and started working by picking peaches in Bakersfield, California. After a few years, his dad had saved enough money and started working in the fashion industry. Chava’s dad was also an automotive “guru.” He loved cars and he loved building them.
When Chava was a little older, he moved to East L.A. where he lived from ’73 to ’78. Chava remembers the birth of Lowrider Magazine and what it meant to the people in Califas to have a magazine that represented them to the fullest. Chava was hooked on Lowrider from the beginning and has followed the magazine for 30 years now.
Like his dad, Chava worked hard and then moved back to Zapotlanejo after five years and started Q Fashion, which he has built into an empire in the women’s jean industry. Chava began accumulating cars, and has so much love for his collection of 40 cars that he keeps his favorites in a glass vanity where they’re climate controlled and surrounded by vintage automotive paraphernalia.
Chava built an entire building with a bar, barbecue and party room just for his cars, and that’s where he spends most of his weekends. The party room is decorated with paintings dedicated to his father and grandfather, and they tell the history of his family through their cars and the struggles that they have been through.
We cruised Chava’s ’52 Chevy delivery in downtown Zapotlanejo. The vehicle turned heads and made kids smile while Chava drove slowly in the town square. Chava has passed on his love of cars to his three sons, and while Chava has enough cars, he’s still working on his one-of-a-kind custom lowrider that’s currently being built in Guadalajara. We look forward to coming back down to Zapotlanejo when Chava’s latest is complete and going for another cruise.