Everyone has their own life story. For some, it is a smooth journey, as they conform to society and take a more traditional stance on their lifestyle choices. For others, it is a very bumpy ride, but the struggle within that ride forever changes and defines their individual character for the better. This is exactly what has happened in the life of Viejitos Car Club co-founder “Crazy” George Luna, a strong individual who learned quickly that life would not be easy. Born and raised in Jalisco, Mexico, George’s young life was filled with music, thanks to his father, who taught him how to play a variety of different musical instruments, including the drums, guitar, keyboard, and bass. This fruitful childhood would prove to be invaluable to George, although he never knew that his knowledge of playing different instruments would be the key to his survival so soon in life. Frustrated with the other aspects of his home life, a headstrong George decided to run away from home at the tender age of 10, and he was able to survive the streets by playing in Norteño bands in the rough neighborhood of San Juan De Dios. After saving enough money during his adolescent years, he purchased his first car in the early ’70’s. George drove this Volkswagen Bug for a few years while he continued living in Mexico, but the street life was taking its toll on him, and soon he found himself in jail. With time to think, he devised a plan to clean his life up and head to the United States for a fresh start as soon as he was freed from prison. Unfortunately, he ended up moving to South Central Los Angeles, a place that was nearly as unforgiving as the rough streets of his Mexican home town. Besides the culture shock, George also did not know anybody in his new neighborhood, so he decided to fit in the only way he knew how – by joining a gang.
“I was into gangs. We used to cruise Whittier Boulevard in my homey’s ’65 Impala and we used to love it,” George says. This first taste of life on the Boulevard intoxicated George to no end. “Cruising the streets with the heinas and partying all the time was something outta this world. I really liked it!” Partying was fun for George, but when he met Negrito and Guero from Classic Memories Car Club, his focus on cars became more intense. “They are the ones that really pulled me into Lowriding,” George says with a smile. During the same time that he met these two compadres, George hit rock bottom thanks to a heroin addiction, and realized that his path in life had taken a wrong turn. George got himself cleaned up, left his neighborhood gang, and started a new life as a family man. He focused on taking care of his family, Lowriding, and his beliefs in God.
George’s love for Bombs began with his father’s family roots, as his dad was a Pachuco who always drove a Bomb when George was a child. George spent many nights helping him work on them – that is when he was not out running the streets. Also influenced by “El Pachuco Del Barrio,” known more commonly as the Mexican Actor Tin Tan, George’s passion for Bombs was already flowing trough his veins. George knew early on that he needed a car that looked “Mafioso” to fit his personality. His first bomb was a ’37 Nash, which he picked up at the Pomona swap meet. “From that moment I was hooked, and I started going back and forth to Pomona to find parts for it,” explains George. The car’s original owner had kept it sitting for 25 years, but George towed it home and got the motor running with a little bit of Coca Cola and WD40. He got it cleaned up and took it out for a couple of spins on Whittier Boulevard. He later was asked to sell it, which he did, and he used the money to purchase a ’39 Master Deluxe. Around this time, he joined Classic Memories Car Club and began cruising with them. After a few years, George and his friend, Lobo, decided to quit the club, as they wanted to form one of their own. The duo created Viejitos Car Club, a club to which George is still a member to this day. Since all of the other car clubs were using English names, George decided to stay true to his roots, and they settled on a Spanish name instead. On September 16, 1985, the same day as the Mexican Independence Day, Viejitos was born.
George also started another new chapter in his life, after he attended mechanic school and became an ASE Certified mechanic. George got a job working in a mechanic shop in San Pedro, CA, and he proudly drove his Bomba everyday to work. “I remember traveling back and forth from South Central to San Pedro, driving trough enemy territory – that was crazy homie!” George says vividly. He focused on working hard and finally saved enough money to open up his own Muffler and Mechanic shop called “The Bomb Shop,” located in South Central Los Angeles. During the Los Angeles Riots in ’92, many businesses were set on fire, but luckily, The Bomb Shop was unharmed and untouched by the arsonists and vandals. At that time, George decided it was time to relocate his family and business to a much safer area, so he headed east to Moreno Valley. George then started to focus on building his family, his business, and a new project; a ’47 Fleetline Convertible called “El Pachuco.” After El Pachuco was finished, George literally took on a new identity. George was given the name “Crazy George” because he would three-wheel his convertible standing. “People would say ‘You are crazy, George for making your convertible bomb stay in place like that,'” George says with a laugh. “Back then, you could only do three-wheel while driving and hitting the corners hard, but I wanted to be different and after a few modifications to the suspension, I achieved something that people recognized me for.” George’s Bomb got so much attention that the Peterson Automotive Museum displayed El Pachuco on the main entrance, making it the first Lowrider to be on display in a museum. When George decided to let the museum borrow El Pachuco for all to see, his goal was to change the societal perspectives and stereotypical views on our culture. He wanted to represent La Raza in guero territory and show them that a love for Lowriders did not have to go hand in hand with gangs and violence.
George’s other goal was to build a reputable car club. With the help from Lobo and his fellow members, Viejitos Car Club has since gained a huge amount of respect by adding chapters in Australia, Japan, Mexico, and by having over 600 members in 35 Chapters worldwide. When asked how he felt to be part of one of the greatest and most respected Car Clubs in the Lowrider world, George humbly responded, “It’s a good feeling. I have been able to build something that not many people have. With no boundaries, we are Viejitos family for life!” George has been the president of the Car Club for over 24 years, and Viejitos is set to celebrate their 25th anniversary this year. Even though he has been going strong for so many years, George has never forgotten where he came from. Viejitos Car Club has been active in neighborhood programs all over the nation, including March of Dimes, the D.A.R.E. Program, The Boys and Girls Club, and feeding the homeless. The club has also been collecting toys during the Christmas season for La Esperanza Orphanage in Tijuana for many years. Viejitos members have founded a non-profit organization, and the club is dedicated to doing what they can for their community, expecting nothing in return. The club’s latest project is with St. Jude Children’s Hospital, and they are looking forward to working with that amazing organization.
“Crazy” George Luna receives the Leadership Honor this year at the Hall of Fame, but he gives full credit to his father Roberto Luna Zepeda for showing him the ropes of life, mentoring him on how to work on cars, and teaching him how to play different musical instruments that kept him afloat during his hard times. He would also like to thank the people that helped along the way, including Julio Ruelas, The Albas, The Tovars, and Kita, adding that he learned a lot from the veteranos. George also sends a special thanks to his wife and to all the Viejitos Car Club Familia for helping him to achieve the Leadership Honor in this year’s 2010 Lowrider Hall of Fame. “They are the ones that helped me achieve this leadership honor, without them I would not be what I am.” Suddenly, the man doesn’t sound so “crazy” after all. Congratulations to you, George, thanks for your many years and dedication to our culture.